Manny Pacquiao’s, 52-3-2 (38), bruising win over Antonio Margarito, 38-7 (27), has the boxing world wondering who will be the next foe to step in front of boxing’s biggest star. Many are still calling for the showdown between him and Floyd Mayweather Jr, 41-0 (25), a showdown that may never happen as Mayweather faces a court date for 3 felonies and 4 misdemeanor charges in Nevada. If convicted, he faces up to 34 years in prison. This combined with an inability to get both sides to agree on the proper blood testing procedures, really makes the match up a faint possibility. That said, money talks (no pun intended as “Money” Mayweather never shuts up, even getting himself into all kinds of trouble with his blabbering) and that could trump any problems needed to work out the bout. Even without that fight in the future for Pacquiao, he has several viable fights he could take. The following is a list of fights available for Pac-man’s next fight:
Sergio Martinez: Martinez, 46-2-2 (25), is fresh off a devastating knockout victory over Paul Williams on 11/20. Martinez was the first person to crack the iron chin of Williams and provides any opponent a stiff test. With a combination of power and great speed, Martinez may confuse Pacquiao for the first half of the bout, possibly even building up a lead. Pacquiao would have to be very careful when wading in to throw combinations on Martinez as it could cost him. On the downside, this fight would have to be done at a catch weight and trying to get to an agreement on the weight may be a hurdle. Martinez will also take a lot of punches in order to land, which would play into Pacquiao’s advantage.
Juan Manuel Marquez: Marquez, 52-5-1 (38), is a good fighter and continues to impress as show by his TKO victory over Michael Katsidis this past weekend. Marquez and Pacquiao have a past together as they have met twice and both fights were extremely close. Even I, a huge Manny fan, thought that Marquez won the first fight. The two first met in 2004 and fought to a controversial draw. Most ringsiders thought that Marquez had done enough to win the fight. In the 2008 rematch, another close and controversial decision gave Pacquiao a split decision victory. Both fighters are still in the same great shape they were in the last time they met, so why not make this match? Why? Manny Pacquiao is considered the best in the business right now, and is looking to continue to improve his legacy. A fight with Marquez is risky, so Pacquiao and his handlers may not want to risk taking a loss. In my opinion, Pacquiao defeats Marquez, but it takes a lot out of him to win the fight. Also a concern is the fact that Pacquiao is a huge TV draw in the US for people who have just a marginal interest in boxing. Marquez’s name outside of the true boxing world may not be enough to bring in the huge pay per view numbers.
Andre Berto: I like Berto, 27-0 (21), but for an undefeated fighter with a major belt, he does not get the respect he deserves in the boxing world. This past weekend Berto took on Freddie Hernandez in a lose/lose situation. When Berto KO’d Hernandez at the 2:07 mark of round one, people were saying that he took on an overmatched fighter. Yet if he had gone the distance, people would have said that Berto took a weak opponent the distance and underachieved. Had he lost, it would have been thought that he may be done as a fighter. All of that being said a Berto-Pacquiao show down does not excite me at all. I am not sure, even with 27 fights under his belt, that Berto is ready to step up to a challenge like Manny Pacquiao. Sure, Berto is a good defensive fighter and packs a big punch, but the speed of Pacquiao will overwhelm Berto and make for a long, boring fight.
Shane Mosley: Shane Mosley, 46-6-1(39), was a great fighter, notice I said was? Several years ago, a Pacquiao-Mosley fight would have piqued my interest, but now? Nah. Mosley is 3-2-1 since 2007, with losses to Miguel Cotto and Floyd Mayweather Jr and wins over Louis Collazo, Ricardo Mayorga and a very distracted Antonio Margarito. In his most recent fight, he managed a draw against Sergio Mora. The Mayweather loss was particularly important because the Pacquiao fight will go the same way as this fight. Mosley was in control early, but faded badly and lost a UD to Floyd Jr. The problem is that this looks like the Mosley-Pacquiao match-up is the one that has the biggest chance of happening. Talks are already underway to have these two meet in early 2011. The Mosley name will draw good pay per view numbers, but the bout itself may disappoint the viewers.
All in all, the fight that I want to see made is Martinez vs. Pacquiao. I think it makes for a great fight and with a win, Pacquiao could continue his march onto the Hall of Fame. Martinez with a win would make himself instantly a pay per view main event fighter.
'Pacman' Painting by Tyler Streeter