Choosing Manny Pacquiao’s Next Opponent

Manny Pacquiao won’t be fighting Floyd Mayweather, time to move on. With Mayweather going to prison, the already lagging or non-existent fight negotiations have been thrown out the door, and the biggest fight everybody wants will have to wait for another day. Meanwhile, Bob Arum has flown to the Philippines so Pacquiao can choose his next opponent.

We all know what Arun prefers – A fourth Juan Manuel Marquez fight. Marquez wants that as well, still whining about getting screwed over, again. Three fights, one draw, two losses. Yes, they were all close. But did Marquez convince anyone who wasn’t already a fan of his that he won those fights? I’m not so sure.

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Anyhow, that will be the fight Arum pushes for, and as Pacquiao looks across the board, that’ll just might be the fight he chooses. Marquez taking Manny to the limit and the majority decision finale is still resonating with the huge Mexican following Marquez has, which might led to an even bigger payday and PPV buy. Marquez had his best ever pay day against Pacquiao, in a fight that sold something around 1.4 million PPVs.

However, I’m not so sure Manny Pacquiao wants to be in such a close one again. There’s already been a trilogy, and Pacquiao, when you look at the results over the years, has come out the winner. Why risk it against a fighter that’s cleary very well matched for Pacquiao and risk the loss? He doesn’t need to prove anything against Marquez, who has more to gain from a fourth encounter.

Although Arum says it’s up to Pacquiao, with Freddie Roach obviously throwing in his weight, it’s clear Arum wants to make the Marquez fight happen. If it’ll be on May 5, Cinco De Mayo, which holds big fights for Mexican fighters traditionally, even better. I’ll explain all the scenarios to Manny, but I don’t care. I’m Switzerland. I’ll present the opponents and we’ll discuss it, but Manny makes his own decision. Now if I was leaning a particular way and I told Manny, he would probably do it because that’s the kind of guy he is.

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Juan Manuel Marquez isn’t the only rematch option. Miguel Cotto, who has recovered from his brutal loss against Pacquiao with 3 wins, including his big revenge win over Antonio Margarito, is also a valid option. The big, Puerto Rican fan base, to generate HBO PPV buys, is a major factor. This time, the fight will be in a higher weight than the November 2009 encounter.

It was a Welterweight title fight last time around, but it’ll probably be at a catchweight of 150 or 152 this time. Cotto looked terrific with Margarito, he has the biggest fan base with the Puerto Rican numbers he delivers and he’s the biggest name of the four. Also, people remember that the first four rounds of his fight with Manny were hellacious. You could sell it based on the fact that, yeah, Manny beat the old Cotto, but the new Cotto is a problem and they would be fighting at a higher weight.

Another fight I don’t like, because despite what Arum says, Cotto isn’t a better fighter now than he was two years ago. Maybe he’s regained some confidence, but that fight wasn’t close as Arum puts it. Cotto was rocked by that one, and the Margarito (illegal) beating for quite some time.

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The other two options are the Light Welterweight champions, Lamont Peterson and Timothy Bradley. Bradley recently signed with Top Rank, making him the easiest deal to close between the two, while Peterson is a free agent and a bit unpredictable with his decisions. Bradley is probably the better fighter between the two, already beating Peterson in their 2009 fight.

Bradley is undefeated, he’s considered to be a tough out and, for those looking at the most competitive fight, Bradley would be considered more competitive with Pacquiao than Peterson might be. Bradley’s downside is his popularity. He’s never been a big ticket seller, and his only recent fight was a win over 40 year old Cuban Joel Casamayor.

Lamont Peterson isn’t nearly as polished of a fighter as Bradley is, but he’s got his name on the rise after his controversial split decision win over Amir Khan. He won’t get to fight in Washington, but in terms of popularity (and easier fight), Lamont Peterson might make a better choice. The Arum take – Clearly, Bradley whitewashed Peterson, so you have that. But on the other hand you have Peterson coming off this fight with Khan that had a lot of publicity and it was a terrific fight. And you also have this wonderful back story of how Lamont grew up in poverty. It’s U.S. poverty versus Filipino-style poverty. Both guys came up in as much poverty as you could imagine. That would be a theme of a promotion if Peterson is selected as the opponent.

We’re not going to get Manny Pacquiao vs Sergio Martinez. Martinez already has a March date set with Irishman Matthew Macklin on March. Arum is looking for a May or June fight, putting the Pound for Pound mega fight out of the question. I really don’t want to see another Marquez fight. I think Bradley would be the best option in terms of entertainment for fans, but money makes people act strangely sometimes.