Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao did it again recently, he added yet another title to his ever growing collection, an 8th divisional “world” title, and yet more plaudits. Now fight fans are wondering “Who’s next for the Pacman?” Although with Bob Arum at the helm the options seem to have eliminated Floyd Mayweather Jr already, but who’s phones maybe getting called in the foreseeable future for a man already established as his generations most exciting fighter and one of the finest pound for pound exponents of the fight game.
This short list may not contain the right opponent, though the list does look at a multitude of options.
Firstly a rematch with Miguel Cotto (@154). Cotto was beaten last year by Pacquiao by 12th round stoppage in one of the most thrilling fights of the year, though many said that the win deserved to have an asterisk next to it due to the fact Cotto was forced to weigh in at 145lbs. Since that lose Cotto has gone on to win the WBA “Super” title at 154lbs the same division where Pacquiao now holds the WBC belt.
The bought would be a unification bout at 154lbs and allow Miguel to extract some revenge, as well as the fact it would be an in house Bob Arum/Top Rank deal, something we’ve started to become accustomed to. Though few imagine the bout being competitive having seen Pacquiao beat the fight out of Cotto the first time out.
Sergei Dzindzurik (@154). Although few fighters at 154lbs really stand a chance at beating Pacquiao, Dzindzurik probably has the best chance. The reigning WBO champion at the is the longest reigning title holder in the division with a 6 defence reign dating back to 2005. The Ukrainian’s unbeaten record of 37-0 (23) is one of the longest of any active fighter and although he’s not established in the US it’s hard not to view this as an extremely tough fight. Sergei, standing at 6 foot uses his 68” wing span to control fights with one of the sweetest most accurate jabs in the sport today, a weapon that is crucial to anyone thinking about beating Pacquiao.
Although the fight would be a unification bout and establish Pacquiao as the de facto #1 in the division it’s also one of, if not the most dangerous fight out there. Other than the title Dzindzurik brings little to the table in terms of money and isn’t a Bob Arum. Although the bout is one of the few that would really test Pacquiao I can’t imagine it happening.
Saul Alvarez (@154). The unbeaten “Canelo” is looking like one for the future and the red headed Mexican is arguably the most promising fighter in the world as well as one of the most exciting fights. Although the step up from the likes of Carlos Baldomir and Lovemore N’dou to Pacquiao is more of a huge leap than a step though the fight would sell brilliantly to the boxing fans, and although Manny would be a heavy favourite the fight would be huge with Mexican fight fans who are looking for revenge. Pacquiao has beaten Mexican legends Marco Antonio Barerra, Erik Morales and controversially Juan Manuel Marquez as well as his recent win over Margarito, could Canelo possibly do what they couldn’t?
Although Saul is a fighter signed to Golden Boy Promotions the fight should, on paper be simple enough to make, Saul currently holds the WBC Silver title at the weight which effectively makes him the #1 contender. An interesting fight if nothing else.
Williams or Martinez (@160). The two face off in December for the right to call themselves the Middleweight champion, so the although the actual opponent can’t be predicted yet the idea is that Manny would be chasing another divisional title, the WBC Middleweight belt. Both the fighters are naturally bigger than Manny and both pose their own unique threats. Williams is like a human stretch Armstrong with an amazing work rate and although he can be outboxed he’s a hard nights work for anyone. Martinez however is a much smarter fighter and is possibly the sort of fighter than Manny would struggle again, being able to box on the back foot and use movement to his advantage.
Although neither fighter is signed to Top Rank to promise of a 9th divisional title, and a 5th “linear” championship makes this a bout that holds a lot of intrigue. It would make Manny’s achievements arguably unbeatable and be another test as to how high he can really go. Funnily with Manny last 2 titles being gained in catch weight fights he may be interested in knowing that both Williams and Martinez can fight well inside the 160 limit.
Andre Berto (@147). If Mayweather isn’t happy to face Manny then Andre Berto is Americas next best hope down at Welterweight. The current WBC champion is explosive and fasted handed but relatively unproven and inexperienced. If Manny feels his ideal fighting weight is Welterweight and he wants to go back down to it little stands in the way of this fight being made other than Berto’s demand. Andre has been fighting on HBO recently and has been paid very well for what have been effectively simple defences as fans watch him grow into a fighter. If Berto feels he’s worth more than Arum feels he’s worth this fight will be dead in the water.
It would allow Manny to have a more solid footing as being the best Welterweight in the world having had wins over Cotto and Clottey at the weight previously though with Mayweather still there discussions will always talk about the fight that should have been at 147.
Shane Mosley (@147). Although it’s very obvious that Mosley isn’t the fighter that he once was, his loss to Mayweather was followed by an embarrassing draw with Sergio Mora, he still has never been stopped. Many could argue that Mayweathers best win at Welterweight was against Shane where Floyd looked supreme, but if Manny beat the ever aging Sugar man more convincingly than Floyd by stopping Mosley it would take the shine of Floyds win. Although there is no belt to gain and it would see Arum working with Gold Boy Promotions the mental games with the Mayweather camp would definitely make it worth it from Arum, much in the same way the Floyd’s beat down of Juan Manuel Marquez was to try to “one up” Manny.
Though the working relationship between Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions are sketchy at best Mosley has come out and said that he’s not tied to the company if the fight was offered to him. Although many will argue that Manny will only have beaten a shell of the once former great champion it’d be fair to come back and say that Floyd also only beat and aging and rusty version of Mosley himself.
Although there has been much talk about facing a smaller man, such as those fighting at 140 or even a 3rd bout with Juan Manuel Marquez (whos now the top fighter at 135) I personally can’t see much to be gained in beating fighters like Timothy Bradley or Devon Alexander at this current point in time, theirs little to gain for beating them. Maybe the only fight at 140 you could make an argument for is Amir Khan though he and Pacquiao are gym buddies and spar together under the watchful eye of Freddie Roach making the fight a no go. Others may feel that Julio Cesar Chavez Jr ticks all the right boxes for a Manny opponent-the same promoter, a bigger but limited style and no power behind his shots, though in all honesty Bob Arum knows fine well that Chavez can still be sold to Mexican audiences just on the back of his name, theirs no need to through the kid in with Pacquiao.