From the way things are working out and from the behind-the-scenes maneuverings of Manny Pacquiao promoter, Bob Arum, it would appear that the 2012 fight schedule of the eight division titlist has already been worked out and that Americans, Timothy Bradley and Mike Jones, have the inside track as potential opponents.
Recent signee to Arum’s Top Rank promotions, Timothy Bradley, will make his debut as a promotional stablemate of Pacquiao on the November 12 pay per view card featuring the Filipino legend against arch-nemesis, Juan Manuel Marquez at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
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The well-regarded junior welterweight titlist will be taking on faded former Cuban lightweight champ, Joel Casamayor in what can only be referred to as a showcase bout for a possible Pacquiao showdown in the first half of 2012.
While Bradley and Arum have said that no Pacquiao bout is currently being discussed and that the possibility of a lucrative, high-profile Pacquiao fight was not used as a tool to lure him away from former promoters, Gary Shaw and Thompson Boxing, it would be hard to believe that Pacquiao didn’t loom large in Bradley’s decision to sign with Arum’s promotional outfit. After all, a Pacquiao bout would likely generate Bradley a payday of somewhere between $5 and $8 million— more than four times what he has made for any other fight in his career and significantly more substantial than the $1.5 million offered for him to fight the UK’s Amir Khan last July.
Against Bradley, Pacquiao will be dealing with a prime, aggressive, African American fighter at the top of his game. In the past, Pacquiao has been the target of criticism for not fighting African American fighters and for only signing bouts with pugilists considered well past their primes. A Bradley bout, although a bit harder to promote than a fight with a big-named opponent, would be a legacy fight, used to silence some of the critics and remove some of the stigma of Pacquiao’s recent run of fights with faded fighters pushing 40.
Assuming Pacquiao gets by Bradley, Philadelphia’s Mike Jones could be next in line for the boxing cash cow and multi-media darling. Jones was signed to a deal with Top Rank last year and featured on November’s Pacquiao-Antonio Margarito undercard at Cowboys’ Stadium in Dallas, TX.
Just starting to develop as a solid, main stage fighter, the 28-year-old is now receiving acknowledgment as a solid prospect and a fighter to watch in the historically glamorous welterweight division.
Against the 6 ft. tall Jones, Pacquiao would look to be the considerable underdog, although the opposite would surely be the case. Jones looks the part of a hulking Tommy Hearns clone, but his resume is very light and his skill set, although improving, is inconsistent and incomplete. Unless some major development is accomplished in the next six to eight months, a Jones fight would likely be a romp for Pacquiao and little more than an easy payday for a veteran fighter winding down a long career.
Notably missing from the 2012 chatter, though, is Floyd Mayweather.
Whether one blames Pacquiao, Mayweather, or a combination of the both for the mega-fight not happening, it is still disheartening to see that Mayweather is not even on Team Pacquiao’s radar when it comes to their fighter’s next couple of bouts. And it just serves as further proof that boxing’s only true dream fight is not even the slightest bit closer to being realized.
SOURCE: Yahoo! Sports (Manny Pacquiao’s 2012 schedule already set? by Paul Magno)