According to a report by ESPN.com's Dan Rafael, Manny Pacquiao is currently discussing a contract extension with Top Rank that would last through 2016 and cover five fights. Pacquiao's contract with Top Rank runs out at the end of the year, but he has maintained that he wants to finish his career with them, his promoter since 2005.
Bob Arum confirmed the report.
"Yes, we are talking about the extension," Arum told ESPN.com. "We are working it out. We are talking about a lot of things. How many fights would be in Macau, how many would be in the United States, how many in other places. But we are talking about five fights."
Pacquiao's adviser Michael Koncz, however, does claim that he and Pacquiao are looking at other options just to be safe in addition to negotiating with Arum.
"I have had conversations with Bob about an extension, but nothing has been finalized," Michael Koncz, Pacquiao's adviser, told ESPN.com. "Do we fight again this year or take some time off and fight next year? There are a lot of things to work on, but the new agreement we are discussing would entail five fights. That's our intention, barring injury."
"Bob has been good to us over the years and we have been good to him. We may sign with him or we may not," Koncz said. "We have other offers on the table and we will look at all our options and decide what's best for Manny, but I don't want to discuss the particulars because I don't want to offend other people."
In the article, Rafael writes that Koncz said they are not talking to Golden Boy Promotions. A big reason why is that they were once involved with heavy litigation as Golden Boy attempted to recruit Pacquiao several years ago while he was under contract with Top Rank. He also says that negotiating with other parties besides Top Rank has nothing to do with a potential fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
"I don't believe Floyd not fighting us has to do with Bob," Koncz said. "Why did he wait until he exhausted all other excuses before saying he wouldn't fight Manny if Bob was involved? First he brought up the drug testing [during the initial 2009 failed negotiations]. Then he wanted Manny to sign with him. Then he wanted to pay Manny only a flat fee of $40 million for the fight instead of sharing a percentage [of the revenue], and now he can't fight Manny because Bob would be involved? Why did he wait so long to bring that up? If that's true, why not use that excuse a few years ago?"
Koncz also made mention of the idea that Pacquiao may drop down to 140 pounds in order to increase his choice of opponents. He also says they don't mind fighting outside of Las Vegas like they did against Brandon Rios.
"We may move to 140 pounds. We have a lot of options and have to be careful with our final decision," Koncz said. "This is Manny's career and it's winding down. That's another option we have, of going to 140 to find other opponents."
"We love fighting in America and we wouldn't mind going back to Cowboys Stadium [where Pacquiao fought twice in 2010]," he said. "But we're also looking at different venues and countries. Macau was beneficial to everyone involved. In Macau we didn't have such a heavy dependence on the American pay-per-view money. We'd love to fight in Macau again, whether we re-sign with Bob or not."
I would be shocked if Pacquiao doesn't end up re-signing with Top Rank. They've been together for nearly a decade and, as Koncz points out, they've largely had a mutually good time with each other.
If Pacquiao was wanting to maximize his money and opponent pool, the best option might would be to not sign a long-term deal with anyone. Let promoters bid for the right to promote you, and not sign an exclusive deal with a promoter or TV network (unless he would get offered an insane deal like what Showtime gave Mayweather). But I'm sure Pacquiao likes the comfort of working with familiar faces, and a long-term contract may protect him if he suddenly goes old overnight, depending on if there's a lose-and-the-contract-is-voided clause.