With the incarceration of Floyd Mayweather, Jr., the FIGHT OF THE CENTURY is now temporarily off, at least until November 2012 perhaps.
So who’s next for Manny Pacquiao in May next year?
Reports have it Top Rank president and Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum is eyeing four possible opponents in Juan Manuel Marquez, WBO light welterweight champ Timothy Bradley, WBA/IBF light welterweight king Lamont Peterson, and WBA light middleweight champion Miguel Cotto.
Pacquiao critics say that Manny was fighting washed up fighters, so the names of Bradley and Peterson, both are young and aggressive fighters, should arouse some interest.
Bradley is undefeated in 29 fights, with 12 KO’s and one no contest while Peterson is fresh from dethroning Pacquiao’s sparring partner Amir Khan, whom many believed is Manny’s heir apparent.
But their (Bradley’s and Peterson’s) size and lack of marketability could be a determining factor why a fight with the pound-for-pound king might not be possible. Although Bradley and Peterson are all Americans, they have not yet endeared themselves to the American audience.
A fourth fight with Marquez could be possible but just like the first three, the result (if a fourth fight is ever made) will still be the same: full of controversy. We will be seeing a familiar sight: Marquez, a very technical fighter, content with just counter-punching and running, and Pacquiao always the one initiating the attack.
For fans who want to see some action and excitement in the ring, Pacquiao-Marquez IV may not be a very good idea.
Enter Miguel Cotto into the picture. A fighter with sound technical skills and willing to go toe-to-toe.
Although Pacquiao clearly outboxed and battered Cotto in their fight in November 2009, many believed it was largely due to Cotto having to drain himself to make the catchweight of 145 pounds.
So Cotto moved up in weight (154 lbs.) and has since stopped his last three opponents (Yuri Foreman, Ricardo Mayorga, and Antonio Margarito). Because of that, he has kept his status as a pay-per-view attraction.
Pacquiao’s so-so performance against Marquez last November has made many boxing observers wonder if Pacquiao may have slowed down or is already past his prime.
Without sacrificing marketability and the level of competitiveness at the same time raising the bar of excitement and redeeming himself, Pacquiao must fight Cotto without any catchweight.
Cotto’s last fight against Margarito was very impressive. He showed great movement. He jabbed very well in keeping Margarito at bay. Most of all, in that fight we saw that Cotto still packs some power.
Pacquiao gave up 17 pounds when he once fought Margarito so fighting Cotto at his best and most comfortable weight should not pose any problem for the Pinoy boxing idol.
It’s still about speed anyway so Pacquiao realizes that Cotto needs to weigh lighter (than the full 154 lb limit) to be able to compete with him speed-by-speed.