Pacquiao still keen on Mayweather

By Abac Cordero, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jun 28 2012 12:10 PM | Updated as of Jun 29 2012 12:52 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Manny Pacquiao is in no hurry choosing his next opponent but said that if he could have his way he’d fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. next.

Pacquiao, who has totally put his questionable loss to Timothy Bradley last June 9 behind, met with his chief promoter, Bob Arum, yesterday.

They had dinner in the Los Angeles home of the Top Rank chief, and Pacquiao brought along his wife, Jinkee, and chief adviser, Mike Koncz.

The STAR briefly got hold of Arum as the dinner went on but couldn’t get through his mobile phone more than an hour later.

Veteran sports analyst Ronnie Nathanielzs, however, spoke to Arum, who had promoted some of boxing's memorable fights in his 40-plus years in the business.

"Manny wants Mayweather," Nathanielzs quoted Arum as saying.

"Obviously, the fight he wants is Mayweather. That's the guy he wants to fight," said Arum of the undefeated American who unfortunately is serving time in prison.

Mayweather will be out of commission for two more months, and even if he gets out of jail by August he will not have enough time to fight Pacquiao later this year.

There’s no one in the Mayweather camp who could commit the American boxer to a fight later this year.

Arum said the 33-year-old Filipino superstar understands the situation.

"I don't think we have enough time to do it (Mayweather fight). It won't take place this year. Maybe next year," Arum also said after the dinner.

Arum said Pacquiao has to fight in November, and there are only two fights to choose from. It could be a rematch with Bradley or a fourth fight with Juan Manuel Marquez.

There was no decision reached at all during the dinner but what's important is that Pacquiao will keep on fighting, and that he wants to do the fight everybody wants to see.

Pacquiao's legal adviser, Franklin Gacal, told The STAR over the weekend that the Mayweather fight remains at the center of the radar screen.

Pacquiao flew back to Los Angeles last Saturday to be with his family, including their four children who were left behind when the boxer rushed home after the Bradley fight to help the flood victims in his province.

The Pacquiaos are scheduled to fly to Europe this weekend. A trip to Israel is also being planned and it could happen sooner than expected.

Pacquiao, as part of his religious transformation, wants to see the Holy Land, and all the religious sites in Jerusalem.

"I hope he gets inspiration in the Holy Land," Arum said.