One report has Manny Pacquiao scheduled to fight Humberto Soto on November 15, with Bob Arum not wanting to wait around to get Edwin Valero sanctioned in Nevada.
Another has Pacquiao's team saying no to the fight.
So who the mother freak am I supposed to believe?!
OK, OK. Calm down.
Pacquiao-Soto would be a hell of a fight. It was supposed to happen before, in Vancouver, and I was pumped. Instead, we were "treated" to that Pacquiao-Barrera rematch, which was the most regrettable PPV I bought in 2007, I think. (Hey, cut me some slack, it's 4:30am here and I'm working off of memory.)
Honestly, I prefer Pacquiao-Soto to Pacquiao-Valero. I think it's a far bigger challenge for Pacquiao. I think Soto probably knocks Valero out. I think Manny massacres Valero and makes an example of him.
But what I don't like is the same thing the Pacquiao team source seems to dislike, too: it's just not a money fight, and they're going to charge PPV for it. I paid to see Pacquiao mop the floor with David Diaz, and I apparently wasn't joined by too many. Bob Arum is saying 225-250,000 buys, but you probably read on Dan Rafael's ESPN Insider blog that he heard from non-Arum parties that the bout would be lucky to crack 200,000 when all is said and done. For those not familiar with pay-per-view buy numbers, that's, uh, not good.
Soto is not really a bigger name than Diaz was. Simple fact. He's more well-known, but I think he's known as a support guy. I think he's a super fight for Manny, a guy who would have a legit chance to win (while still a well-sized underdog, don't get me wrong), but people don't know Soto. And he's also not the massive star with the Mexican community that Barrera, Morales and Marquez are/were.
There is also still rumbling (in the second linked article of this post) that Pacquiao could fight Nate Campbell, who folks say would be willing to walk out on his fight with Joan Guzman to fight Manny. I'll be honest -- I don't think Guzman would beat Pacquiao, but I do think Campbell has a better chance at beating Pacquiao than he does Guzman, just due to the styles. Guzman is a tough SOB to outpoint. Campbell-Pacquiao could be a terrific war of attrition, much like Campbell's last fight with Juan Diaz.
It might burn a bridge with Showtime for Nate, but if he pulled in the money to fight Manny, I'm sure he'd light a cigar on the flames of said bridge.
Frankly, of these three fights, the one I'd most like to see is Pacquiao-Campbell, just for the title belt stuff. Pacquiao-Valero is a distant third for me. I don't think it winds up being a competitive fight, so I don't really want to pay for it.
Of course, I don't want to pay for any of these fights. Manny needs help to sell a major PPV event, that's now clear. None of these guys can give it to him.