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Manny Pacquiao's camp 'working on' fall fight in the Philippines

Manny Pacquiao is the pride of the Philippines, but the sitting senator and eight-division world champion has not fought in his home country since 2006.

That was when Pacquiao was a junior lightweight -- four divisions ago -- and coming off a 10th-round knockout victory over Erik Morales in their rematch.

Manny Pacquiao has not fought in his home country since 2006, but according to Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, the wheels are in motion for a fight in the Philippines this fall. Chris Hyde/Getty Images
On that day in the outskirts of Manila, Pacquiao won a wide decision over Oscar Larios. Since then, Pacquiao has fought 20 times, 18 times in the United States in some of the biggest fights in boxing history, and twice in Macau, China.

On Saturday night, live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes beginning at 9 ET -- Sunday morning in Australia -- Pacquiao will defend the welterweight world title he took from Jessie Vargas in November for the first time when he meets Jeff Horn before an expected crowd of some 55,000 at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Horn's hometown.

Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 KOs) is a massive favorite to beat Horn (16-0-1, 11 KOs), 29, who was a 2012 Australian Olympian but has a thin résumé, counting wins against over-the-hill former contenders Randall Bailey and Ali Funeka as his only notable victories.

The fight is viewed by many Down Under as the biggest boxing event in Australian history and has major financial backing by the Queensland government. But should Pacquiao be victorious, as expected, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said fans should not expect Pacquiao to return to the United States for his next fight.

Arum said the wheels are in motion to bring Pacquiao home to the Philippines this fall.

"I've been talking to people in the Philippines and they want Manny to fight in Manila," Arum told ESPN. "We would do it in the same way we are doing this fight with Horn, where we would put it on Sunday morning in the Philippines so we could have it on in prime time in the United States on a Saturday night and we would also probably do it with ESPN."

Arum said there are large casinos in Manila that want to financially back the return of their favorite son.

"They have massive casinos in Manila and they have wanted Manny to fight there," Arum said.

Pacquiao, 38, who has designs on someday running for president of the Philippines, said he would like to fight at home again before his career is over.

"We're discussing fighting in my country," Pacquiao said. "We're working on that."

By having Pacquiao fight in the Philippines, don't expect him to fight a big name, Arum said. The welterweight division is loaded with talent, including titleholders Keith Thurman and Errol Spence Jr. as well as former titleholders Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter, all of whom are associated with Al Haymon's Premier Boxing Champions, which rarely does business with Arum.

Instead, Arum said one opponent Pacquiao could fight is the Top Rank-promoted Konstantin Ponomarev (32-0, 13 KOs), 24, of Russia, who is not well known but scored his biggest win, a split decision against then-undefeated Brad Solomon, on the undercard of Pacquiao's third fight with Timothy Bradley Jr. in April 2016.

"One guy we could match Manny with is Ponomarev. He's a very tough kid. He's undefeated and he's a good fighter, but there could be others," Arum said.

Arum said he did not think it would make financial sense to put Pacquiao on pay-per-view against an opponent such as Thurman or Garcia.

"If you put Manny in with any of those guys, even if we could make a deal, they're really unknown outside the United States and they're not that well known in the U.S. outside the boxing community," Arum said. "So Manny versus Thurman or the other guys in the division, while they would be good fights and they are good fighters, will do mediocre numbers on pay-per-view. Maybe 300,000 or 400,000 buys. So unless there was somebody who breaks out to become known to the public at large it's really not worth it because Manny wants to get paid and the opponent wants to get paid a lot of money."

Although Pacquiao was once a top pay-per-view draw, those days are gone, Arum said. The entire pay-per-view business is not what it once was except for a true superfight, he said.

"Look at the fight we did with Manny and Jessie Vargas," Arum said of the Top Rank PPV he did on his own last fall. "It did nothing on pay-per-view, maybe 250,000 buys. Certainly Manny's popularity has dropped in the United States. He's not the Pacquiao that was whacking guys out, so obviously some of the shine is off. He made some [controversial anti-homosexual] statements that didn't go over so well. And there was the fight with Floyd Mayweather that did big business but a lot of people were not happy with. So he'll do nicely [financially] with Jeff Horn, but until we can get an opponent in a fight that people will pay for in big numbers, he isn't going to fight any of these guys. It's business."

Source: http://www.espn.com/boxing/story/_/id/19753940/manny-pacquiao-next-fight-the-philippines-says-bob-arum

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