Who Should Pacquiao Fight Next?

Luis TorresContributor IJanuary 21, 2009

Now that the Pacquiao-Hatton fight has been “called off,” who should the “Pac-Man” fight next?

Manny Pacquiao is becoming one of the elite fighters of our time. With his superstar status and his booming popularity, it is important for him and for the sport of boxing, to capitalize on—well, everything.

Pacquiao is regarded by many as the No. 1 “Pound for Pound” fighter in the sport. He is the Phillipine's No. 1 superstar and has significantly grown in popularity after the Oscar De La Hoya fight.

Let's take a look at the possible future matchups for Pacquiao in no particular order.

Andriy Kotelnik

If he gets through his fight against Marcos Rene Maidana, he will keep his WBA Light Welterweight title, thus making him a worthy opponent in the race for unification. Without underestimating this fighter, I think Pacquiao could breeze right through him and further solidify his spot at Light Welterweight. This fight makes sense because Kotelnik and Maidana are fighting in February, which means this could bring us a Pacquiao fight early in the summer! How exciting is that! Would I pay for it? No.

Timothy Bradley

The current WBC Light Welterweight champion is scheduled to fight Kendall Holt—the current WBO titleholder—in April for both belts. If he can come up with the win, he will be an undefeated WBC and WBO Light Welterweight champion. How's that for a PPV fight? Probably if it only costs $29.95.

Ricky Hatton

Is it necessary that Pacquiao fight Ricky Hatton? Simply, yes.

I believe that, even though negotiations are off, Pacquiao and Hatton are destined to square off in this division. When? I don't know. I don't think they will get back into negotiations just yet, but maybe we could see interest grow again after each fighter's next fight, should they come victorious. At that point the boxing world will be screaming for a Pacquiao/Hatton fight. And it will happen—count on it.

Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Yes—he is retired, but he has said that he is open for negotiations. Will he want to fight Pacquiao though? We all know Floyd has had a history of 'dodging' dangerous opponents, going for the low risk, high reward fights. This is a high risk but higher reward fight. Will he take it? I don't think so, but I'd pay $59.95 for it on PPV.

So, the logical choice in this list is, basically, Hatton. Why? Because Pacquiao has to capitalize on his momentum and he certainly won't lose it if he fights Hatton, even if he loses. Yes, fighting Floyd will bring a lot of PPV buys but be real—it won't happen.

I think that Pacquiao's refusal to sign the Hatton contract was a very selfish move. The boxing world needs big fights if it is to keep up with the competition. These kinds of moves are what are keeping the sport of boxing in a recession. All in all, I have faith that both sides will come to an agreement eventually and we'll see these two great fighters square off sometime soon. This will be for the good of the sport.