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Friday, October 30, 2009

IBO: Pacquiao Must Defend or Vacate Belt

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Promoter Bob Arum called it "fair" that Manny Pacquiao has 60 days from the day after facing WBO welterweight (147 pounds) champion Miguel Cotto on Nov. 14 to decide whether or not to defend the IBO junior welterweight (140) crown he won by second-round knockout over England's Ricky Hatton in May.

The notification, issued by IBO president Ed Levine on Wednesday, calls for Pacquiao to relinquish his crown should he fail to comply.

"Yeah, they called me about that. I think that's fair," Arum told FanHouse on Thursday night. "It's 60 days to decide whether he wants to defend it. Otherwise, there's other people who are waiting to get a shot at the title, and Manny will make a decision after the fight."

In accordance with IBO rules, "all champions, with the exception of the heavyweight champion, shall defend their titles at least once every nine months unless medically excused for valid cause and/or at the sole and absolute discretion of the IBO," Levine wrote in a statement.

"He's a really nice guy, Levine, and that's really fine," said Arum. "And if Manny decides no, he's not going to defend the title, he still is the Ring Magazine champion at that weight -- 140 pounds -- so it's just no big deal."

The 32-year-old Pacquiao (49-3-2, 37 knockouts) is ranked No. 1 in the organization's computerized rankings for October, while Hatton (45-2, 32 KOs) is No. 2.

Should Pacquiao elect to vacate his title, Levine said the championship would be filled by a subsequent bout between the top two available contenders.

Unbeaten Russian prospect Denis Shafikov (22-0, 12 KOs) is the IBO Intercontinental champion at 140 and a likely contender if the title were to become vacant.

"If Pacquiao-Cotto is a great, great fight, we can do a rematch. Or he could fight Shane Mosley, whom he wants to fight," Arum told FanHouse during an interview earlier this month. "Manny could fight Juan Manuel Marquez a third time down at 140, or he could fight Floyd Mayweather Jr."

A unanimous decision loser to Mayweather last month as a welterweight, Marquez (50-5-1, 37 KOs) has twice fought Pacquiao, losing a split-decision and battling him to a draw.

But in February, Marquez won the vacant WBO and WBA 135-pound titles with a ninth-round knockout of Juan Diaz, making him a lucrative, trilogy matchup in what would be a unification bout opposite Pacquiao at 140.

Source: http://boxing.fanhouse.com/2009/10/30/ibo-pacquiao-must-defend-or-vacate-belt/

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