Pacman Vs Golden Boy

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For Manny Pacquiao, the options are many and the obstacles are few. At least that’s how Bob Arum sees it.

Pacquiao’s promoter was sitting in his Las Vegas office Wednesday pondering the future for his brightest promotional product and everywhere he turned he saw the same thing. He saw golden opportunity, which isn’t something you hear a lot about too often these days on the American business front.

Pacquiao, of course, is more international business than local, which seems to be where the future lies on all fronts, including the fistic one. He is a national phenomenon in the Phillipines, where he is not only the most popular boxer in that country’s history but arguably its most popular athlete, while back in the States he is a guaranteed hit (literally and figuratively as Arum and Juan Manuel Marquez can each testify) both at the ticket window and on pay-per-view.

So while Pacquiao’s next move was long ago decided – a June step up to the lightweight division to challenge WBC 135-pound champion David Diaz – Arum is planning ahead. He is not only discussing the possibility of matching Pacquiao with unified champion Nate Campbell if Pacquiao prevails as expected against Diaz, but the promoter believes he can go in a multitude of other directions, including towards Oscar De La Hoya, if he chooses to.

Last week Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, dismissed such De La Hoya talk, although admitting Oscar had expressed both an interest in facing Pacquiao and a distaste for him, an enmity which Roach said Pacquiao shares for boxing’s Golden Boy. Yet Roach said the obvious size difference (De La Hoya is nearly five inches taller and outweighs Pacquiao by 20 pounds at normal fighting weights) was simply too much to overlook, unless De La Hoya was prepared to do a lot more dieting than he has in years. Wednesday, Arum disagreed.