Timothy Bradley Jr. and Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao. Photo by Steve Marcus, REUTERS
MANILA, Philippines – Top Rank chief executive officer Bob Arum said he is still working on finalizing a rematch between Filipino champ Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao and unbeaten American boxer Timothy Bradley Jr. amid reports that the fight is already a done deal.
“We are working on the details. We are trying to finalize the fight,” Arum told Dyan Castillejo of ABS-CBN News on Wednesday.
“Are we talking to Bradley? Yes. Is the fight done yet? No. Will it get done? Probably. That’s all I can say.”
Reports came out earlier Wednesday that a deal has been reached for a Pacquiao-Bradley rematch, which would give the “Pacman” the chance to avenge his controversial June 2012 loss to the American.
Arum shot those down, although he acknowledged that Bradley is the only fighter they are considering for Pacquiao when he returns to the ring on April 12.
“Right now, we are only considering Bradley,” Arum said. “It doesn’t mean we won’t consider others, but right now, we are considering Bradley.”
“To make a Bradley fight with Manny, we are negotiating with both fighters,” added Arum, who promotes both Pacquiao and Bradley.
In a separate interview with RingTV, Arum said he is optimistic that the rematch will take place as the issues are "being narrowed down," yet did not want to announce that a deal has been reached just in case talks collapse.
“I’ve been involved in this business for so long that I know until everything is agreed to, then there’s no fight,” he pointed out. “If it ends up blowing in our face, and he ends up fighting (Ruslan) Provodnikov, then you look like a horse’s a**.”
“So the process is ongoing. It’s not done. These things take a long time to finish the negotiations,” he added. “Now, are we talking about that fight and trying to get everything done? Yeah. But it’s not done yet, and it will never get done if we don’t reach an agreement with those fighters.”
“There are all these points and all of these side issues, and you’ve got to sort through it all and hopefully, eventually, it will get done,” Arum said. “There’s no guarantee.”
Aside from Bradley, the Russian brawler Provodnikov was also considered as a potential Pacquiao opponent.
Bradley infamously defeated Pacquiao when they fought in June 2012, with the American being awarded a split decision victory over the “Pacman” that many considered to be among the worst decisions in the history of the sport. – With a report from Dyan Castillejo, ABS-CBN News