Well, that didn't take too long.
Public demand had barely even gotten off the ground before Top Rank's Bob Arum got on the ball and scheduled WBC international super featherweight champion Manny Pacquiao to defend against Humberto Soto on October 6 in Vancouver.
According to a story at Canada.com, Vancouver businessman Geoffrey Hughes is "99.5 per cent" sure that the fight is going to happen, as he has been working with Bob Arum and Lou DiBella to get the fight for Vancouver, not one of boxing's hottest cities.
But if any fighter can turn a curious crowd into fans, it's Manny Pacquiao. And Humberto Soto is an ideal opponent for the champion, too.
From the article:
Soto challenged Pacquiao after knocking out the Pacman's younger brother, Bobby, in the seventh round on June 9 at Madison Square Garden. Pacquiao, in true form, said immediately that he would accept the challenge. But boxers, like their fans, don't always get what they want.
This time, it looks like we're all going to get it. The only other substantial rumors were Pacquiao fighting Joan Guzman in Vancouver, or Edwin Valero in China. Valero, of course, cannot fight in the United States for medical reasons.
The Pacquiao/Soto fight will be a highlight of the year. It's a great matchup with a lot of story involved. Soto knocked out Manny's brother, while Manny is on quite a run of slaying Mexican heroes like Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales and Oscar Larios.
Assuming the fight does go off as we're hearing now -- and there's no reason to think it won't -- then kudos to Top Rank for making this fight. A lot of people want to see Pacquiao/Marquez II, but the logistics just aren't there right now. And, truthfully, if I can't see that fight, I think this is the guy I want Pacquiao to face. While Golden Boy often gets more attention (at least positive attention), Top Rank is making the better fights right now.
In a perfect world, the companies could let their bosses sit down and hammer out even better fights in some cases, but at the end of the day, you work with what's there. Getting Taylor/Pavlik and Pacquiao/Soto lined up for the fall makes for two big pieces of good work from Arum and company.
Mark it down: October 6, two of the best 130-pounders in the world. If this fight goes 12 rounds, I'll eat my hat.
In other encouraging news that I still take with a big old grain of salt, the Calzaghe/Kessler fight would most likely now take place at Millennium Stadium in Wales, to attract the biggest possible gate, according to icWales. Frank Warren says negotiations are at "a very, very advanced stage," but I'll believe it when someone announces it.