There's a serious chance that Manny Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KOs) could be on the wrong side of tonight's bout against undefeated challenger Timothy Bradley (28-0, 12 KOs).
The assumption is that a loss to Bradley would not hurt the possibility of Floyd Mayweather (43-0, 26 KOs) and Pacquiao meeting in the ring, but it could actually help it.
First off, losing would cause "Pacman" to hunker down and regain the determination and drive that he has seemingly lost a little of in his last few fights.
There is no way that Pacquiao would walk away from the ring this soon with a loss to anyone other than Mayweather, so the Bradley rematch would most likely have to take place first—maybe in November as Bradley has been promoting.
That rematch could possibly turn into a "winner fights Mayweather" bout, making not just a Mayweather bout attractive, but a Pacquiao-Bradley rematch look good too.
Losing would also force "Pacman" to take a smaller chunk of the megafight's payout, which would be one step in luring "Money May" into fighting Pacquiao.
Then once Mayweather is out of jail, he could heavily pursue Pacquiao, knowing that he just lost and could still be vulnerable, but would basically have no choice but to try to redeem his legacy by beating his longtime rumored foe.
Mayweather also could push for the fight for his legacy, as although the bout may not mean all that much ti him, it means a lot to fans and media alike. It is thought "Money May" wouldn't be considered as one of the best ever without taking on "Pacman."
If Pacquiao is able to defend his WBO welterweight title tonight, then the same old cat-and-mouse game between Mayweather's and Pacquiao's camps will continue until the two are no longer fighting—and the long-awaited megafight may never come to fruition.