Manny Pacquiao still mulling Bradley and Marquez

Manny Pacquiao remains undecided about his next fight, but his promoter assures the Filipino superstar will fight either Timothy Bradley or Juan Manuel Marquez on Dec. 8 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Promoter Bob Arum said he also will have Pacquiao and his chosen opponent in Los Angeles Sept. 18 for an introductory news conference to promote the fight.

“Manny is being mature in his decision,” Arum said. “He’s taking his time, really thinking about it. Before, it was spur of the moment. Now he’s considering all of it.”


Arum maintained Pacquiao will fight in December despite concern by some in the business that he will opt to skip the date and focus on a 2013 megafight against Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Until last week, Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 knockouts) sought a rematch with former three-division champion Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico, whom Pacquiao defeated by 12th-round technical knockout in 2009.

Cotto, however, opted to return to his popular fighting spot Madison Square Garden in New York Dec. 1 to fight unbeaten world super-welterweight champion Austin Trout.

Now, the Bradley-or-Marquez debate is being pondered.

“I would’ve said we were going one way last night, and another way this morning,” Arum said Thursday. “It’s between those two.”

Arum has publicly pointed to the merits of another Marquez fight: how boxing pay-per-view audiences are mostly Latino, and how the third fight in their trilogy in November resulted in 1.25 million pay-per-view buys compared to the disappointing 850,000 that bought Pacquiao-Bradley in June.

“Marquez is the more lucrative fight, and the more difficult fight,” Arum said.

That difficulty is a substantial element of Pacquiao’s decision.

The pair fought to a draw in 2004, Pacquiao won a split-decision in 2008, and a majority decision in November, but was picked apart at times by Marquez’s counter-punching prowess.

One figure close to Pacquiao admits the discussion about the Dec. 8 opponent involves the assessment that beating Marquez is a 60-40 proposition for Pacquiao.

The concern is that a less-than-dynamic outcome would compromise Pacquiao at the negotiating table to fight Mayweather Jr. if he looks lackluster on the heels of the controversial split-decision loss to Bradley in June.

Bradley (29-0, 12 KOs) was given the victory in the World Boxing Organization welterweight title fight despite intense public scorn aimed at Nevada judges Duane Ford and C.J. Ross for dubious scoring when many at ringside believed Pacquiao won at least nine of the 12 rounds.

Bradley’s case for a rematch is boosted by the thought that the Palm Springs fighter lacks the punching power to truly hurt Pacquiao, 33.

A possible fight plan would be for the southpaw star to throw caution to the wind, increasing Pacquiao’s stock by providing fans the type of spectacular knockout that helped him captivate the boxing world’s attention during a stretch in which he dominated Erik Morales, Ricky Hatton, Oscar De La Hoya and Cotto.

The November 2009 victory over Cotto is Pacquiao’s most recent knockout.

A stumbling point with Bradley could be convincing him to relent in his demand for a $10-million purse, sources close to the talks said.

But Pacquiao has the Marquez option too, and minus Pacquiao, Bradley stares at a landscape of possible foes that would likely restrict his purse to a range of $2 million and below after he made $5 million for June’s victory.


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