Two fights for Manny this year?
SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - February 19, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A plan is now being worked out for super WBA welterweight champion Sen. Manny Pacquiao to fight two more years with three or four bouts on the table. That could be the agenda before Pacquiao decides his involvement in the 2022 elections.

Pacquiao’s recent connection with Los Angeles-based Paradigm Sports Management has created a wave of excitement in mapping out what’s next in his boxing career. Paradigm founder/CEO Audie Attar, an American of Iraqi descent, was described by Pacquiao’s business manager Arnold Vegafria as “a young, aggressive entrepreneur” and a perfect partner in establishing a foundation for the future not just in boxing but in other fields of entertainment.

“We’ve been working on this for two years,” said Vegafria. “This is a partnership of two strong teams. Paradigm is our partner in the US while Team Pacquiao will continue to be a strong player in Asia and the Middle East.  We’re confident Paradigm can deliver in all aspects of our relationship.  Our cooperation is not in conflict with any obligation that binds Senator.” 

Vegafria said in his understanding,  Pacquiao’s deal with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions has expired after the Adrian Broner and Keith Thurman fights but the option remains to work together for a Floyd Mayweather Jr. rematch. He said Paradigm will now take the lead role in negotiating Pacquiao’s coming fights.

“We didn’t meddle with PBC when Senator fought Broner and Thurman,” said Vegafria. “We want unity in Team Pacquiao. The contract with Paradigm isn’t for us, it’s for Senator. We anticipate three or four more fights in his career and we want to make sure everything is in order. Mayweather is an option but you’ll never know if he’s willing to fight Senator again.  If Senator has existing obligations with PBC, of course, they will be respected.  We could also do co-promotions with PBC, why not?  Our goal is to find the best deal for Senator.”

Vegafria said mixed martial arts star Conor McGregor, a Paradigm mainstay, could be a future Pacquiao opponent but maybe, not for this year. “McGregor could be the finale, Senator’s last fight,” he said. “We’re looking at June or July for Senator’s next fight then perhaps, a second fight late this year.  If Mayweather is available, he could be the last opponent.  At least, we’re assured of a mega opponent for Senator – either Mayweather or McGregor.  It really all depends on Senator.  The bottom line is we’ll do what Senator wants.”

MP Promotions head Sean Gibbons said he’s been informed that talks are now ongoing with English promoter Eddie Hearn’s DAZN network and Showtime. “I work for Senator,” said Gibbons. “Senator has appointed Arnold as business manager and Atty. Brando (Viernesto) as legal counsel. They seem to be aware of everything and it sounds good. I am working business as usual for MP fighters, simple. Senator is always on point.”

Vegafria, as Pacquiao’s business manager, was the lead negotiator for the Paradigm deal with Viernesto, Ping Nepomuceno, Jayke Joson and Atty. Bong Gacal actively participating in concluding the arrangement.

Vegafria said Pacquiao’s next opponent is being lined up, mentioning PBC’s Danny Garcia and DAZN’s Mikey Garcia as candidates. Apparently, an option for Pacquiao to fight in the Middle East has been scuttled. It was earlier speculated that Pacquiao may take on Amir Khan in Qatar or Danny Garcia in Saudi Arabia in April.

“Paradigm will participate in Senator’s contracts relating to endorsements, media, marketing and entertainment in general,” said Vegafria. “This partnership will be for Senator’s future. We’re excited to move forward with this effort.”

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