By Kirk Jackson
Negotiations are in progress and talks between the Floyd Mayweather (47-0, 26 KOs) and Manny Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KOs) camps remain steadfast.
Which is a great sign for fans, who have eagerly anticipated this dream match-up for about five years now.
But as we have witnessed far too many times in the past, negotiations can break down and the fights we have craved for can crumble and never manifest.
Such as with the often proposed fight between Mayweather and Pacquiao.
Negotiations have crumbled on a number of reasons ranging from disagreements on drug testing, split of the money, venue, respective timing for each fighter, etc.
It now appears we may be closer than ever and come May 2nd, 2015, the dream may finally be realized.
But just in case boxing fans are left heart-broken yet again and the dream bout is not made, Pacquiao and Mayweather have many other options for 2015.
Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach has mentioned that his pupil would be moving down from welterweight (147 lbs.) to junior welterweight (140 lbs), which could provide some interesting match-ups for the Filipino star.
The most eye-catching match-up would be against the kingpin of the division, unified WBA, WBC, Ring Magazine Junior Welterweight Champion Danny Garcia 29-0 (17 KO’s).
Lucas Matthysse (36-3, 34 KOs) and Adrien “The Problem” Broner (29-1, 22 KOs) also present intriguing match-ups as well. One could only imagine the press conference with Pacquiao and Broner. The verbal barbs hurled between Freddie Roach and Broner may be more entertaining than the fight itself.
Although the “Cold War” between Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions has ended, we’re more likely to see Pacquiao matched with a Top Rank opponent.
So a Jessie Vargas (26-0, 9 KOs) or a Mike Alvarado (34-3, 23 KOs) is not out the question. Although a bout between Pacquiao and Vargas or Alvarado may not be warranted or deserved, Top Rank Promoter Bob Arum could still make those fights happen.
After the Pacquiao-Algieri event this past month, Arum hinted at potential match between Pacquiao and Vargas in the foreseeable future.
Arum booked Pacquiao vs. Brandon Rios (32-2-1, 23 KOs) last year and we just suffered through Pacquiao vs. Chris Algieri (20-1, 8 KOs).
Meanwhile, boxing stalwart Terence Crawford (25-0, 17 KOs) plans on moving up from lightweight to junior welterweight, he fights under the same promotional banner as Pacquiao (Top Rank) and many spectators are starting to realize how great Crawford can potentially be.
Crawford is regarded by some as the next “Mayweather,” type fighter, a boxer displaying dominance over his opponents and showcasing a mastery of the sweet science.
Although Crawford has yet to step in the ring as a junior welter, this could be a great match and test for both he and Pacquiao. The only problem is, Crawford is not a household name, and pay-per-view buys are hard to come by. It’s a tough sell to the casual fan.
There’s also great potential for competitive bouts for Pacquiao in the division he is currently in.
Aside from Mayweather, there is winner of the Amir Khan (29-3, 19 KOs) vs. Devon Alexander 26-2 (14 KOs) bout, former sparring partner and IBF Welterweight Champion Shawn Porter (24-1-1, 15 KOs), Marcos Maidana (35-5, 31 KOs), Robert Guerrero (32-2-1, 18 KOs), undefeated champion Kell Brook (33-0, 22 KOs) and undefeated title contender Keith Thurman (23-0, 21 KOs).
Pacquiao could also fight Timothy Bradley (31-1, 12 KOs) for a third time or even fight long time rival Juan Manuel Marquez (56-7-1, 40 KOs) for a fifth time.
Also possible for Pacquiao is Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (44-1-1, 31 KOs) or even a move up to challenge middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (31-0, 28 KOs), as some critics want Floyd Mayweather to do.
Mayweather will probably remain in the welterweight division. He’s already defeated Guerrero and decisively bested Maidana twice.
Thurman is growing as a fan favorite, he is fast, powerful and athletic. Hardcore fans wouldn’t be opposed to Mayweather taking on a young Thurman, or a young, slick fighter in Kell Brook either. A battle of undefeated fighters, no matter how you slice it.
The most likely choice however, would be the winner of Khan and Alexander, preferably Khan.
Khan has a great fan following overseas, is very marketable, has a crowd-pleasing style, and is a skilled boxer; he and Mayweather have developed some sort of a rivalry over the past few years, with Khan yearning for an opportunity to face the pound-for-pound king.
Upset defeats on Khan’s end have derailed any plans from that match from happening in the past, but if Khan wins later this month against Alexander, his dream can become reality if the Mayweather-Pacquiao bout is not made.
The most likely back up option for Manny Pacquiao is Jessie Vargas and for Floyd Mayweather it’s Amir Khan.
Those still yearning for the mythical Floyd versus Manny battle will hope it doesn’t come to that.