LINE UP FOR PACQUIAO: DIAZ IN MARCH, MARQUEZ IN JULY, DELA JOYA IN SEPT

MANILA, NOVEMBER 20, 2007
(STAR) By Abac Cordero - Bob Arum knows what’s best for Manny Pacquiao.

Arum, in fact, has laid down his plans for Pacquiao, starting with a title fight with David Diaz in March, a rematch with Juan Manuel Marquez in July and, yes, a dream match with Oscar dela Hoya in September.

In a full-length interview with Sports Radio yesterday morning (Manila time), the legendary promoter said Pacquiao is looking at three fights next year and intends to come out of it as the world champion.

“Manny wants to fight three times next year — once in March, once in July and once in September. So if Manny is thinking about going up in weight and winning the lightweight title, then he will fight Diaz.

“And then in July he can fight Marquez for the lightweight championship. If all goes well, there’s been a lot of talk over here about Manny fighting (Oscar) Dela Hoya,” said Arum over the phone.

Pacquiao has a very strong chance of beating Diaz, the WBC lightweight champion from Mexico. And if he does, he calls on Marquez and they can do a rematch with Pacquiao defending the 135 lb title.

“Manny deserves to go into the ring as the champion in fighting Marquez. Manny can give Marquez a rematch when he is the champion,” said Arum, Top Rank president and Pacquiao’s promoter.

Arum said Pacquiao’s next fight, tentatively scheduled March 15, is just a choice between Diaz and Marquez, who survived three knockdowns to salvage a draw with the Filipino in 2004.

Joan Guzman, who defeated Humberto Soto last Sunday in Atlantic City, is out of the picture.

“He (Guzman) really cannot draw very well if he gets to fight Manny. Manny will choose between two opponents,” said Arum of Guzman, the WBO super-featherweight champion from the Dominican Republic.

Arum said he will present all possible deals to Pacquiao when they meet this week in Las Vegas. During this meeting, the choice of Pacquiao’s next opponent should be known.

“Manny and I will choose the best opponent, the best deal and what he wants to do,” said Arum.

“We have the complete say on who Manny fights, and that decision is made by Manny Pacquiao and myself. If it’s a Golden Boy fighter, Golden Boy is part of the co-promotion.

“If it’s not a Golden Boy fighter, they are not part of the promotion but they share part of the promotion’s profit. If it were a Marquez fight, they would co-promote the fight with Top Rank. If it’s a David Diaz fight, they would not co-promote the fight with Top Rank but they will share in the profit,” Arum added.

Then he mentioned the possible fight with Dela Hoya.

“Well, I didn’t raise the issue. I’m not the genius that came up with the idea. It was Larry Merchant being the television commentator for HBO and a lot of the media loved the idea and when I talked to Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy he liked the idea.

“I haven’t pursued it at all I don’t even talked to Manny about that. But it’s there and people are talking about it,” said Arum.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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