Manny Pacquiao: Who’s Next?

Bob Arum arrives in the Philippines today with a big question for Manny Pacquiao: Who’s next? It’s obviously the question that comes up after every fight for any boxer. Except when you’re Manny Pacquaio the entire fanbase of the sport is asking that question. The fight everyone would look to see next is, of course, versus Mayweather. It’s beginning to look less and less likely that we will every see the fight. First it was out of the question because of “Money” getting a 90 day jail term. Hope was renewed when his date of incarceration was pushed back to June, allowing Mayweather to keep his commitment to a May 5th date at the MGM Grand.

Then the Pacquaio camp, led by promoter Arum, began to make it clear there was no interest in the May 5th date. Pacquaio’s cut, received in the fight with Marquez, would not allow him to fight on May 5th. That’s the excuse anyway. Now with Arum saying the next time Pacquiao fights will be sometime in June it’s highly unlikely Floyd is coming out of the slammer and lacing ‘em up before the end of the year. Especially for a matchup like the one against Pacquaio.

So we move on once again. Arum is presenting Pacquaio with four options for his next fight: Lamont Peterson, Tim Bradley, Juan Manuel Marquez and Miguel Cotto. As far as we’re concerned, there’s only two fights worth making it.

It’s shouldn’t be surprising that Lamont Peterson’sname is being thrown around as a potential opponent for Pacquaio. Anyone with any sort of buzz close to Pacquaio’s weight class is touted as a potential opponent. But we don’t see this fight happening. Quite frankly Peterson isn’t anywhere near the level of Pacquaio and his unfinished business with Amir Khan leaves many a question being asked. There are those who believe he never actually beat Khan and instead his decision victory was solely because of “home cookin’” in DC. Peterson needs to prove himself against Khan before any fight with Pacquaio should even be truly considered. If there is a rematch and Peterson once again proves triumphant, then let’s see a fight with Pacquaio seriously discussed. Until then Peterson’s name is just a buzz word being thrown around cause of his current name recognition in the sport.

Tim Bradleysigning for Top Rank was a big deal. Many fight fans were hoping to one day see a fight between Bradley and Pacquaio, as Bradley was looking impressive and like a potential Top 5 pound for pound fighter one day. Does anyone still want to see this fight? We sure don’t. Bradley spent most of the past year ducking Amir Khan, but he’s gonna mix it up with Pacquaio? Not likely. It doesn’t make sense business wise either. Bradley doesn’t have the fanbase, and sure Pacquaio has had some fights in the last few years with guys with small fanbases, but how long are people gonna continue to tune in for them? Bradley needs to do a whole lot more to prove himself before he’s ready for the Pac-Man.

What we see as the most intriguing matchup is a rematch. Not the probable Marquez one, but instead with Miguel Cotto. Although not anywhere near as controversial or close as the fights with Marquez, a lot has changed since Pacquaio and Cotto fought the first time. The biggest change? This fight in all likelihood would not happen at 145lbs. Popular opinion says that Cotto having to cut down to 145 seriously affected his fight game. It harmed both his power and endurance. Now that Pacquaio has set the precedent with his fight against Antonio Margarito, a catchweight is highly likely. Give Cotto back both his power and endurance and we think a fight against Pacquaio would be both a war and a classic.

Juan Manuel Marquezremains Manny Pacuqaio’s greatest foe. The trilogy between the two has already provided three hotly contested, controversial fights. You can’t hate the possibility of a fourth. Manny Pacquaio needs to prove to himself he is better than Marquez before he can even think about tackling Floyd Mayweather Jr. Marquez’s defense puzzled Pacquaio in the last fight, leaving a lot of commentators to ask the question of whether Manny is on the downside of his career. While we don’t believe that we certainly do believe Pacquaio needs to learn how to solve Marquez’s defence in the fourth fight before he’ll have the key to unlock Mayweather’s rock solid defence. The $28 million guarantee Marquez is asking for a fourth fight is likely the biggest obstacle to it being made.

What we want to see? A fight with Cotto in June followed by another late year bout with Marquez. It’d be the toughest year Pacquiao has had in a long while.

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