Pacquiao makes contingency plans

ByDan Rafael ESPN logo
Saturday, January 24, 2015

WESTMINSTER, Colo. -- As hope fades by the day that a deal will be reached for a May 2 showdown between welterweight champions Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao -- by far the biggest fight that can be made in boxing and one of the biggest in the history of the sport -- the Pacquiao camp is putting a backup plan in place.

Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, in this Denver suburb promoting Saturday night's trilogy fight between welterweights Mike Alvarado and Brandon Rios, told that if the deal for the fight with Mayweather falls through, Pacquiao will fight another opponent May 30 on HBO PPV with potential sites being Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, the Barclays Center in New York, London and long shot Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.

"A lot of places around the world want to host a Manny Pacquiao fight," Arum said. "He's an international icon, and I have been approached by a number of people looking to host a Manny Pacquiao fight."

Arum said that although there is no set opponent should Pacquiao need one for May 30, welterweight contender Amir Khan, a former unified junior welterweight titlist from England, is the leading candidate. Khan has been unsuccessful so far in landing his much-desired fight with Mayweather, but Pacquiao certainly would be just as significant.

Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KOs), the 36-year-old Filipino legend, and Khan (30-3, 19 KOs), 28, know each other well because they have sparred together and spent time in training camps together when Freddie Roach, Pacquiao's longtime trainer, also trained Khan.

Arum said other possible opponents for Pacquiao are Russian brawler and former junior welterweight titlist Ruslan Provodnikov and junior welterweight slugger Lucas Matthysse of Argentina. However, Khan tops the list of opponents not named Mayweather.

Pacquiao has been in London with his wife, Jinkee, adviser Michael Koncz and others for the past few days. During his trip, Pacquiao met with Khan and they discussed a possible fight, Arum said.

Pacquiao, boxing's only eight-division titleholder, traveled to London to meet with Prince Harry, who hosted Pacquiao and his group for dinner at Buckingham Palace on Thursday, according to Arum.

"Prince Harry has a group looking to put on a Manny Pacquiao fight in London," Arum said. "Khan would certainly make sense, and it's an interesting fight. But remember -- all that is a backup plan. We are still trying to nail down the Mayweather fight. We need Mayweather to say yes."

Pacquiao has said he wants any deal with Mayweather wrapped up by the end of January, because of the amount of time needed to launch such a massive promotion.

Arum and Pacquiao have said they have agreed to all of the terms as outlined by Mayweather during talks for which the go-between was Leslie Moonves, the CEO of CBS, which has Mayweather under contract for two more fights on subsidiary Showtime PPV. Arum also said he has had direct conversations with Mayweather adviser Al Haymon on the deal points, and even though the two have had a rancorous relationship for years stemming from Mayweather's messy exit from Top Rank, "We are on the same page."

Haymon does not speak to the media.

Haymon also serves as an adviser to Khan, which most view as an impediment to making a Pacquiao-Khan fight. Arum said that is not the case.

"Khan's contract situation is that he is promoted by Oscar [De La Hoya of Golden Boy Promotions] and he has an advisory contract with Haymon, who has no power to prevent the fight, as we understand it. Oscar is confident he can make the fight," Arum said.

Khan has been under contract to Showtime, but Arum and De La Hoya have said the contract expired with his last fight, a stellar performance in a near-shutout decision against former titleholder Devon Alexander on Dec. 6.

"According to Oscar's lawyers, the Showtime contract is up," Arum said.

Before Pacquiao flew to London, he met with Arum at his Los Angeles home to discuss the state of the Mayweather talks and to formulate the backup plan.

"Hopefully, it won't happen and we won't need this plan because Manny will be fighting Mayweather," Arum said. "But you have to plan ahead."

Related Video