Where does Manny Pacquiao go from here?
By Hector Franco
The continued saga of who will be WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao’s (59-6-2, 38 KOs) next opponent is still ongoing. Earlier this week Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum stated that the fight with Amir Khan (31-4, 19 KOs) is not likely to happen. Arum spoke with the Lance Pugmire of the L.A. Times regarding the bout.
The plan according to Arum will now be to fight in July against an unknown opponent. This could bring back up negotiations for a fight that was announced at the beginning of the year with Australia’s Jeff Horn (16-0, 11 KOs). Horn is ranked as the number two welterweight by the WBO and would likely still be available to make a fight.
This year Pacquiao and Arum have been on different paths. If the Khan fight can’t happen and Pacquiao does not want to face Horn, there are still other options available for the Filipino. These options are the same that were available in 2016.
Adrien Broner (33-2, 24 KOs)
In 2016, a fight between Pacquiao and Broner could have generated more money than Pacquiao’s fights with Timothy Bradley and Jessie Vargas. If Pacquiao, wants to fight in the United States this year there aren’t many fights that could generate more interest than a Broner fight.
Broner is coming off a split decision victory over Adrian Granados in his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. Last year, a fight between Pacquiao and Broner was proposed but turned down by Broner’s side over the amount of money Broner would be receiving. The fight could still be negotiated and would certainly have the possibility of producing some entertaining press conferences.
As for the fight itself, Broner would be considered a huge underdog against Pacquiao. Broner in recent matches has been inconsistent not only with what he produced inside the ring but on the weight scales as well.
Pacquiao-Broner would be more of an event than an actual meaningful fight against a fellow champion at welterweight. At this stage of Pacquiao’s career, an event that delivers in and out of the ring could spark a resurgence in his popularity in the United States.
Terence Crawford (30-0, 21 KOs)
A fight between Pacquiao and Terence Crawford has been in-demand from boxing fans since the beginning of 2016. Many fans see Pacquiao-Crawford as a “passing of the torch” match up that officially announces the arrival of a new era in boxing.
Crawford is in line to fight this May in Newark, NJ against a still unknown opponent. With both Pacquiao and Crawford not having set opponents for their next fight it could be the perfect time to make the fight happen.
Pacquiao even in decline is still one of the biggest names in the sport. If Pacquiao were looking for a fight internationally a fight with Kell Brook (36-1, 25 KOs) in the UK would be a huge event. Brook has a fight this upcoming May with Errol Spence (21-0, 18 KOs). If successful, Brook’s promoter Eddie Hearn has shown in the past and recently to be able to work with different promoters.
This past weekend Keith Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs) became the unified WBA and WBC champion with a split decision victory over Danny Garcia (33-1, 19 KOs). Pacquiao holds many boxing records including becoming the first former flyweight champion to win a featherweight title, being the first four-division lineal champion and being boxing’s only eight-division world champion, a fight with Keith Thurman would give Pacquiao the chance to become a unified champion in a division, something he has yet to accomplish. With Arum stating that Pacquiao’s next fight may be moved to July a fight with Thurman could be made.
The 8-division world champion’s greatest rival is Mexico’s Juan Manuel Marquez (56-7-1, 40 KOs). Through numerous attempts, Marquez has rejected any talks of a fifth fight with Pacquiao. Rumors started this year of investors offering up to $70 million to stage a fifth Pacquiao-Marquez fight overseas. Marquez told ESPN Deportes that he has no interest in a rematch with Pacquiao.
Pacquaio’s next opponent should be announced shortly. The world awaits where Pacquiao goes from here.
(Feature Photo: Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)