Manny Pacquiao's lasting image as a boxer will be his limp body near the ropes while Juan Manuel Marquez celebrates in the corner. That is, unless he decides to avoid retirement and come back for a new series of fights.
Marquez stopped Pacquiao by way of knockout in the waning seconds of the sixth round on Saturday night, completing the fourth bout between the two in a fashion we hadn't seen over the course of this rivalry.
Now, with Pacquiao expected to make a full recovery after being hospitalized on Saturday night, it's time to start looking ahead to his next move.
Pacman has his political career to worry about, an aging body and now a second straight loss for the first time in his career. Still, it's hard to see a prideful guy like the southpaw from the Philippines walk away after being embarrassed like that in arguably the biggest fight of his career.
Keeping that in mind, here's a look at four fighters that have Pacquiao on their minds, even if the sting of his first KO makes it a less attractive option.
This fight was on the docket for April 20, assuming that Pacquiao took care of business against Marquez. That didn't happen, but Rios still makes for a challenging fight and a lucrative opponent for both fighters and promoter Bob Arum.
Steve Zemach reported the proposed fight on Twitter just a few days before the stunning upset went down:
Assuming Pacquiao defeats Marquez, Rios says Top Rank is holding April 20th for Rios to move up to 147 and take on Manny. #Boxing— Steve Zemach (@SteveZemach) December 7, 2012
The problem here is that Rios was supposed to take on the the winner of this fight. It will be interesting to see if Marquez wants to fight Rios, especially after all the press for Pacquiao.
Still, Pacquiao is on the short list for a fight with Rios, and Rios' name will float around while Pacquiao regroups from the Marquez loss.
The rematch between the two fighters wouldn't happen until Bradley either loses or faces Floyd Mayweather.
However, it's clear that fans of Pacquiao and the sport are unsatisfied with the split-decision victory Bradley earned in June, especially after many though Pacman clearly took care of Bradley enough in the early and middle rounds to win that fight.
No matter what Bradley does next (he hasn't fought since defeating Pacquiao), he will have the Pacquiao win hanging over his head as a dark mark.
Should Bradley lose to Mayweather or have a long leave of absence from the sport, his logical candidate for a new fight would be Pacman.The bout would help Manny, too, since he needs to clear that dark mark from his ledger.
Boxing purists everywhere died a little bit after watching Pacquiao hit the canvas. Is it possible the window is officially gone after Pacquiao suffered his fifth career loss on Saturday?
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!