WHO IS NEXT FOR MANNY PACQUIAO?
San Francisco, CA- Manny Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 KOs) looked like he hasn’t missed a step against a game (but limited) Brandon Rios (31-2-1, 23 KOs) in a comeback bout this weekend. In a near complete shutout, Manny was able to beat Rios to the punch, land multiple combos and move laterally to an easy points victory. He appeared unaffected by his knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez and provided some needed inspiration for his fans and country, which is recovering feom a deadly storm. Pacquiao looked so well against Rios that he’s certainty going to have a few options if he continues to fight. Below are the best ones that come to mind.
THE “RUGGED” RUSLAN PROVODNIKOV
WBO 140 lb. guy Ruslan Provodnikov (23-2, 16 KOs) is a great option for Pacquiao and will provide another exciting bout to get Manny buzzing again. Ruslan, unlike several of Pacquiao’s opponents is coming off a solid KO ‘victory’ over Mike Alvarado and has a style that would compliment Manny’s well. This fight may be a bit risky, but not enough that it is unlikely to be considered. Both fighters share the same promotional banner (Top Rank) and this would appear to be one of the easiest fights to be made out of a short list of viable opponents. But Ruslan was spotted in Manny’s dressing room prior to him entering the ring against Rios, so it remains to be seen if these guys will become buddies or actually challenge each other in the near future.
THE “PERSISTENT” TIM BRADLEY
A rematch against Timothy Bradley (31-0, 12 KOs) is the most sensible fight for Pacquiao as he can patch up some unfinished business against an opponent who many belive was gifted a victory against him when they fought last year in Las Vegas. Bradley however, will not provide the same excitement as Provodnikov and will also prove to be risky, possibly more than Provodnikov given Bradley’s need to prove his mettle against Manny. Bradley will also likely display elusiveness which won’t suit the Pac-Man well and could certainly halt his next run before it ever gets rolling.
THE “HIGH STAKES” JUAN MANUEL MARQUEZ
Another shot at Juan Manuel Marquez (55-7-1, 40 KOs) is likely the fight than Manny and his fans want most, and it would likely be the most lucrative out the three to potentially make with his Top Rank affiliates. The only problem is the fact that Marquez may not want anything to do with Manny and has seemingly shifted his focus to Timothy Bradley, who recently defeated him on points. Marquez has gone as far to say that if he doesn’t get Bradley, he’ll likely retire. If this is true, Manny will have to offer Marquez a considerable amount of money and possibly have to fight in Mexico to make this bout happen. It is also not the easiest fight to win, given their history and could certainly go the wrong way for Manny if he isn’t 100 percent on fight night.
THE “ULTIMATE FOIL” FLOYD MAYWEATHER
A match with Floyd Mayweather (45-0, 26 KOs) is certainly the biggest and most exciting bout that Manny can consider but it’s also the most difficult and least likely to happen. The contrasting networks (Showtime & HBO) and the competing promotional banners (Golden Boy and Top Rank) seem to make this bout a shot in the dark, at best. Manny will also have to look at this as a cash out bout because it will be difficult to defeat Floyd and Pac will certainly be a considerable underdog. Although it’s a fans dream, it’s not something to count on and the money is the sole motivation for Manny to take this fight.
A “WIN-WIN” EITHER WAY
With all of the aforementioned options above, Pacquiao has some solid choices to make and they all make sense in their own way. We will have to wait and see how this thing plays out but if either one of the guys mentioned make it into the ring with Manny in the next 6 to 12 months, there will certainly be interest and a solid to great night of boxing to follow.