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Pacquiao vs. Canelo not likely

Canelo Alvarez Manny Pacquiao

By Dan Ambrose: Manny Pacquiao didn’t come out and say that he doesn’t want to fight Mexican superstar Saul “Canelo” Alvarez last Saturday night, but it appears that he’s not too excited about the prospects of making that fight. Pacquiao won the WBO welterweight title last Saturday in beating champion Jessie Vargas (27-2, 10 KOs) by a 12 round unanimous decision in his comeback fight on Top Rank pay-per-view at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Pacquiao, 37, says that he feels that the junior middleweight division might be too big for him. Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach would like for him to fight WBO 154lb champion Canelo Alvarez, because he thinks that’s a fight that would be winnable for him.

With Pacquiao now holding the WBO 147lb title, he could get a No.1 ranking to become Canelo’s mandatory if he wanted to by asking the World Boxing Organization to give him the spot. It’s the same thing that Canelo could wind up doing by asking the WBO to make him the mandatory challenger for WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders. With Canelo the WBO 154lb champion, the WBO could grant his request if they wanted to.

“I do not know (if that could be possible),” Pacquiao said to ESPN Deportes about him moving up to the junior middleweight division where he previously held the WBC belt. “The 154-pound division looks like something that is too big for me. I cannot say for sure right now (if that is possible).”

Pacquiao’s options for a big money fight at 147 or 140 are extremely narrow. Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum mentioned wanting to match him against one of the following fighters for his next fight: Terence Crawford, Vaysl Lomachenko, Danny Garcia or Keith Thurman. Garcia and Thurman will not be available to fight Pacquiao in early 2017, because they’re facing each other in a unification match. That leaves only Crawford and Lomachenko as the likely options for Pacquiao. Those are not big money fights for Pacquiao. Those are fights that would interest hardcore boxing fans only. Unfortunately for Pacquiao, there aren’t enough hardcore fans to make his next fight a success if he chooses Crawford or Lomachenko.

Arum might be able to convince Pacquiao to fight Crawford or Lomachenko next, but he’s not going to make big money fighting those guys. The only guys that Pacquiao can make big money fighting are Floyd Mayweather Jr., Canelo or possibly Gennady “GGG” Golovkin. Abel Sanchez, the trainer for Golovkin, said recently that Golovkin would likely come down to 154 for a fight against Pacquiao. It would definitely be a bigger fight for Pacquiao to face Golovkin than it would if he fought Crawford or Lomachenko.

I’m not sure if it would make Arum happy if Pacquiao didn’t fight Crawford or Lomachenko next, because those fighters would become a little more popular if they were to fight Pacquiao. You can argue that their value to Arum would be increased by them having fought Pacquiao, especially if they beat him. Crawford and Lomachenko might make more money for Top Rank in their future fights if they fight Pacquiao before he retires.

If Pacquiao doesn’t fight them, then they won’t get his Midas touch to turn them into bigger names. But for Pacquiao, he’s better off fighting bigger names like Canelo or Golovkin if he wants to make the most money possible for his career. Those fights would be risky, but to make the most in boxing, you have to take the bigger risks. You don’t get the big paydays for the low risk fights or for the fights against the guys without a huge fan base. Lomachenko and Crawford would be risky fights for Pacquiao, but they wouldn’t likely bring a lot of money like a Canelo or Golovkin fight, because neither of those guys has the popularity of those two.

“The welterweight division is not actually my real division,” said Pacquiao to ESPN Deportes. “I could even fight in the division of 135 pounds, which is where I come from. But after that fight against (David) Diaz, I climbed to face Oscar De La Hoya and since then I’ve kept between 140 and 147. In order to make this weight, 147 pounds, I still have to eat a lot. That’s complicated, because it forces me to eat several times during the day to make the weight. If I eat regular, three times a day, I’m like 140 or 141 pounds,” said Pacquiao.

It’s up to Pacquiao if he wants to get the biggest payday possible for his next fight by taking on Canelo or Golovkin or if he wants to fight one of his promoter Bob Arum’s fighters in Crawford or Lomachenko. For the risk involved, I think Pacquiao would be better off taking on Canelo or Golovkin. If Pacquiao is going to take a risk, then he should look to get the most money possible rather than winding up as a stepping stone for Crawford or Lomachenko to become more valuable.

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