Manny Pacquiao will be fighting on December 8, which you've known for a while now, but we're getting close to finally getting something official on the opponent for that date at the MGM Grand.
Bob Arum says that Pacquiao will announce his opponent next Tuesday at a press conference:
"Yes he will fight on December 8th. Right now we are finalizing with the opponent and with Manny. By the end of the week, we'll definitely have the deal done. We'll have a press conference at the Beverly Hills Hotel on Tuesday."
Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KO) is expected to announce a fourth fight with Juan Manuel Marquez, but Timothy Bradley is still in the running, at least in theory. One way or another, it will be a fight we've already seen, but in both cases there is unfinished business. Pacquiao and Marquez have never really had a decisive finish or even points win in any of their three fights, and the vast majority of the world still thinks Pacquiao was robbed badly against Bradley in June.
All of the talk lately has been about Pacquiao-Marquez IV, and it seems like a Bradley fight will only happen if Manny Pacquiao himself has put his foot down and flat-out demanded the chance to get his win and his title belt back. The Marquez fight figures to be worth more money, and with Marquez's sizable fan base, it makes all the sense in the world.
Bradley's win over Pacquiao really hasn't vaulted him to stardom much at all, and right now he's sort of floating in no man's land. Without Manny, he's an expensive guy with an ego -- an ego that is logical, considering he owns a win over Manny Pacquiao, but it doesn't mean that he's actually become more popular. He's more well-known, but I wouldn't say he gained the ton of fans that a clear win over Manny could have or still could bring him.
Honestly, I feel bad for Tim Bradley, and I want to make that clear because that surely didn't come across just now. Without Pacquiao, he steps way back down in terms of value and spotlight that will be put on him. And that's not his fault. All Timothy Bradley did was show up and fight Manny Pacquiao to the best of his ability. He gave a valiant effort, fought through injuries, and then he got a decision that sparked outrage. But Bradley had nothing to do with that. He just wants big fights. He's an undefeated champion who has fought tough opponents and beaten some really good fighters. And he's a nice guy, to boot. Just adding that in for kicks.
Boots and kicks. New boot goofin'.
We'll find out Tuesday what it's going to be, but unless there's some complete shocker announcement in store, it's either Juan Manuel Marquez or Timothy Bradley for December 8. I'm fine with either choice, and frankly not exactly dying to see either. But Manny is Manny, and I'll tune in until it's over. And for that matter, Marquez is Marquez and Bradley is Bradley. We're still talking about three elite fighters right now, in my estimation. As Pippin said about having the white wizard on their side, that's got to count for somethin'.