Mickey Mouse could be next

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Ed C. Tolentino

Judging from the manner by which information is released from his camp, do not be surprised if Mickey Mouse ends up being the next foe for Manny Pacquiao, with Disneyland as the venue.

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With advisor Michael Koncz trying to act out the role of promoter Bob Arum, details surrounding Pacquiao’s next fight have been anything but crystal-clear. Initially, it appeared that Brisbane was a lock for the venue with Australian Jeff Horn as the opponent, but Koncz instead announced from out of the blue that United Arab Emirates is the choice. Pacquiao apparently seconded Koncz’s announcement with the succeeding tweet “See You in UAE.”

In a wink of an eye, however, Koncz started humming a different tune: London may be the next venue with Amir Khan as the new challenger for Pacquiao’s World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title. After weeks of being mum on the subject, Arum finally emerged from his hiding place and described the announcement as something you flush in the toilet.

In a recent interview with Fox Sports, Koncz said he will no longer issue any comment because there are still “a lot of undecided issues” relating to Pacquiao’s next fight. In the first place, why did Koncz make the UAE announcement when apparently nothing had been finalized? Why make the UAE statement when Horn’s camp was still negotiating with Arum? If this is the way Pacquiao’s camp negotiates, then it sends a very unprofessional signal to the parties on the other end of the table.

Word is that Pacquiao balked at the $5 million offer for the Horn fight and that, as Arum put it, UAE offered an “insane” amount of money. But with London and Khan entering the picture, it appears that the UAE offer was too good to be true. Arum was even quoted as saying recently that he is not “holding his breath” and making any “plane reservation” for a fight in UAE. Truth be told, UAE has no track record when it comes to hosting big-time world title fights in boxing and technical snafus (just consider the 9-hour time difference between the UAE and the US) are likely to ruin the fight. The UAE angle may have simply been tossed to send the message to Horn’s promoters that Brisbane was far from being the only choice and that they should come up with a better offer.

You don’t need to consult with a psychic to know that there is a rift between Koncz and Arum considering that they have become as cozy as Wile Coyote and the Road Runner. There is an internal power struggle going on and the end result has been the fragmented, topsy-turvy information coming out from the Pacman’s camp.

Pacquiao had previously conducted a random poll via his Twitter account vis-à-vis the fans’ choice for his next opponent and Khan emerged as the winner. Of course, no fight has ever been finalized via Twitter. You have to go to the negotiating table and discuss nitty-gritty details. Compared to the relatively unknown Horn, Khan is easier to sell although he may be damaged goods coming off a devastating knockout loss to Mexican Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in his last fight. If Pacquiao insists on fighting in UAE (recall once more Arum’s claim of “insane” money), Khan, who traces his roots from Pakistan, will make for a more marketable opponent. Nobody will go to the desert to watch Pacquiao trade mitts with Horn. A Horn fight will only make money if it is held in Brisbane.

As things stand, the exact details surrounding Pacquiao’s next fight remain up in the air. Pacquiao‘s people must settle their differences as it has become too obvious that it is all helter-skelter inside the Pacman’s camp.

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For comments, the writer can be reached at atty_eduardo@yahoo.com.

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