Manny Pacquiao has fully realized his position as boxing’s top cash cow, which means there is no end to the number of fighters willing to face him for the honor of getting their orbital bones shattered in return for a major score. You remember how it was when Oscar De La Hoya was at the top of the food chain. Every half-ass pug within 70 pounds of him either way was willing to lop off a leg or swallow his weight in cheese puffs for a chance to get into a ring with him, and it didn’t matter if he had a chance in hell of winning. That wasn’t the point. It never is.
And so here we are at the same place with Pacquiao, and the names are coming from everywhere — middleweight, lightweight, welterweight, and, of course, the ever-popular “catchweights,” — for which our friends at the governing bodies will happily create a belt in return for payment of “sanctioning fees.”
In this analysis we look at the fighters reportedly in the running to be Pacquiao’s next opponent and discuss why it should happen, why it shouldn’t, and the chances of it coming off.
Andre Berto, 147-pound belt holder and THE RING‘s No. 3-rated welterweight
Why it should happen: Berto’s splattering of hapless Freddie Hernandez Saturday night couldn’t have been more impressive. And wouldn’t it be nice to see Pacquiao against a young, fast, undefeated welterweight?
Why it shouldn’t: Not that it matters in this business, but Berto has done nothing to earn the kind of paycheck this would make him. Cripes, how about fighting a top-10 guy one of these years, Andre?
Will it? It could happen, but only if Berto’s team forces the issue. Berto wants no part of Pacquiao. Lou DiBella and Al Haymon might have other ideas.
Sergio Martinez, THE RING middleweight champion, rated No. 3 in the magazine‘s Pound-For-Pound rankings
Why it should happen: After his spectacular win over Paul Williams, Martinez said he would drop down to 154 pounds and face Pacquiao at junior middleweight. Why not, then?
Why it shouldn’t: Martinez is a heck of a fighter but really doesn’t have any commercial appeal in the United States yet. He may never.
Will it? Forget it. The problem isn’t Martinez’s size; it’s his size and his speed. Pacquiao will beat bigger, slower guys for as long as he wants. Martinez is a bigger, fast guy. Bob Arum doesn’t let Pacquiao anywhere near him.
Shane Mosley, THE RING’s No. 5-rated welterweight
Why it should happen: Mosley is the one guy Freddie Roach used to say was too big for Pacquiao. Well, Pacquiao just obliterated Margarito. How is Mosley too big now?
Why it shouldn’t: Can you say pugilista dementia?
Will it? It could, mostly because Mosley remains well known and is distancing himself from Golden Boy Promotions, with whom Arum has insisted he will not work. Don’t be shocked if it comes off.
Miguel Cotto, 154-pound belt holder, THE RING’s No. 3-rated junior middleweight and No. 4-rated welterweight
Why it should happen: Um, it shouldn’t.
Why it shouldn’t: Seriously?
Will it? Arum keeps threatening to make this rematch and you would think he can’t sell it, but hey, he sold Pacquiao-Margarito, didn’t he? Still, this one doesn’t happen. Yet.
Juan Manuel Marquez, THE RING lightweight champion, rated No. 4 in the magazine’s Pound-For-Pound rankings
Why it should happen: As he showed against Michael Katsidis Saturday night, Marquez remains a top-shelf fighter who has twice fought Pacquiao to a standstill.
Why it shouldn’t: Hasn’t this guy been in enough wars already?
Will it? Probably not. Roach is already saying it would have to take place at welterweight, which is a way out, and the whole Arum-Golden Boy feud again. A damn shame.
Winner of Tim Bradley-Devon Alexander, 140-pound beltholders and THE RING’s Nos. 1 and 2 junior welterweights
Why it should happen: The winner will be the best 140-pounder in the world.
Why it shouldn’t: Bradley, who probably beats Alexander, couldn’t sell out your living room.
Will it? Possibly, but only if Bradley or Alexander are willing to go to 147. That’s dumb. Of course they would. They’d go to 168 for the right money.
Floyd Mayweather Jr., THE RING’s No. 2-rated welterweight, rated No. 2 in the magazine’s Pound-For-Pound rankings
Why it should happen: It’s the biggest fight that can be made. Duh.
Why it shouldn’t: Did you hear? FOX is filming an all-Mayweather episode of COPS.
Will it? There’s $100-million on the table. It will happen this year. Bet on it.
Some random observations from last week:
So how annoying was Carl Froch’s girlfriend’s continual shrieking during her man‘s win over Artie Abraham? I thought someone was tasing a badger at ringside. And then they showed her on camera, and I thought, how lovely it is that she’s so uninhibited and supportive of Froch. Good for her…
I’m pretty sure I’ve never picked Froch in a big fight, and it’s too damn late to change course now. So, yes, I’m picking Glen Johnson to beat him…
Right now Ken Hershman has 116 messages on his cell phone from Abraham’s handlers explaining how sorry they are to inform him that due to (insert unverifiable injury here), Abraham must immediately withdraw from the Super Six tourney. Seriously, the guy gets schooled by Froch and he’s supposed to fight Andre Ward next? What‘s the point?…
The most amazing thing about Abraham is that he got this far without ever learning how to bend at the legs or waist. What exactly have his trainers been doing the last seven years?…
Jason Litzau, your relatives called. Thanks for the double-wide, brother!…
A plea to all broadcasters: please stop saying “dominating” when you mean “dominant…”
Andre Ward complaining about head butts? Seriously? That’s like Gus Johnson complaining about over-the-top broadcasting…
I had Ward beating Sakio Bika 116-112, which can only mean I must have been having seizures and blacking out or something when Ward was landing all those punches that so impressed the judges…
Hey – when two guys want to maul, elbow and butt the bejesus out of one another, I say let them have at it…
Between Hernandez crumpling under Berto’s first solid punch and Katsidis making like a Piñata against Marquez, my Ring Theory co-host Eric Raskin has pulled even with me in our Quick Picks competition. That’s the bad news. The good? With just a couple shows left before the end of the year, I’m about to break this bad boy wide open…
The revelation that Kelly Pavlik has entered a rehab facility to treat his alcoholism reminds us that when a rumor refuses to go away, it’s because it’s true.
Bill Dettloff, THE RING magazine’s Senior Writer, is working on a biography of Ezzard Charles. Bill can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org