Manny Pacquiao: Low-Risk Opponents to Put Pac-Man Back on Winning Trail

Brian Mazique@@UniqueMaziqueCorrespondent IIIJanuary 3, 2013

LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 09:  (R-L) Manny Pacquiao lands a right to the head of Timothy Bradley during their WBO welterweight title fight at MGM Grand Garden Arena on June 9, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Getty Images)
Jeff Bottari/Getty Images

I strongly believe Manny Pacquiao should retire, but he has had made it clear that he still wants to fight, per USA Today. That said, he'd be wise to at least take a fight or two against low-risk opponents to get himself back on track.

If he shows ill-affects from the KO loss to Juan Manuel Marquez, or if there is an obvious decline in skill, he can assess the practicality of challenging the elite talent in his weight range.

Obviously, it doesn't do Pacquiao much good to fight bums, but there are fighters with solid records and reputations that Pac-Man matches up favorably against.


Devon Alexander

Provided Alexander gets by Kell Brook on February 23, he's the type of opponent that Pacquiao should target. Alexander is quick and has very good hand speed and athletic ability, but he isn't a huge puncher.

He only has 13 KOs in his 25 professional fights.

There are also questions about his mental toughness. He seemed to quit in his fight against Timothy Bradley in 2011. It seems he's been struggling a bit with confidence and his attempts to gain public approval since then.

Both of the aforementioned weaknesses are things that Pacquiao can exploit.

His lack of punching power will likely lead to Pacquiao losing respect for Alexander's attack, thus making Pacquiao more aggressive. In search of redemption, Pacquiao would likely stop him in the middle rounds.

Alexander has speed, but against Marquez in December, Pacquiao showed he still has quickness as well. Even if Pacquiao were to suffer another loss, it is unlikely it would be as physically punishing as his loss to Marquez.

Still, Alexander is 24-1 and currently considered a top-six welterweight by BoxRecTransnational Boxing and ESPN.

This is a low-risk fight that would re-create some buzz around Pacquiao. 

Alexander is promoted by Golden Boy (ESPN), so that obviously creates an issue because Pacquiao is tied to Top Rank and Bob Arum. The Golden Boy-Top Rank feud throws a monkey wrench in several intriguing fights (Sports Illustrated).

However, beyond that unfortunate dynamic in the sport, this fight makes sense for Pacquiao.


Timothy Bradley

Though I scored the first Bradley-Pacquiao fight for Bradley, there is no doubt in my mind Pacquiao can beat Desert Storm.

He fell short in their June 2012 bout because he coasted in the latter rounds of the fight. If he had shown more killer instinct, he could have stopped Bradley—or at least blown him away on the scorecards.

Bradley is a skilled counter-puncher, and he's tough as nails, but he doesn't have the speed or power to contend with a motivated and vicious Pacquiao. That much was evident through the first four or five rounds in the first fight.

Be that as it may, Bradley still owns a victory over Pacquiao, and he's 29-0.

Defeating him would right a "wrong" in most fans' eyes, and it would also set Pacquiao on a path of redemption. He may never get another shot at Marquez, but stopping Bradley would at least give him a measure of revenge for one of his losses in 2012.


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