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Not to Look Ahead, But Where Does Manny Pacquiao Go Next?

by Charles Jay

Are there other big monster paydays ahead for Manny Pacquiao? He’s got a tidy sum coming from this Saturday’s showdown with Juan Manuel Marquez at the MGM Grand.

Photo: Chris Farina/ Top Rank

But what about the near future? Where would the PacMan Express stop next?

If he loses to Marquez, we have a sense as to where that is going – to yet another fight, and there would certainly be a reason to have it.

But if Pacquiao wins, without a firestorm of controversy, where can he pick up another $25-$30 million?

Of course, this question is being asked under the assumption that no fight is ever going to be negotiated with Floyd Mayweather. If by luck, a Mayweather bout is finalized, that problem is solved and that will be the payday that Pacquiao takes into retirement (rematches notwithstanding).

If it is time for unfinished business, one rematch that would make sense is that which could take place with Timothy Bradley, and there would seem to be something natural to promote with that one, in that, well, Bradley won, according to the judges in Las Vegas. But the big problem with that is the fact that the pay-per-view numbers were so low the first time that Top Rank has been somewhat apprehensive about committing a lot of money to that, not having all the confidence in the world that it can be boosted all that much.

However, if there is a group that could conceivably get that done, it is Bob Arum’s crew, which is arguably the most artful and progressive company in the game, at least in the United States.

Does it help that Bradley hasn’t fought in the interim? Probably not, but he’ll be in action at some point. The key here is that he is under a promotional deal with Top Rank.

That brings control, and control is always an important currency in boxing.

That’s why it would be especially difficult for Pacquiao to be able to get into the ring with someone like Canelo Alvarez, for example. It’s because Top Rank would have to cooperate with another promoter to get it done. And because that promoter is Golden Boy (Oscar De La Hoya’s organization), which Arum has a tremendous animosity toward. It goes without saying that Golden Boy’s involvement with Mayweather (though not by contract) has been a stumbling block in the way of an amicable negotiation for the fight everybody seems to want (for now, at least).

No one is saying that Arum wouldn’t work with the Richard Schaefer/De La Hoya combo, because the almighty dollar has created some strange bedfellows, but let’s put it this way – the deal had better be VERY good for either of them, and especially Arum, who would be the guy with the bigger attraction and therefore the most leverage. That’s the way this business is run – the promoter has to be just as happy, and maybe even happier than the fighter. And it will be that way as long as Pacquiao has a promotional contract with Top Rank, which is now extended through 2014.

It is much easier to keep these things “in the family,” which is why Bradley was brought aboard in the first place, and why Golden Boy will have a lot of interest in rehabilitating Miguel Cotto so they can ultimately use him against Alvarez. They have the promotional deal with both, and they’re likely to draw a crowd. Austin Trout becomes the Timothy Bradley of this particular equation, as the numbers might not be big enough to pass the feasibility test. .

It appears that Arum’s “keep it in the family” play will not be Bradley, but Brandon Rios, in a tentative date set for April. It’s not hard to figure out why he is the preferred choice.. After all, he’s Latin, he’s very popular, he’s all-action, and he is also just one bout into his tenure at 140 pounds, having moved up from 135, so it is unlikely that he’s going to lay a lot of hurt on Pacquiao, even with his relentless style.

Would Rios have a chance to send PacMan packing? Well, if Pacquiao makes it out of the ring a winner on Saturday, “God willing,” this gets closer to reality, so it’s worth investigating sometime after the final bell.

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