source: Geoffrey Ciani | The Mushroom Mag
With the official announcement that Floyd Mayweather Junior (42-0, 26 KOs) will be facing Miguel Cotto (37-2, 30 KO) on May 5, curious fans will now turn their attention to Manny Pacquiao (54-3-2, 28 KOs). Who will Pacquiao’s next opponent be? With Mayweather and Cotto now officially eliminated from consideration there are basically three names left: Timothy Bradley (28-0, 12 KOs), Lamont Peterson (30-1-1, 15 KOs), and Juan Manuel Marquez (53-6-1, 39 KOs). Although many from Pacquiao’s camp felt as if Cotto would have been an ideal opponent for Pac-Man at this time, that was strictly looking at things from a financial perspective. Fans don’t care about boxing finances, though. They care about seeing good fights where the outcome is difficult to determine beforehand. As such, Pacquiao’s remaining three options all represent more interesting challenges for Pacquiao than Cotto.
There was simply no reason for a Pacquiao-Cotto rematch! When they did fight Pacquiao defeated him decisively. He proved he was beyond a doubt the better man that night. Rematches are typically reserved for extremely close fights, contests that end with a controversial decision, or both. None of that was applicable here, and even though Cotto was competitive through the first four rounds he was also dropped twice during that duration. From that point forward, Cotto more or less went into full retreat mode. He was reluctant to fight. Now some fans might claim losing two extra pounds to make the 145 catch contractual catch weight drained Cotto and weakened him. While there might be some truth in this, the average fan that purchased the fight will likely not care. They will simply remember Pacquiao’s dominance and nothing more. Cotto’s unwillingness to fight during the final eight rounds made this an unappealing contest for those who remember the first fight.
Timothy Bradly is an undefeated elite level boxer, and the fact that he is undefeated makes a potential fight with Pacquiao inherently intriguing. After all, there is no blueprint to beat Bradley. Timothy is an athletic fighter who usually applies pressure to systematically break down his opponent, but he can also box well. He is a tremendous body puncher who has exhibited great mental strength inside the squared circle. Some detractors might claim that Bradley is too small for Pacquiao, but that is certainly not the case. Bradley has already previously tested the waters at 147 and made a strong account of himself, and Pacquiao is probably best suited for junior welterweight anyway. That makes Bradley an ideal opponent for Pacquiao at this juncture, and with Bradley’s aggressive style a Pacquiao-Bradley matchup is sure to bring fireworks!
Lamont Peterson is a red hot commodity coming off his upset victory against Amir Khan. That was a fight where Peterson was down early, he was having trouble with Khan’s style, and things were looking especially good through a third of the fight. Then Peterson showed the fortitude and heart of a champion as he persevered and battled his way back to beat Khan. With Khan and Pacquiao both being trained by world class trainer Freddie Roach, this potential fight already has a built-in storyline that would be sure to generate a strong buzz amongst fans.
Then of course we have Juan Manuel Marquez. Three times him and Pacquiao have fought, and three times they have engaged in competitive battles where choosing a winner is not always easy. These guys just have that certain clash of styles that is always bound to make for a close fight. A lot of fans and members of the media did not believe Pacquiao did enough to deserve the victory last time around with Marquez. That in itself makes Marquez a worthy foe for Pac-Man. After all there is unfinished business here. This is a totally different situation than when Pacquiao scored a one-sided late round stoppage against Miguel Cotto. It is also worth noting that if the dream fight between Mayweather and Pacquiao does have a possibility of perhaps happening later this year in November, a guy like Marquez would make the best preparation for Pacquiao to face a guy like Mayweather.
Personally I feel that Bradley is the best option for Pacquiao right now. A fight between Pacquiao and Bradley would undoubtedly bring out the best in two guys who are both superb athletes with incredible strength of mind and will. They are both volume punchers who focus far more on offense than they do defense. This is a recipe for excitement and drama for fight fans! A battle between Pacquiao and Bradley might not outdo Mayweather and Cotto at the box office, but it should easily surpass it in terms of raw entertainment value.
At the end of the day boxing fans all over the world are disappointed that Pacquiao and Mayweather will not finally square off in the first half of 2012. It is what it is. Mayweather is fighting Cotto on May 5, and Pacquiao has three guys to choose from. Given the current state of affairs, it is better for Pacquiao to take on one of those guys than it would have been for him to have a rematch with Cotto. Likewise, it makes sense that Cotto is fighting Floyd instead of Pacquiao. We already know what happened when Pacquiao and Cotto squared off, so it will be interesting to see how things play out when Mayweather faces Cotto. Styles make fights.