Top Rank promoter Bob Arum will be meeting with Manny Pacquiao’s personal adviser this Saturday in Los Angeles, California to decide on Pacquiao’s April 12th opponent. The choice is Tim Bradley or Ruslan Provodnikov. Pacquiao lost to Bradley in 2012, and Provodnikov is one of Pacquiao’s former sparring partners. The fight will be staged at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, rather than overseas like Pacquiao’s last fight against Brandon Rios.
Arum had previously questioned whether Pacquiao would ever fight in the U.S again due to the high tax rate, but it looks like Arum changed his mind after Pacquiao’s fight with Rios brought in only 475,000 PPV buys.
Arum is supposedly neutral about who Pacquiao should fight next. The choice is his alone. However, Arum will no doubt have given his estimations of the potential PPV numbers for each opponent and he’ll be sure to give those numbers to Koncz at that time.
It’s thought that Pacquiao will choose to face Bradley next, as he’s better known than Provodnikov due to his fight with Pacquiao, and he has a victory over him, albeit a controversial one. Bradley as fought twice since the Pacquiao fight, beating Provodnikov by a narrow 12 round unanimous decision last year in March, and then beating Juan Manuel Marquez by a 12 round split decision last October. What’s interesting about those two fights is that the Provodnikov fight should have been a split decision win for Bradley, whereas the Marquez fight clearly should have been a unanimous decision for Bradley. The Provodnikov fight proved to be a very difficult one for Bradley, because he was hurt several times in the fight and knocked down in the 12th round.
If Pacquiao chooses Bradley to fight next, then Provodnikov will surely wind up as Pacquiao’s opponent for September if Arum doesn’t put Bradley back in with Pacquiao for a third fight at that time. Provodnikov is going to wind up facing Pacquiao sooner or later because he’s one of the few guys that Arum has left in his stable that he hasn’t matched up against him around the same weight class.