By now, anyone who has any remote affiliation with the sport of boxing should be aware that Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao will be fighting against the "Desert Storm" Timothy Bradley on June 9th for the WBO Welterweight Championship.
It's a dangerous fight for Pacquiao, since Bradley is a very capable opponent who is young, undefeated and is always in excellent condition.
But Bradley wasn't the only option for Pacquiao for this fight. There are a lot of other opponents that Pacquiao could've fought on June 9th; he didn't have to select the tough Bradley. Here are five fighters that Pacquiao possibly could have fought instead this Saturday.
The first guy on the list is Pacquiao's almost decade-old rival, Juan Manuel Marquez. The two of them have squared off three times, and you can make legitimate arguments that both men should be 3-0 or 0-3 in those fights.
They were all that close, with the only thing separating them being that Pacquiao has knocked Marquez down four times. I have the series at 2-1 for the Pacman, but that's neither here nor there.
Marquez would've liked to fight Pacquiao on Saturday, but for a host of reasons he didn't get the fight. The main reason why the fight didn't get made is that it doesn't really make much business sense.
Sure, it would be a close, terrific fight like their other three, but it would look the same as their November fight. Who would want to see that again when we could see Pacquiao against a different opponent? It's much more intriguing to see Pacquiao against a wild card and an undefeated young guy like Bradley than a 38-year-old Juan Manuel Marquez.
Also, with a potential Floyd Mayweather matchup later on this year, Marquez poses too much of a risk for Pacquiao, as a loss by the Pacman would jeopardize an $80 million payday.
The second guy I would've liked to see Pacquiao fight is Devon Alexander, who fights out of St. Louis. Alexander just turned 25 this year, and his slick southpaw style would've likely given Pacquiao some problems.
I'm not saying that Alexander would've won, but it would be very interesting to see Pacquiao have to deal with a guy who could match him in terms of speed and athleticism.
Much like Marquez, the main issue here is that the dollars didn't make sense.
Alexander is a terrific young fighter, and while he has fought on HBO numerous times and is moderately well known, it doesn't really make great business. Would a casual fan tune in to see Alexander fight Pacquiao? Probably not. However, this same argument can be made for Bradley, as he isn't really a mainstream type of guy, but he still was able to secure the fight.
Boxing works in funny ways sometimes, and this is one of them. Still, I would look for Alexander to be a potential opponent of Pacquiao in 2013 or 2014 if the Pacman sticks around that long, given that Alexander will only continue to get more exposure on HBO and will only become more well known to casual fans.
No. 3 on this list is Puerto Rican star Miguel Cotto. As late as January of 2012, Pacquiao was rumored to be facing Cotto in a rematch of their 2009 battle. The fight likely would've taken place at 147 pounds, which would've helped Cotto out given that their first fight took place at a catch weight of 145, which undoubtedly hurt Cotto at least a small bit in the fight.
This fight probably would've done pretty decent business, as Cotto is a big PPV draw, especially among Puerto Rican fans. I personally wouldn't want to see the rematch between these two because although Cotto is a great fighter, his style is tailor made for Manny Pacquiao, and after the first four rounds of their 2009 fight, Cotto was simply outclassed due to Pacquiao's speed advantage.
This fight also almost came to fruition because Top Rank, Pacquiao's promoter and Cotto's former promoter, likely would've been able to promote the fight on their own due to their still amicable relationship with Cotto, and it would've kept all the money in house.
Isn't it a little troubling for the future of the sport to see through these first three slides how much influence the fighters don't have in determining who they're going to fight?
This fight is one that I would really want to see. Aside from Mayweather-Pacquiao, and to a lesser extent, Mayweather-Martinez, this is a fight that would be great for boxing.
Martinez said he would go all the way down to 150 pounds, a weight he hasn't fought at in almost a decade. It would be a big-time struggle for him to get down that low, but for the huge payday, Martinez would be willing to put himself through it.
After Martinez said that he'd go down to 150, an extremely difficult task for the Argentine, Pacquiao and his team countered, saying he'd have to go down to 147 to make the fight.
Translation: unless Martinez kills himself to make a weight that there's no way he can safely make, we don't want the fight.
Essentially, they made this demand knowing there was absolutely no way Martinez would accept. Classic strategy to avoid a fight. Martinez is 37 and hasn't made 147 since he was 26. There's no way he could get down that low.
If they were to somehow come to an agreement, this fight would be absolutely sensational. I would actually have to lean toward Martinez, but it would be a classic slugfest and probably be the Fight of the Year.
Could it have been anyone else in this spot?
The fight everyone wants to see is Manny Pacquiao against Floyd Mayweather.
This fight has been talked about since way back in 2009, and if it doesn't happen by May of 2013, it's probably dead in the water, if it isn't already. The negotiations were close this time around, but Bob Arum said Pacquiao needed to fight in June due to a cut, which Pacquiao's own trainer, Freddie Roach, refuted.
Honestly, I'm sick of talking about this fight. There's nothing more I can really say about it other than to just make the fight happen.
Everyone wants to see it, it would make everyone involved a huge sum of money, and it would be great for the sport. Just put Pacquiao and Mayweather in a room and get it done, for everyone's sake.
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