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Pacquiao turns to the fans to pick his next opponent

By Chris Williams: Manny Pacquiao wants the boxing fans to pick his next opponent for his upcoming fight in April. Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum has been working on matching him against a fighter that he co-promotes in Jeff Horn, but that fight is now in limbo right now.

Pacquiao surprised a lot of people with him posing on his Twitter account to his many fans asking them to pick between four fighters. The fighters that Pacquiao wants the boxing fans to pick from are from these four:

Kell Brook

Amir Khan

Jeff Horn

Terence Crawford

Not surprisingly, Khan is said to be in the lead by a wide margin. Khan was in the running for a fight against Pacquiao last year, but Arum went with Tim Bradley, who he promotes, for a third fight against the Filipino star. It turned out to be a really bad decision, as few boxing fans were interested in seeing Pacquiao fight Bradley a third time.

The fight reportedly only brought in 300,000 buys on HBO PPV, which was far below the number of buys Pacquiao-Bradley brought in with their first two fights together. Khan should have been picked by Top Rank to fight Pacquiao. Instead, Saul Canelo Alvarez ended up fighting Khan and they brought in over 600,000 buys. Those are respectable numbers, and twice the buys that the Pacquiao vs. Bradley 3 fight brought in.

If Pacquiao is interested in fighting Kell Brook, then he’s going to need to make his move starting this week, because there’s a purse bid this Tuesday for Brook’s mandatory defense against Errol Spence. Pacquiao can probably snatch Brook for his next fight if he moves right now before he signs a contract for the Spence fight.

Pacquiao’s adviser Michael Koncz said this week that he’s “100 percent” certain that the Filipino star will be facing Jeff Horn in the United Arab Emirates. However, it’s now unclear whether Pacquiao will fight Horn at all. With Pacquiao asking the boxing fans to pick from four fighters, he might not be too interested in fighting Horn.

You have to wonder whether Arum discussed with Pacquiao his idea of making a fight between him and the little known Jeff Horn. The management for Horn still want the Pacquiao fight very much, and they want it to take place in Australia where Horn lives. Why Pacquiao would ever agree to fight Horn in Australia is the big question.

Crawford is another fighter that is promoted by Arum, and he wants to match him against Pacquiao as well. Arum seems to be matching Pacquiao against his Top Rank fighters one after another instead of matching him against fighters from outside of his Top Rank stable. Khan isn’t with Arum, and neither is Kell Brook. It’s hard to imagine Arum making the move to match Pacquiao against those two fighters.

The boxing fans seem to be responding well to Khan in the vote for Pacquiao’s next opponent. Khan has 47% of the votes cast as of the last check. Crawford is at 26%, Brook at 22% and Horn trailing the pack badly with just 5%. The poor numbers that Horn has isn’t all that surprising, because he’s not a well-known fighter.

That brings you back to the question of why did Arum pick Horn out as someone that he wants to match Pacquiao against in April. For that matter, why did Arum match Pacquiao against Jessie Vargas last September in a fight that failed to bring in a lot of PPV buys on HBO.

The match-making done by Arum in Pacquiao’s last two fights against Vargas and Bradley have been poor to say the least. If Pacquiao had fought the likes of Danny Garcia, Amir Khan, Adrien Broner, Keith Thurman or Saul Canelo Alvarez, he probably would have made a lot more money. Is Arum losing his touch when it comes to his match-making? Why does he want to match Pacquiao against Jeff Horn? Isn’t it time that Pacquiao be matched against someone that the boxing fans want to see him fight?




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