A closer look at the top 3 choices for Manny Pacquiao's last hurrah
Taking a closer look at Manny Pacquiao’s top 3 options for his last fight
By: Hector Franco
Tonight on TruTv on a card featuring the return of Puerto Rico’s next star Felix Verdejo and former world champion Nonito Donaire, Manny Pacquiao will announce his opponent for his supposed last fight of his career. It seems that Pacquiao has narrowed his search to three opponents however, it’s not unlikely that another opponent may emerge.
The most likely choice for Pacquiao that has been presented. Bradley is coming off a good win over Brandon Rios where he looked sensational under new trainer Teddy Atlas. The matchup doesn’t have much intrigue behind it, as it would not be a true trilogy in a sense. Most observers in all facets of boxing had Pacquaio winning their first bout and their second bout also went Pacquiao’s way. The two bouts weren’t bad fights, but they weren’t great fights that left the public clamoring for more. Pacquiao facing Bradley would give him a chance to win another world title against a top welterweight, however, for most of the public it’s an unnecessary rubber match. The reality being that besides putting money into Pacquiao’s wallet the bout only does Bradley any favors.
This option for Pacquiao may be better harder to make due to the political divide in the sport between promoters and networks. Khan would be a fresh matchup however between two former colleagues who once trained under the same gym and trainer. Both sides have different stories of how their sparring sessions went which leads to an intriguing storyline coming into the match. Pacquiao being the teacher in the relationship and Khan the student. It is unlikely that the bout takes place, but it could be an exciting bout that brings a lot of interest internationally.
Top Ranks next big star. Last years fighter of the year has had a slow 2015 to say the least. Crawford in a fight with Pacquiao will have all the advantages. He is the younger and hungrier fighter that is still in his physical prime. Crawford is a fighter that may have given Pacquiao trouble at any point in his career, but a Pacquiao who is coming off an almost year long layoff after an unmotivated performance against Floyd Mayweather, may be ripe for the picking for Crawford. The bout would be a passing of the torch for Top Rank and allow Pacquiao to pass it to the next Top Rank star. Pacquiao could be the underdog if he chooses Crawford, but if he does choose Crawford he should be given credit for choosing such a high caliber opponent for his swan song.
Waiting in the wings is an opponent that was brought up in the past to face Pacquiao and could very well emerge as a sleeper contender.
A bout between Pacquiao and Provodnikov was first proposed in 2014 before Provodnikov lost to Chris Algieri. The main issue with this bout at that time was that Freddie Roach trained both men. Now that Provodnikov has moved on and gotten with Joel Diaz as his new trainer, the bout could very well be possible. Provodnikov would allow Pacquiao to have an exciting fight against a dangerous opponent who has a style that suits him. Coming off an almost year long layoff, Pacquiao may want an opponent that will be coming forward constantly. Provodnikov with his power is still no easy night out for any fighter, so Pacquiao would have to be prepared for a night of action and punishment. Provodnikov at the moment would seem to be the easiest opponent of the bunch mentioned, however he may be able to give fans the most exciting fight. After May 2nd, maybe just an exciting night of boxing is all that is needed to send Pacquiao and his career off into the sunset.