Is The Pacquiao-Top Rank Marriage On the Rocks?

The Manny Pacquiao/Top Rank marriage has been most fruitful, and long running.

For both sides, it seems to have worked superbly. Of course, like any marriage, there are rough patches. We the fans don’t know about all of them, but periodically, sparring, or at the least, evidence that the two parties aren’t always on the same page, pop up.

We heard rumbling and grumbling after Manny’s last fight, against Jeff Horn, that Team Pacquiao didn’t adore all elements of how TR handled the promotion, in Australia. Now, Pacquiao himself is never the source, on the record, of any animus or dissatisfaction with Top Rank. You will see a spokesman, often a lawyer, quoted as to how Manny is irked. Like this week, we hear that the Filipino punch pol’s contract with Top Rank already expired last year.

According to one Eldibrando Viernesto, the last fight under that deal was against Jeff Horn in Brisbane, Australia last July, which saw Horn win a disputed decision.

“I reviewed the contract and I found out that Bob Arum has no more say even in the rematch, should there be any, between Manny Pacquiao and Australian boxer Jeff Horn,” Viernesto said to PhilBoxing.

I asked Top Rank bossman Bob Arum about that, last week, when he was in NYC summoning interest for the Jose Ramirez v Amir Imam topped card at the MSG Theater. Nonsense, he said. He said that some Malayasian money was perhaps being accumulated for a Pacman fight, Manny’s next, and that Top Rank would be doing their thing, with logistics and such, if and when that money package came to full fruition. Arum noted that he’s been advised that such money packages, from this player (or pretend player) or that, in this exotic locale or that, has been rumored to be in play…and then the sums don’t get collected.

But, he told me, Manny is still contracted to Top Rank, no matter what reading somebody else has, to the contrary.

Still, we seem to be at a possible fork in the road here. Freddie Roach didn’t want to touch the report that he won’t be cornering Manny for the next Manny fight when Dedham Freddie was in NYC this week. No Manny questions, he people asked me.

The rumored rival for the next Manny fight is Lucas Matthysse, and “The Machine,” who looked like he needed a parts upgrade in his last fight,  did manage to get the KO win and snag a crown, is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions. Would Oscar and company not love to usher Manny into their tent, being that Oscar and Arum have not been on the friendliest of terms for many moons, at various points of time?

I asked Golden Boy executive Eric Gomez what the deal is…Is Golden Boy right now negotiating terms for the 35 year old Matthysse, the WBA 147 pound champion, to meet Pacquiao next, with the understanding that Top Rank would not be involved, and Pacquiao would be using his Pacquiao Promotions to head up the faceoff? “No comment,” Gomez told me, Wednesday afternoon.

What say you, friends…how do you think the Top Rank-Pacquiao union is? Strong…or iffy?


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Michael Woods
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Michael Woods. Host, TALKBOX podcast, powered by EVERLAST; 1st VP, Boxing Writers Association of America; is my site