The wait to find out whom Manny Pacquiao will fight in what is supposed to be his career finale on April 9 (HBO PPV) in Las Vegas is almost over.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum -- who was celebrating his 84th birthday Tuesday -- initially said he would have an answer last Friday, which is what he said that Pacquiao adviser Michael Koncz told him. But that time frame came and went with no answer.
Instead, Arum told ESPN.com that Pacquiao’s opponent will be revealed during Top Rank’s truTV-televised card on Friday night (10 ET/PT) in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where lightweight sensation Felix Verdejo and former four-division world titleholder Nonito Donaire will appear in separate bouts.
“That’s what we are going to do,” Arum said of the announcement plan.
I asked him if he thought word would leak out between now and then and he said, “I don’t know but if it does, you won’t hear it from my lips.”
All along, Arum has said Pacquiao is considering three candidates: welterweight titlist Timothy Bradley Jr. (33-1-1, 13 KOs) and junior welterweight titlist and 2014 fighter of the year Terence Crawford (27-0, 19 KOs), both of whom are promoted by Top Rank, and long shot Amir Khan (31-3, 19 KOs), who is associated with Al Haymon, one of Arum’s business enemies and viewed as an unlikely opponent.
When Arum told me the announcement would be made during the truTV card I immediately thought that meant it would be Bradley, who will be ringside because he serves as commentator for truTV.
Would Top Rank really do the announcement on Bradley’s broadcast and not announce him as the foe? That would be awfully cold and disrespectful to Bradley, who already has faced Pacquiao twice in lackluster bouts, including getting a hugely controversial split decision win in their first meeting.
But then Top Rank’s Carl Moretti told me that Crawford will be on vacation in Puerto Rico and is coming to the fight, so both top candidates will be there.
It seems as though one of them will head home disappointed about not getting the fight with Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38 KOs), who is coming off rotator cuff surgery after injuring his arm in a unanimous decision loss to Floyd Mayweather in their megafight on May 2.