Top Rank Promotion boss Bob Arum said that weight concerns made Manny Pacquiao choose World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight champion Jessie Vargas, 27, over Terence Crawford as his next opponent on November 5.
“Actually, we didn’t have any long discussion last Tuesday finalizing the other details of his bout. Manny chose Jessie because he doesn’t like to go down to the junior welterweight,” Arum told The Manila Times in an exclusive interview at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel in Makati City.
The veteran promoter explained that Pacquiao doesn’t like to go down from welterweight (147lbs) to junior welterweight (140lbs).
“Our talks went smooth. Manny is very busy as a senator and he doesn’t have enough time to work very hard to trim his weight,” he added. “But I believe he can still be competitive in both weight class. Manny will train here in Manila after attending a press conference in the US in September.”
“Manny can fight anyone, but he chose Vargas because that’s what he wanted and that’s the best for him,” Arum said. “He doesn’t want to go down at 140. Maybe someday he will face Crawford.”
Pacquiao’s comeback fight will be held at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“It’s going to be an explosive fight because it will attract a lot of Hispanic fans not only in America but also around the world. It will attract more pay-per-view buys,” added Arum. “Manny is a different fighter and I believe he remains physically and mentally competitive.”
Crawford, the reigning WBO and World Boxing Council junior welterweight champion was first considered as a possible Pacquiao foe after he scored a unanimous decision win over Russian Viktor Postol in a unification bout on July 23.
When asked the possibility of Pacquiao fighting after the November bout, Arum said: “I think he’s good for one more year after November but it depends, I don’t want my fighters to get hurt. But as what I say, Manny is a different fighter.”
In a separate interview at the Senate, Pacquiao (58-6-2 win-loss-draw record with 38 knockouts) said he would give his best performance against Vargas (27-1 record with 10 knockouts).
“Yes I will give my best performance. I still feel that I can fight competitive and at the same time this (being a senator) is my job,” said Pacquiao.
“I assure my fellow Filipinos that my upcoming fight including my training won’t affect my legislative duty,” he added. “Boxing is my passion. I will do my training camp here in Manila in order for me to be able to attend to my legislative job in the Senate.”
Pacquiao beat Timothy Bradley via unanimous decision in their third fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on April 10. After that fight, Pacquiao was elected senator during the recent national elections.
JOSEF T. RAMOS