Manny Pacquiao: The Pros and Cons of His 6 Likely Opponents
Now that Manny Pacquiao has put the likely last nail in the coffin of Shane Mosley's career it is time to look to who his next likely opponent will be. Pacquiao's promoter Bob Arum has mentioned Zab Judah and Timothy Bradley as potential opponents and the world still yearns for a matchup against Floyd Mayweather Jr. There are numerous other boxers that would like a crack at the top fighter (and cash cow) in the sport. Each of these fights carries numerous pros and cons.
Following is a list of six potential opponents and the pros and cons of each.
6) Sergio Martinez
Pros: A boxing match between Manny Pacquiao and Sergio Martinez would pit two of the most exciting and most talented fighters against one another. The styles of the two fighters would almost inevitably lead to an entertaining bout. Further, there would be no difficulty in selling the historical meaning of the fight. Assuming it took place within the middleweight limit, would give Pacquiao an opportunity to win a title in a ninth weight division.
Cons: Martinez is too big. While fans and critics want to see all-time greats like Pacquiao push their abilities to the limit, this seems too much to ask. Pacquiao seems uncomfortable weighing over 150 pounds would face a significant disadvantage against a true middleweight. The natural solution would be a catch weight fight but as catch weights have increasingly disappointed fans and would reduce the historical significance.
5) Zab Judah
Pros: Zab Judah has always brought entertainment value to his fights and still is a recognizable boxing name. A Judah vs. Pacquiao fight would pit two incredibly fast, hard-hitting boxers against one another. Given Judah’s volatile personality it is unlikely that he would resort to the survival tactics that both Joshua Clottey and Shane Mosley have recently used against Pacquiao. Fans would almost be guaranteed an exciting fight that would end in a knockout.
Cons: It is doubtful the fight would be competitive in any sense. Judah has shown an inability to win at the truly highest level as evidenced by his fights against Miguel Cotto, Floyd Mayweather Jr, and Kostya Tszyu. Further, Judah has shown a weak enough chin and balance to have been knocked down by light punching fighters such as Cory Spinks. This fight would be a significant mismatch and would carry little to no historical meaning. Pacquiao will likely only fight a few more times; hopefully it is not wasted against the likes of Judah.
4) Timothy Bradley
Pros: Timothy Bradley is a boxer with a wealth of skill, in his prime, and is unbeaten. He would bring guile and skill to a fight against Pacquiao. Bradley has long been a top light welterweight and has beaten a wide variety of top contenders. In short Bradley is a legitimate top fighter with a will to win and who has age on his side.
Cons: It is difficult to find an area in which Bradley would hold any distinctive advantage. This would also be the rare fight where Pacquiao would be fighting a smaller man. Further, Bradley does not particularly have anything of significance that Pacquiao wants: a new title, crossover appeal, or a strong backstory. The matchup is not a bad one as Bradley is a legitimate challenger but it would create little excitement outside of with hardcore boxing fans.
3) Victory Ortiz
Pros: Of all the potential matchups for Pacquiao a fight against Victor Ortiz would likely be the most exciting to watch. Ortiz is an all out aggressive fighter with true knockout power and a high punch output. Ortiz’s limited defensive abilities and willingness to exchange would ensure entertainment. Lastly, since Ortiz is coming off of a career performance against Andre Berto in a fight of the year candidate, there would be a lot of public excitement for a matchup against Pacquiao.
Cons: There are two significant cons to this fight. First, Ortiz is just entering his prime and probably needs a fight or two to be prepared for a fighter such as Pacquiao and an event of that magnitude. Second, Ortiz’s promoter Golden Boy has a long and well publicized feud with Pacquiao promoter Top Rank. The promoters’ inability to work with one another make the chances of this fight happening extremely unlikely.
2) Juan Manuel Marquez
Pros: Juan Manuel Marquez has more history with Pacquiao than anyone else on this list. Over two extremely close fights Marquez has proven himself to be the one man to consistently give Pacquiao fits in a boxing ring. Many fans still argue over the outcome of their fights and a third one could provide the conclusive outcome that their first two lacked. It also helps that the two previous fights were grossly entertaining matches.
Cons: Pacquiao may have outgrown Marquez. Marquez has not shown the ability as of late to effectively move up in weight. In Marquez’s welterweight fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr., he appeared slow and to have lost his punching power. Pacquiao on the other hand has shown his ability to effectively move up in weight while maintaining his speed and strength. Pacquiao has repeatedly knocked Marquez down at lighter weight classes and it seems likely he would do so more effectively now.
1) Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Pros: The pros are obvious and have been explained by numerous fans and writers. The fight seemingly has everything. The two best of an era, both near their primes, heated verbal exchanges, contrasting styles both in and out of the boxing ring, and a long build-up. The fight would break sales records and the publicity tour would be like no other.
Cons: Forget for a moment everything regarding the reasons the fight should happen and why it has not yet happened. The fight itself may be horrible to watch. If Mayweather is able to beat Pacquiao, history has shown that he will do so with as little risk as possible. He was, after all, unwilling to press himself against the less dangerous Oscar de la Hoya and Juan Manuel Marquez. If Mayweather finds himself repeatedly hurt by Pacquiao he will undoubtedly try new strategies. However, it is unlikely any strategy will include taking a final stand and Mayweather could take a page from Joshua Clottey and Shane Mosley’s strategy of just trying to survive.
Manny Pacquiao will be retiring sooner than later. His age and political aspirations will see to that. If fans only have a short time to appreciate his in ring skills then let them be tested against the best in the world.