by Hans Olson
When Floyd Mayweather was given a 90-day jail sentence for misdemeanor battery domestic violence late last year (to begin being served on January 6), it essentially killed another opportunity for Manny Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum to put together the super-fight the world craves between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. Although Pacquiao is coming off of a less-than-stellar showing against Juan Manuel Marquez last November—a fight myself and many others believe he lost—there is still little doubt that the guy people want to see Pacman in there with is Floyd Mayweather.
Even if Floyd is released from jail a few weeks early for good behavior, it’s still doubtful that Floyd and Manny would face each other in their next fights, respectively. Understanding this, it’s fair to assume that Arum will match Manny with someone other than Floyd this spring, and you can’t really blame him…well, except for the fact that he stated numerous times that the rematch with Juan Manuel Marquez was the focus all along…
Then again, that could very well have been some form of negotiation tact, something very few are as good at as Bob Arum is.
Considering all of this, let’s take a look at three names out there for Manny Pacquiao to fight this spring…
What’s Next for Pacquiao?
1. He Could and Should Fight: Juan Manuel Marquez
This one is fairly simple. Juan Manuel Marquez was robbed last November. Many feel that Marquez has defeated Manny Pacquiao not once, not twice, but THREE times!!! The best he’s ever been able to come away with officially is a draw, from the first time they met in May of 2004. Personally, I feel Manny Pacquiao did win each of their first two battles(although not by much)…but the third fight was absolutely a win that Marquez deserved. That so many had written “Dinamita” off going into the bout (myself included) added to the overall shock of just how ineffective Manny was against an older Marquez—especially at a higher weight, something Manny has been able to thrive at. It seems that Marquez is Pacquiao’s kryptonite, and no matter if they fight each other 100 more times, it will always be close, and likely always controversial.
Since this was the initial fight that Arum wanted to put together for this spring, not only is it logical, but it’s a fight Manny SHOULD take to prove his superiority to his Mexican nemesis. Then again, does the boxing world truly want to see this fight again? Do we want more controversy? If Marquez were to win—which, based on November’s showing is very much a possibility—would this again kill the super-fight with Floyd that hangs in the balance? These are all questions that have to be considered.
2. He Should but Won’t Fight: Sergio Martinez
Okay, there is very little possibility of this one happening. You know it, and I know it. So why do I still mention it? Because pound for pound match-ups in boxing are a rarity. The fact that we have 3 fighters at the top of everyone’s pound for pound list who have all fought at, and still can compete at a negotiated weight somewhere between 150-154 lb cannot be ignored. Martinez has stated often (and to Boxing Insider directly) that he’s willing to drop all the way down from middleweight (where he currently holds the lineal championship) to 150 for a shot at Floyd or Manny. If Manny was able to make “history” by defeating Antonio Margarito for a vacant belt at that weight just over a year ago…what’s the issue in fighting Sergio Martinez at the same weight? I think we all know the answer to that…and so do Manny and his team. A number of insiders have stated to me off the record that certain people around Manny hate the fight, and that it will never happen. We all know Manny himself would be willing to fight Sergio…but we too know better, that those who protect him will never allow it.
My argument is this:
If people are calling Floyd a coward for not fighting his toughest opponent available…then why aren’t we calling Manny Pacquiao the very same?
3. He Shouldn’t but Might Fight: Tim Bradley
When Bradley signed on with Top Rank last year, it was widely assumed that Arum had intentions of matching Bradley with Pacquiao if negotiations for a fight with Floyd Mayweather fell apart again. The fact that Bradley was given a showcase fight against the long faded Joel Casamayor on the undercard to Pacquiao/Marquez III furthered this point. Unfortunately for Bradley, Marquez probably beat him to another Pacquiao payday with his showing and the controversy surrounding the fight’s ultimate decision. That is unless of course, Marquez prices himself out…which is a possibility. Arum might be able to make just as much money with a Pacquiao/Bradley fight. Honestly, you can put Pacquiao in there with pretty much anyone and make boat loads of cash…so, from that standpoint, Arum still has options.
Has Bradley earned this shot? Perhaps not…but if not Floyd Mayweather, Sergio Martinez, or Juan Manuel Marquez…he’s certainly a better-than-average choice.
Boxing Insider’s Hans Olson can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @hansolson