NEW YORK - Top Rank CEO Bob Arum said it's unlikely that a proposed April tune-up fight for Manny Pacquiao will come to fruition due to a lack of venues in Macau. The former eight-division world champion Pacquiao, who is running for re-election for his congressional seat in the Philippine province of Sarangani in May, has said he is adamant about a date in April, outside of the United States and its higher taxes.
Arum, who is in New York City promoting Saturday night's (Sunday, PHL time) world title triple-header at Madison Square Garden, said that Top Rank president Todd DuBoef had recently visited the Chinese territory of Macau, a noted gambling destination, to discuss the possibility of freeing up an April date but with no success. [Related: Donaire-Rigondeaux probable for April says Arum]
"They want him very much in Macau but they've signed a contract with a concert company for all the dates in April, so there's nothing we can do," Arum told GMA News.
Arum said that he is hoping to match Pacquiao (54-5, 38 knockouts) in a fifth fight with arch-rival Juan Manuel Marquez, who shockingly knocked Pacquiao out in six rounds last month in Las Vegas, in September. He clarified that neither the 34-year-old Pacquiao or the 39-year-old Marquez (55-6-1, 40 KOs) of Mexico City have yet agreed to the fight.
Should it happen, Arum doesn't think the fight will happen in the United States due to tax reasons. Arum stated that Macau and Mexico City are front runners to land the fifth fight, while the Philippines would be ruled out because of a lesser earning potential.
"He doesn't want to fight in the United States because he'd have to give close to 40 percent to the government," Arum said. "It's getting ridiculous for these guys. Manny is concerned, as is Marquez, they would prefer that fight not to be in the US.
"In Mexico City which has a very affluent group and the ability to get the fight subsidized by the government, it's a possibility. That's why Macau is a good possibility. They had a UFC event in Macau [in November], it had 6,000 people attended [sic] the fight and the casino reported that they did an extra $28 million dollars in business than what they'd do without the fight. So they want these fights. When you're talking about high rollers, you're only talking about the Chinese."
Pacquiao is still under suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commission due to the knockout until March 9, which is 90 days from the Marquez loss. Arum said that he will have Pacquiao checked out at the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health at the Cleveland Clinic in Las Vegas prior to his next fight.
When asked how he'd sell the fifth fight to make it bigger than the previous four, Arum said, "You just show the clips. That's gotta be the greatest clip in the world, when he knocks Manny down and [U.S. presidential runner-up Mitt] Romney's mouth goes open. That'll be the commercial." - CLP, GMA News
Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and contributes to GMA News. He is also a member of The Ring ratings panel and can be reached at email@example.com. An archive of his work can be found here. Follow him on Twitter too.