The boxing world wants Filipino boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 KOs) and undefeated Floyd Mayweather (42-0, 26 KOs) to finally settle an old score inside the ring, provided Pacquiao gets past Juan Manuel Marquez in November 12th (which is almost guaranteed, by the way). That said, there are still no indications whether that dream match up will come to fruition.
Mayweather initially announced that Pacquiao was next on his list after he is done with Victor Ortiz, but backtracked on his earlier statements and claimed he just said that to please the fans. Although Pacquiao agreed to the random drug testing demands laid out by Mayweather, the Filipino boxing icon declared he is content with his prizefighting career even if he does not have Mayweather on his resume.
If, God and the powers that be in boxing forbid, Pacquiao-Mayweather will never materialize, who among the active pugilists today can be a viable replacement for the 8-division world champion if he gets the job done and takes Marquez out of the equation?
Timothy Bradley (27-0, 11 KOs), former WBC/WBO light welterweight championBradley has issued Pacquiao a challenge earlier this year, but the call to face the world’s best boxer has fallen to deaf ears. But with the recent turn of events, Bradley might just have that chance if Mayweather still refuses to fight Pacquiao if and when the latter wins over Juan Manuel Marquez in November.
A significant portion of boxing insiders has longed for Pacquiao to face younger guns on or near his division, and Bradley certainly fits that category. Young and undefeated, it would be a refreshing change to see how Pacquiao can deal with someone who possesses youthful enthusiasm and drive.
Andre Berto (28-1, 22 KOs), IBF welterweight champion
Berto seriously needs a whole lot of rebuilding after losing to Victor Ortiz and his recent trumping over then IBF welterweight titlist Jan Zaveck is not enough to propel him back to the top echelons of the welterweight division. Berto lost a tremendous portion of his popularity after the Ortiz fight and needs to prove his mettle against proven contenders before he can be considered as an elite.
But looking at the whole welterweight landscape, who else is there?
Sergio Martinez (47-2-2, 26 KOs), WBC middleweight champion
The reigning WBC middleweight champion has expressed desire to fight both Pacquiao and Mayweather for some time now. But in a recent statement made by Maravilla himself, he is willing to go down in weight just to have a crack at Pacquiao. Martinez understands that a fight with Pacquiao will probably earn him his biggest paycheck, but will put him at a serious risk.
Martinez walking weight is around 175 to 180 pounds. As a middleweight fighter, he needs to shed as much as 20 pounds to get to 160, the division’s limit. Going down to 150 will not only take time for Martinez, but will also drain him so much that he will be a dehydrated fighter by the time he meets Pacquiao inside the ring. This fight presents a no-win situation for Pacquiao – winning against a sapped-out Martinez will only reinforce the notion of him being the “king of catchweights” and losing will definitely lower his stock value.
Mayweather, on the other hand, presents to be a more realistic match up if pitted against Martinez. Mayweather once fought as a light middleweight, registering at 154 pounds when faced Oscar dela Hoya back in 2007. While going down to 150 may be impossible for Martinez, 154 is doable yet potentially risky. But will Mayweather agree to sign up for a fight with Martinez at 154? Highly unlikely. Martinez is a very dangerous puncher who possesses significant hand speed, underrated skill set, and an awkward style that can bother even the most sound pugilist.