Manny Pacquiao needs a new rival.
Who should Pac fight in December?
Sure, Juan Manuel Marquez may be more of a challenge for Pacquiao than Timothy Bradley. But after three fights which ended in two PacMan wins and a draw, why in the world will Marquez get another shot?
According to Bill Emes of Boxing Scene.com, trainer Naazim Richardson believes that he knows why. He said after this past summer’s travesty of a decision:
If anybody had a right to be mad at the Pacquiao-Bradley decision, it was Marquez. Marquez should have been home kicking furniture over and saying "I did better than that three times." He is the only person who had a right to be mad. They probably thought about it themselves and said "we have to let him fight [Pacquiao] again."
While Richardson is right—Marquez deserves another shot because he fought Pacquiao tougher than Bradley—that doesn’t mean Pacquiao-Marquez IV should go down.
A matchup’s aftermath is what draws interest for a fight. Pacquiao-Mayweather isn’t just a Dream Match because the bout itself would be entertaining—its ramifications would be historic.
So what if Pacquiao defeats Marquez? He’s already two up on him. And for that same reason, so what if Marquez beat Pacquiao?
But not only is the rivalry not tied, a Marquez victory wouldn’t even create a tie. There’s a reason why boxing rivalries traditionally don’t live beyond three fights—because after that, the storyline becomes irrelevant. Marquez deserves to fight Pacquiao more than Bradley, but a Pacquiao-Bradley rivalry actually has legs.
If Bradley defeated Pacquiao, a potential third match would feature an unjustly undefeated Bradley vs. a legend attempting to avoid a sweep in the stat book and win a best-two-out-of-three in the eyes of the sane. And if Pacquiao beat Bradley, he’d still be inclined to fight a third time due to the first bout’s ludicrous ruling.
The plot of a Pacquiao-Bradley rematch is simply superior to that of Pacquiao-Marquez IV. And the entertainment value pre- and post-fight are just as important as, if not more than, the fight itself.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.