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Sunday, March 21, 2010

If not Mayweather then who do fans want as Pacquiao's next opponent?

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Pittsburgh Fight Sports Examiner | Scott Heritage

From the looks of things, Bob Arum is eager to avoid any prolonged and potentially difficult negotiations for Pacquiao's next fight. To that end he seems to be pushing for a Pacquiao vs. Margarito fight to take place in November.

Although the current front runner, Margarito is one of three names being considered for Pac-man's next fight. Juan Manuel Marquez and Edwin Valero are also possible names, although all three will need some serious work if Top Rank wants to market them as serious challenges to Pacquiao. Clottey at least had the unknown quantity to attract the fans,

Margarito, the current favorite, has yet to obtain his license to fight in the United States, although this will have been fixed by the time winter rolls around again. More than that though, his year long ban for tampering with his hand wraps has certainly damaged his reputation with a lot of fans, and now some wonder just how good he ever was. It was Mosley's trainer, not anyone from the commission who detected the anomaly with his wraps last time, so just how many other fights had he fought with the help of plaster of paris?

A bout in Mexico in the coming months will reacquaint some fans with Margarito, and he is undoubtedly still a top ten fighter, but his time away has certainly lowered his profile for the moment. A good option for the future, but he could do with a big won over a recognized welterweight presence before he jumps in against Pacquiao. An win over an anonymous opponent in Mexico just doesn't cut it for taking on the world's best.

Edwin Valero has the benefits of being both undefeated and an equally exciting fighter to watch as Pacquiao. He also has every promoters dream, a perfect 27 knockouts in 27 wins. The marketing for this fight is fairly easy to figure out, although there is a snag. As good as Valero is, the heaviest he's fought so far is Lightweight. Jumping up two weight classes at once is not usually a good idea as Marquez proved against Floyd Mayweather.

Also as Bob Arum put it talking to Boxingscene:

"Valero might be the best but frankly he's an inside story in boxing. The public at large really don't know who the hell he is. That can change, and that's my job, as Valero's promoter, to change that - but I don't think I that can accomplish that job that quickly. We need someone the country is familiar with and Margarito is someone they are certainly familiar with"

Before he takes on Pacquiao a title at light welterweight would be the next logical step. Much the same as Pacquiao did prior to his rise to the top of the welterweight tree. The promoters could even market Valero as the 'next Manny Pacquiao' with his weight class jumping and exciting style. In truth such comparisons are a long way off for the Venezuelan, but with the right opponent at light welterweight, Valero might be the biggest draw of the three choices.

Finally the last option Top Rank are looking into is a third fight between Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez, a man who he has beaten and drawn with before. Perhaps more importantly though also a man who Floyd Mayweather dominated, and who most agree has little business fighting north of lightweight.

Although the first two fights were close, and Marquez has a style that Pacquiao struggled with to some degree, he simply doesn't carry the extra weight as well as Pacquiao does. A third fight would almost certainly be one sided, and with Marquez having lost to both of the top two fighters in the world fairly recently, it probably wouldn't sell that well either.

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