Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum has narrowed down the list of Manny Pacquiao’s opponents to just three: Antonio Margarito, Juan Manuel Marquez, and Floyd Mayweather.
Unbeaten Edwin Valero has been dropped as the Venezuelan has entered a drug rehabilitation facility in the city of Merida after a nasty incident involving his wife and medical personnel.
"Poor Valero," said Arum from his Las Vegas home yesterday, sounding disenchanted that the heavy-handed fighter has fallen off the radar screen among possible Pacquiao foes.
Arum said the target month for Pacquiao’s much-awaited ring return is November "and not October because of the World Series (of baseball) but could be as early as September."
Still, Arum said something concrete could come out in the second month of May, shortly after Pacquiao’s foray into politics. Pacquiao is running for congress in the lone district of Sarangani province against Roy Chiongbian, a US-educated businessman who comes from a very influential political family.
"We’ll know after the (May 10) elections," said Arum, who said it is very highly possible that he will make a trip to the country in the final days leading up to election day.
"I know I can’t say something and campaign for Manny but if Manny needs me, I will come," said Arum, whose outfit Top Rank has Pacquiao under its promotional banner.
While Arum has rattled off Margarito, Marquez and Mayweather as those being eyed to face off with the Filipino southpaw, the seventy-something lawyer from Harvard believes Pacquiao and himself should concentrate first on the elections.
Besides, the three Ms (Margarito, Marquez and Mayweather) have scheduled fights in the coming months.
Margarito and Mayweather are seeing action in separate bouts next month, while Marquez is being lined to strut his stuff in June.