The Pacquiao Lottery
By Gav Duthie: From the day Floyd Mayweather Jnr beat Manny Pacquiao there was talk about who he would face in his final fight. We are now in the same situation with Pacquiao himself as he has confirmed his next bout will close the curtain on his career.
Unlike Floyd the fast Filipino southpaw still has something to prove before he retires so we can expect a much better opponent than Andre Berto. In the mix are the likes of Amir Khan, Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, Terence Crawford, Danny Garcia, Marcos Maidana and old rivals Juan Manuel Marquez and Tim Bradley.
Who is the best foe for Manny, what is most likely and who is Pac-man still capable of beating? Here are ten potential opponents.
Its clear Manny Pacquiao already has one foot in his political career. Unlike western fighters who’s money allows them a bigger house and fancy cars Manny puts a lot back into his country. He has already been a politician for years but participates in only around 5% of his obligations. Retirement will help him take this more seriously. Its clear after the Mayweather loss he can’t be considered the best of this era but a big win could cement his legacy as second best. What type of category of fight will help him achieve this?
The Future King?
Terence Crawford 27-0 (19) – Many including myself think Crawford will be a P4P great and multi-weight world champion but if Pacquiao could beat him before this happens the win will look better and better as the years go by. Bob Arum would love it as he promotes both fighters and a Crawford win would be great for him to help create a future pay-per-view star.
Errol Spence Jnr 18-0 (15) – The 2012 Olympian has been cutting through the competition with ease even when he steps up in class. Even Floyd Mayweather thinks Spence will be a great. Harder fight to make and probably not enough market value but it would be fun to watch.
A win over fighters such as these can improve a legacy over time. Its similar to Mayweather’s win over a young Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. The better Canelo gets in the future the better it makes Mayweather look.
Scores to settle?
Juan Manuel Marquez V 56-7-1 (40) – After 4 fights the record stands 2-1-1 in Manny’s favour but given the controversy of the decisions and the nature of Marquez knockout win many will feel he leads the rivalry. Ironically I felt Manny was producing his best boxing of the whole saga in the final fight but he got caught with an amazing shot. Marquez probably isn’t interested but a final win would help Pacquiao if he can get it.
Tim Bradley 3 32-1-1 (12) – There isn’t likely a huge clamor for this fight. Although this is technically a rubber match most fans consider Pacquiao to have won both fights. Tim Bradley does own the WBO title an honor that the Filipino does respect but most would be disappointed if he chose this fight.
If he feels he needs to close the book on these rivalries then he may go down this road but only a solid win over Marquez would see him out on top of their war.
Undefeated World title holder
Keith Thurman 26-0 (22) – Pacquaio has always said he loves beating undefeated fighters. A good way to end on a high would be to add another one to his list and win a world title. As it stands Thurman has a defence scheduled against Shawn Porter with either opponent a legitimate threat to Pacquiao.
Kell Brook 35-0 (24) – At 35-0 Brook would be an interesting proposition. Kell is the naturally much bigger man but if Pacquiao could keep a high work rate he could cause him problems.
It would be a great way for Pacquiao to retire as a world champion and seeing as both are currently undefeated it would add extra spice to the win.
Pound for Pound
Danny Garcia 31-0 (18) – To retire at the top of the pound for pound list he needs to fight someone else in and around the top ten or a big name. Although many have been unconvinced by Garcia’s recent performances he boasts an unbeaten record and wins over Amir Khan, Paulie Malignaggi, Erik Morales, Lucas Matthysse and Lamont Peterson.
Amir Khan 31-3 (19) – Former stablemates, friends and both big names. Arguably the two fastest fighters in the sport so it would be a good win to sign off on. Negotiations have already taken place but with no solution at present.
These wins would likely secure his status as the best fighter of this era after Mayweather.
Shawn Porter 26-1-1 (16) – Showtime Porter always comes to fight. He will put pressure on Pacquaio and allow him to showcase his boxing skills. Porter could also be world champion if he beats Thurman prior to this.
Marcos Maidana 35-5 (31) – Guaranteed entertainment against the Argentine. Maidana’s great performances against Mayweather made him some good money and should have paved the way for big fights. It seems to have dented his confidence though because he has put on lots of weight and not fought in 2015. His trainer Robert Garcia says he will be back next year and this would be a great fight.
Opponents such as these would help us remember Pacquiao as a great entertainer and true warrior. If he wants to shake the bad taste left in the mouths after the Mayweather performance. Pacquiao has left us with some great memories and a fight against either would give us one more.
After Terence Crawford’s win last night over Dierry Jean, I think he will get the nod. Both fighters are promoted by Bob Arum and this fight would represent a passing of the torch from one Arum ‘cash cow’ to another. It could be a good way to go out for Pacquiao or an opportunity to catapult Crawford to a pound for pound and pay per view star overnight. It is easy for Arum to make and he loves creating fights between his own fighters so he gets all the benefits. I would personally like him to fight Danny Garcia. I think it is a very winnable fight for Pacquiao and it would an unbeaten run that should have already stopped with Mauricio Herrera and Lamont Peterson. Whatever you decide to do Manny thank you for a great career.
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