Arum eyes Pacquiao farewell fight in the Philippines

Ryan Songalia
Arum eyes Pacquiao farewell fight in the Philippines
Manny Pacquiao may get a chance to end his career in his home country

LAS VEGAS, USA – Manny Pacquiao’s 20-year career comes to an apex on Saturday night, May 2, when he faces Floyd Mayweather Jr at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

But at 36 years of age, the finish line is in sight for Pacquiao as he heads into the most important fight of his career – as well as his biggest payday by far.

Bob Arum, who promotes the Filipino boxer under his Top Rank banner, says he expects Pacquiao to wrap up his career in 2016 with a farewell fight in the Philippines, with the 60,000 seat Philippine Arena in Bulacan one venue in mind.

Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 knockouts) hasn’t fought in the Philippines since 2006, when he outpointed Oscar Larios at Araneta Coliseum, the site of the “Thrilla in Manila” third match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier.

Manny V. Pangilinan, the country’s top sports patron and the chairman of Pacquiao’s sponsor Smart Communications, expressed interest in bringing a second fight between the sport’s two most celebrated fighters of this generation to the Philippines.

Arum mentioned Terence Crawford, an unbeaten 27-year-old from Omaha, Nebraska, and the reigning Boxing Writers Association of America Fighter of the Year, as a possible opponent. Craword (26-0, 18 KOs) won his second world title in as many weight classes last month when he stopped Thomas Dulorme in six rounds to win the vacant WBO junior welterweight title.

“We could maybe let the people in for free, or give the proceeds to charity and have the fight run on free HBO,” Arum was quoted on The Sweet Science, in stark contrast with Saturday’s fight, which has seen tickets priced on the secondary market in the six figure range.

Crawford, however, feels Mayweather has the edge in their welterweight showdown, saying that Pacquiao’s only chance of winning would come by throwing “punches in bunches” and overwhelming the Grand Rapids, Mich. native.

“I give the edge to Floyd being that he’s never lost and nobody’s figured him out yet. I just feel he’s gonna be on his A-game. He’s gonna keep Pacquiao on the outside of his jab and make it a long night for him,” Crawford tells Rappler.

Mayweather (47-0, 26 KOs), who turned 38 this past February, said he is retiring after his six-fight contract with Showtime expires in September.

“My goal now is to be on the other side. Be a manager, be a promoter. I’ve outgrown the sport,” says Mayweather.

(READ: Mayweather Sr wants his son to retire after Pacquiao fight)

The fight with Mayweather is the second time in history that HBO and Showtime have worked together for a joint pay-per-view, with the first being the Lennox Lewis vs Mike Tyson fight in 2002. Coincidentally, Pacquiao fought on that undercard, knocking out Jorge Julio in two rounds to retain the IBF junior featherweight title.

Arum says he’s had no issues working with Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe on this event, but says dealing with Mayweather’s advisor Al Haymon – whom he refers to as “the guy who hides behind the curtain” – has been difficult.

Should Pacquiao pull off the upset, or the fight result in a draw, would Arum be interested in a rematch?

“Rematch? This has been the most painful experience of my promotional career and you want me to talk about a f–king rematch? I’m a citizen of the United States of America and there’s a provision under the constitution that protects me from cruel and unusual punishment.” –

Ryan Songalia is the sports editor of Rappler, a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and a contributor to The Ring magazine. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter: @RyanSongalia.

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