Top Rank Promotion head Bob Arum said on Thursday that no final agreement has been signed yet on the reported Manny Pacquiao fight against reigning World Boxing Organization welterweight champion Jessie Vargas on November 5.
“No, not so fast,” Arum told The Manila Times via overseas call.
“Everybody is jumping the gun about Manny fighting Jessie Vargas on November 5 after learning that there is a negotiation but no agreement has been reached yet because I need to talk first to Manny when I go there in Manila.”
Arum is reacting to the announcement of Pacquiao’s adviser Mike Koncz on Thursday.
Arum emphasized that besides Vargas (27-1 win-loss record with 10 knockouts), the other top pick as Pacquiao’s next possible opponent is the undefeated American Terence Crawford (29-0 record with 20 knockouts). Crawford is the unified World Boxing Council and WBO junior welterweight champion.
“Absolutely correct, Crawford and Vargas are still the candidates.”
Arum said that he is yet to verify Koncz’s statement that Pacquiao (58-6-2 record with 38 knockouts) has already chosen Vargas as his next foe.
“Koncz’s statement only speak for himself and not Manny. The reason why I will go over there in the Philippines next week is to finalize Manny’s opponent.”
“I need to know what Manny wants.”
Arum also reiterated that Pacquiao’s next fight would be held at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas because it is the only available venue at the moment.
“He won’t be fighting in the Middle East, maybe in the spring. He’ll be fighting at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.”
Pacquiao’s business manager Eric Pineda, meanwhile, also clarified that he made no comment saying Pacquiao has chosen Vargas to be his next foe, “That’s not what I meant. I say Jessie Vargas is one of the opponents Manny wanted to face,” said Pineda in a phone interview.
Pacquiao is yet to comment on the issue.
JOSEF T. RAMOS