Manny Pacquiao doesn't want to fight Yuri Foreman either
Manny Pacquiao's camp said Wednesday that the world champion's hoped-for fight with unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Jr. is off. And today they nixed a bout with another unbeaten boxer, light middleweight Yuri Foreman, the opponent promoter Bob Arum had suggested as an alternate.
Pacquiao's U.S. business manager Michael Koncz told The Times that "Manny's concerned about Foreman's height. We'll go through the entire [welterweight and junior welterweight] categories and see what we can come up with."
At 5-foot-11, Foreman (28-0, eight knockouts) is 5-1/2 inches taller than Pacquiao and 3 inches taller than Mayweather Jr., whose insistence on more stringent drug testing derailed a welterweight title fight that had been scheduled for March 13 in Las Vegas. Arum, Pacquiao's promoter, declared the fight dead after a contentious nine-hour negotiating session with a mediator in Santa Monica failed to resolve the drug-testing issue.
For Pacquiao (50-3-2, 38 KOs), the draw of a match with Foreman was the chance to win a world title in a record eighth weight class. But that would also require Pacquiao to go up in weight, to 154 pounds. That could make it difficult for him to cut down again if the multimillion-dollar megafight with Mayweather (40-0, 25 KOs) ever materializes
Meanwhile for Foreman, the first Israeli boxing champion in history, taking on the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world -- if not history -- would mean his biggest payday ever.
"It's a real honor the greatest pound-for-pound fighter in the world doesn't want to fight me," Foreman, who is also represented by Arum, said from Brooklyn, N.Y. "Aside from winning the world title, this is the greatest compliment I've gotten in boxing."
Foreman, 29, won his world title in November by beating Puerto Rican Daniel Santos (32-3-1, 23 KOs) on the undercard of the Pacquiao-Miguel Cotto fight in Las Vegas.
"We would have liked [Pacquiao] but it didn't work out," Foreman's publicist Dovid Efune said. "But we know that everything that God does has a purpose."
Pacquiao, who has said he wants to fight once more before diving full-time into his spring campaign for a congressional seat in his native Philippines, is considering a match with either junior welterweight Paulie Malignaggi (27-3, 5 KOs) or world junior-welterweight champ Timothy Bradley (25-0, 11 KOs) of Palm Springs.
-- Kevin Baxter and Lance Pugmire
Photo: Manny Pacquiao shows off his championship belts during a visit to the Philippines on Nov. 20. Credit: Dennis M. Sabangan / EPA