MANILA, Philippines – Russian brawler Ruslan Provodnikov will rather fight Mexican legend Juan Manuel Marquez than Filipino Manny Pacquiao, as a showdown against the “Pacman” would mean that he has to let go of the services of Hall-of-Fame trainer Freddie Roach.
Speaking to World Boxing News, Provodnikov’s manager, Vadim Kornilov, revealed that they are prioritizing a bout against Marquez instead of Pacquiao.
“We are very much interested in a Marquez fight, because we want to continue working with Freddie Roach,” Kornilov said. “This is very important to us.”
Pacquiao and Provodnikov share Roach as a trainer, although the Hall-of-Famer will most likely work with the Filipino should a bout between the two happen.
In a separate interview with RingTV, when asked who would train Provodnikov should he fight Pacquiao, Kornilov only said: “This is a very difficult question.”
Provodnikov is being considered as a potential opponent for Pacquiao when he returns to the ring in April.
“Negotiations are taking place for a possible fight with Manny Pacquiao if the Marquez fight will not happen,” said Kornilov. “But we will also meet with Freddie to talk about the current situation so we can make a decision.”
“If we cannot get the fight with Marquez, we would probably have to negotiate a Manny Pacquiao fight anyway,” he added. “But the fight with Marquez is a much easier fight for us to make, and everybody would also be interested in seeing that fight.”
Roach has also expressed his reluctance to see Provodnikov and Pacquiao fight each other, as the two are friendly and have even served as sparring partners before.
The trainer admits, however, that Provodnikov may be the “best fight” possible for the “Pacman,” as they are a good match-up stylistically.
Aside from Provodnikov, unbeaten American Timothy Bradley Jr. is also being considered as a potential Pacquiao opponent.