Manny Pacquiao's Next Fight Moved to December, Should Fight Timothy Bradley
While the world awaits news on who former welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao will fight next, two things are for certain: It won't be on the originally scheduled Nov. 10 date, and he won't be fighting against Floyd Mayweather.
Instead, due to a scheduling conflict with Pacquiao's congressional reelection bid in the Philippines, Pacman's next fight will take place three weeks later on Dec. 1 against an unnamed opponent.
According to Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KOs) adviser Michael Koncz, who spoke with ESPN.com's Dan Rafael on Wednesday, the fighter's camp is down to three potential opponents: Juan Manuel Marquez (54-6-1, 39 KOs, Miguel Cotto (37-3, 30 KOs) and Timothy Bradley (29-0, 12 KOs).
For Pacquiao, all of these opponents are retreads that won't satiate the Mayweather craze.
But if Pacman's management wants to properly set up a future bout against the Money Team, it won't even consider any fight other than a Bradley rematch.
A bout with Marquez would be the two men's fourth time in the ring together. Though the previous three have been good fights, no one is clamoring to see Pacquiao take down a 38-year-old Marquez for the third time (the two's first fight was a draw).
Cotto is a good secondary opponent after taking Mayweather the full 12 rounds in May, but his link to a deal in Madison Square Garden on Dec. 1 likely puts the kibosh on a rematch, according to ESPN.com
That leaves Bradley as Pacquiao's only option. And considering he's the most compelling of the lot, that's hugely perfect for Pacman's reputation and paycheck.
Who should Manny Pacquiao fight on Dec. 1?
By now everyone either watched or has heard about the "Split Decision Heard 'Round the World" on June 9. In a fight that saw almost every objective observer score the fight in favor of Pacquiao, two judges scored the fight 115-113 in favor of Bradley, a win that awarded him the welterweight championship.
The decision also brought a cavalcade of criticism to boxing's judging process.
Bob Arum, who promotes both Bradley and Pacquiao as the CEO of Top Rank, called the result "incomprehensible" and added that he may need to go see his eye doctor (via NY Post).
And while Pacquiao's legendary trainer Freddie Roach was more subdued in his criticism, he still theorized about something fishy going on at the judges table.
“Something wasn’t right,” Roach said (via the New York Post), “because what everyone else saw and what [the judges] saw were two different things.”
The controversy surrounding the June fight sets up a possible rematch with enough firepower to draw casual fan interest as well as garnering up even more hype for an inevitable Mayweather fight.
Had Pacquiao fought Mayweather in December and tarnished Money's undefeated record, Pretty Boy Floyd could have used his jail time as an easy excuse.
But taking on Bradley and recapturing the welterweight title while giving Mayweather time for a tune-up opponent of his own can do nothing except create more hype and a higher purse.
The fact that it allows Pacquiao to atone for getting robbed in June is just an added bonus.
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