Who Should Manny Pacquiao Fight Next?

By Aaron Reynolds

On Monday, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum embarked on the Philippines where he met with Manny Pacquiao to discuss the superstar's future after the well publicized June 9 split decision with Timothy Bradley Jr.

For those hoping for a miracle, Arum's shortlist of candidates to face Pacquiao next does NOT include Floyd Mayweather Jr.; however unlike previous attempts Arum actually appears interested in getting the deal done, but it's not going to happen November 10 – the date of Pacquiao's next fight. Why? Arum insists that Mayweather (a free man after just completing a two-month stint in jail for domestic abuse) will not be able and/or willing to make the quick turnaround for a November date. He is, however, convinced that a deal could be reached for a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight as early as next spring.

So who are the candidates for Manny Pacquiao's November fight, and a potential warm-up for the fabled Pacquaio-Mayweather fight?

  • Welterweight titlist Timothy Bradley Jr.
  • Junior Welterweight titlist Juan Manual Marquez
  • Former three-division titlist Miguel Cotto

The candidates come direct from the mouth of Bob Arum, and its little wonder that Bradley would be on the list of what would make an enticing rematch following the tremendously controversial fight this summer.

Meanwhile, Juan Manuel Marquez and Miguel Cotto remain dark horses, both of which have an opportunity to provide an exciting draw.

In fact, Marquez has already faced Pacquiao three times and they all ended in disputed decisions: Pacquiao won twice and their first bout resulted in a draw. Could there be magic with another fight? Possibly, though facing off for a forth time does feature the chance of monotony.

Who Should Manny Pacquiao Fight Next?
Jun. 9, 2012; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Manny Pacquiao (right) punches Timothy Bradley Jr during a welterweight championship bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Photo Courtesy By Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE.

Cotto, who was knocked out in the 12th round of an action packed welterweight title bout back in November 2009 by Pacquaio, is also a legitimate option.

It appears the clear choice for Pacquiao's next fight is a herald rematch with Timothy Bradley, right? Not according to Arum, who insists that the Hispanic population would rather see Pacquiao-Marquez IV, and TV numbers do in fact back that up (Pacquiao-Marquez III did about 400k more than Pacquiao-Bradley).

Regardless, the final decision might ultimately come down to Pacquiao. He does have the right to exercise a contractual option for an immediately rematch with Bradley, whom Arum also promotes.

In essence, the rematch with Bradley probably makes the most sense. Your general sports fan, now immersed in the controversial decision, is likely to tune in more than any other fight scenario to watch Pacquaio attempt to re-patch his "legacy". Meanwhile, it may be a good thing for Pacquaio to go back out and face Bradley. A dominating performance could elevate him back on top, and set the stage for what may be the final opportunity for a Pacquaio/Mayweather fight next spring.

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