After getting past Juan Manuel Marquez on December 8, eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao is faced with a difficult choice of viable first-time opponents.
Fight fans seem exhausted watching rematches—they have been forced to watch predictable and unwanted fights featuring topnotch fighters who have repeatedly faced each other in the ring.
Promoters have been criticized for recycling fighters who have proven track records in generating enough revenues to keep fights financially viable.
A case in point is the upcoming Pacquiao vs.Marquez fight, the result of which is predictable in the mind of knowledgeable fight fans.
In the case of Pacquiao, boxing fans have been clamoring for non-rematch fights—not just for its entertainment value but also to give rising boxers the opportunity to share the spotlight with the Filipino star and to give them a break and the opportunity to test their marketability in the pay-per-view (PPV) market.
But promoters are confronted with a limited choice of fighters who are potential PPV attractions—most of them have been suspended from fighting due to pending drug-related cases.
Aside for Floyd Mayweather, Jr. several contenders who are potential PPV attractions could have been tapped for Pacquiao's next fight in lieu of the fourth fight with Marquez. Of course, Mayweather is a proven PPV draw but seems unable and reluctant to face Pacquiao in the ring.
Other than Mayweather, these fighters who are prevented from fighting due to pending drug cases, include, among others, Andre Berto and Lamont Peterson. In the middleweight category, Julio Cesar Chavez has been linked to drug issues of his own.
Recall that boxers tested positive for banned substance or drugs have been taken out from The Ring rating list of fighters.
Although there are several potential opponents who are young and have thus far proven their capability, they are solely dependent on their promoter for the needed break.
In some cases, promoters also gamble on fighters with a growing fanbase who could become future PPV attractions.
There is no guarantee, though, that fighters will eventually gain public acceptance, despite sustained promotional efforts. Such is the case of Timothy Bradley, who never made it as a rated PPV star despite the huge promotional campaign launched by promoter Bob Arum during the Pacquiao-Bradley pre-fight.
But Pacquiao may find Danny Garcia, Lucas Matthysse and Amir Khan as potential non-rematch fights. These fighters have what it takes to become future PPV stars.
In the super welterweight class, Kell Brook, Pulie Malignaggi and Jan Zaveck are some of the non- rematch fights available for Pacquiao's post-Marquez fight.
Still, fight fans around the world believe Mayweather would be a perfect non-rematch fight for Pacquiao early next year.
But if there is no Mayweather by then, the young, unbeaten Danny Garcia, who gave Khan a boxing lesson with his KO win, would be Pacquiao's best bet for a non-rematch fight next year.