Manny Pacquiao close to picking his Dec. 8 opponent

Manny Pacquiao could decide on his next opponent by this weekend, and Miguel Cotto appears to be out of the running, Pacquiao’s promoter said Friday.

Promoter Bob Arum said Pacquiao has told one of his advisors that he expects to choose either a rematch with Timothy Bradley or a fourth fight against Juan Manuel Marquez.

Arum said the fight will be Dec. 8 in Las Vegas, most likely at MGM Grand.

Bradley, the unbeaten Palm Springs fighter, won a highly controversial split-decision over Pacquiao on June 9 at MGM Grand. Bradley has been urging the Filipino superstar to seek revenge with a rematch in another world welterweight title fight.


Yet, Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 knockouts) has also been briefed by his promoter Arum, and others, about the value of fighting Marquez (54-6-1, 39 KOs) again.

Pacquiao’s fight against Bradley generated just more than 850,000 pay-per-view buys, while the third Pacquiao-Marquez bout in November 2011 resulted in 1.25 million buys, said Arum.

Pacquiao won a majority decision in November over Mexico’s Marquez; in their first bout in 2004 the rivals fought to a draw, and Pacquiao won by split-decision in 2008.

Arum said 33 percent of pay-per-view buyers are Hispanic, ages 18-29, with research showing that 60 percent of pay-per-view households are Hispanic.


Pacquiao, says Arum, has those reports.

His decision could come as soon as Saturday, Arum said, and follows negotiations with Cotto in which the promoter said it became evident “Cotto doesn’t want to fight Pacquiao now.”

Cotto and his representatives did not immediately return telephone messages left by The Times.

Two promoters close to Cotto, who lost a unanimous decision to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in May, say that Cotto is seeking a Dec. 1 fight against a lesser opponent at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Updated, 5:05 p.m:

Cotto announced on his Twitter account Friday afternoon that he’ll fight World Boxing Assn. super-welterweight champion Austin Trout (25-0, 14 KOs) Dec. 1 at Madison Square Garden.


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