Bob Arum assured of Kuala Lumpur blockbuster
Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - May 31, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Manny Pacquiao’s close associates Michael Koncz and Joe Ramos recently assured Top Rank CEO Bob Arum that it’s all systems go for WBA welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse’s defense against the Filipino Senator in Kuala Lumpur on July 15 with tickets expected to go on sale soon.

Koncz and Ramos met up with Arum during the Top Rank event featuring IBF superflyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas and challenger Jonas Sultan at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, California, last Saturday. 

Koncz said he’s been in constant contact with Arum regarding preparations for the fight since Top Rank has the exclusive pay-per-view and closed circuit rights in the US. Pacquiao himself designated Top Rank chief operating officer Brad Jacobs to coordinate the staging of the fight and the scaling of tickets because of his expertise in the boxing business.

Koncz said Matthysse’s demand for his purse to be put in escrow isn’t a big deal. “It’s in the contract,” said Koncz. “Of course, we’ll put his entire purse in escrow and that’s getting done.” Since this is Pacquiao’s first major promotion, it’s natural for fighters in the card to ask for their purses in escrow.

Pacquiao presided in a meeting in Manila to discuss the progress of preparations two weeks ago and put things in order. One major decision was to do a simulcast of the fight on the country’s three major TV networks to provide maximum mileage as in Pacquiao’s bout against Floyd Mayweather, Jr. 

Pacquiao is now deep in training for the fight with head coach Buboy Fernandez and conditioning expert Justin Fortune joining forces to supervise his workouts. Australian George Kambosos, 24, has arrived to spar with Pacquiao. Kambosos also worked with Pacquiao for the Jeff Horn fight and is an undefeated lightweight with a 14-0 record, including eight KOs. Another sparmate is 34-year-old superwelterweight Arnel Tinampay, a 5-7 bruiser with a 24-21-1 record, including 10 KOs.

A fighter who was recommended to Ramos as a sparmate is superlightweight Mike Melikyan, an American of Armenian descent. Melikyan, 24, was hired as a sparmate by Viktor Postol and Ruslan Provodnikov before their fights against Matthysse because of his resemblance to the Argentinian’s style and physique.

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