JANUARY 3, 2007
(STAR) By Abac Cordero - Manny Pacquiao has decided to stick it out with Top Rank Promotions as the outfit that will help guide the Filipino boxer through probably the last four years of his career even as he snubbed the deadline set by the Golden Boy Promotions for a rematch with Marco Antonio Barrera in March.

"Manny has decided that he is going to stay with Top Rank as his partner," said Pacquiao’s Filipino lawyer Franklin Gacal yesterday.

Golden Boy had issued a Jan. 2 deadline, which actually lapsed yesterday, for Pacquiao to agree to face Barrera on March 17. Under both offers, the fight should be held in Las Vegas.

But Gacal said Pacquiao, who turned 28 last month, has not been formally notified of the Golden Boy deadline.

"We have not accepted any formal letter from Golden Boy Promotions regarding the Jan. 2 deadline that GBP issued (to media outlets in the US)," said the lawyer.

In contrast, Gacal said Top Rank was set to formally inform Golden Boy yesterday of their own version of the deadline.

"Then Golden Boy Promotions will be given 10 days to decide whether they’ll accept or reject the offer," Gacal added.

Top Rank has offered Barrera $2.5 million to face Pacquiao and earn a chance to avenge his 11th round knockout loss to the Filipino slugger in 2003. It’s considered Barrera’s worst loss of his career.

Golden Boy, which is holding on to a seven-fight contract, which Pacquiao signed last Sept. 19, has dangled a $5 million purse for the native of Gen. Santos City.

Pacquiao is in the middle of a tug-of-war between Bob Arum’s Top Rank and Oscar dela Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions. And the problem stems from the fact that Pacquiao had signed separate contracts with them.

Both Top Rank and Golden Boy have issued different deadlines that would help decide whether or not Pacquiao gets to face World Boxing Council super-featherweight champion Marco Antonio Barrera soon.

Top Rank, armed with a fresh four-year contract with Pacquiao, has given Golden Boy, which promotes Barrera, 10 days to decide upon receipt of a formal offer for a big rematch on April 28.

Arum said Dela Hoya has two options to consider.

One is for Golden Boy to agree to the Top Rank terms of the April 28 fight, and at the same time pursue the case vs Arum’s outfit. And if GBP wins the case, then Top Rank will accept any financial liability.

Another option, Arum said while he was in Manila last week, is for Top Rank, Manny Pacquiao Promotions and Golden Boy to promote the Pacquiao-Barrera rematch.

Arum said his offer is no form of "grandstanding" but "a great desire" to push through with the fight.

"But it would be Top Rank, my outfit, bankrolling the fight," Arum said.

If the Pacquiao-Barrera rematch doesn’t happen soon, the former will have to face someone else in Macau, and the latter might be forced to go up against Juan Manuel Marquez.

Arum assured that Pacquiao could earn as much facing someone else in Macau as he would facing Barrera in Las Vegas. If Barrera backs out, Pacquiao can choose from a list of 10 fights his next opponent.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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