5 Reasons Manny Pacquiao's Next Fight Shouldn't Be in the Philippines

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistMarch 3, 2013

5 Reasons Manny Pacquiao's Next Fight Shouldn't Be in the Philippines

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    Nothing is official yet, but it seems likely that Manny Pacquiao's boxing career will resume in 2013.

    Pacquiao was knocked out in the sixth round by Juan Manuel Marquez last December. Pacquiao appeared to have the edge in the fight before Marquez delivered the best punch of his career and turned the lights out on Pacquiao.

    If Pacquiao, 34, was going to retire, it seems likely that the announcement would have come shortly after the defeat. That has not happened.

    Pacquiao lost a controversial split decision to Timothy Bradley prior to getting knocked out by Marquez, but he still has the skills to dominate in the ring.

    Perhaps Pacquiao still has the idea of fighting Floyd Mayweather in the back of his mind. It seems that he would need a very impressive performance in his return to the ring for that to receive serious consideration.

    If Pacquiao wants to remain a serious fighter, he can't ask for his next fight to take place in the Philippines. He needs to fight in a prime boxing location like Las Vegas if he wants to be taken seriously again.

    Here's why.

5. He Needs a Big-Time Location

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    If Manny Pacquiao is still a big-time fighter, he should stage his next fight in Las Vegas, or some other boxing center, but not in Pacquiao's home country.

    Pacquiao fought a couple of headline fights in Cowboys Stadium in Dallas in 2010. Jerry Jones' palace is probably the second-most famous sporting arena in North America besides Yankee Stadium.

    If Pacquiao fights in a big-time location, it tells the world he is still a big-time fighter.

4. He Doesn't Need Protection

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    Manny Pacquiao is one of the greatest fighters of his generation and ranks with some of the all-time greats. Why would he need to go back to his home country to take a fight?

    It would seem to be a step backward for him. In boxing, the hometown fighter is perceived to have something of an edge on the judges' scorecards.

    Pacquiao does not need such protection.

    He should be able to go anywhere for a fight and win. If he feels he must get the benefit of fighting in his home country, he must re-examine his mental state and determine if he really wants to get back in the ring.

3. He Needs to Face Better Opponents

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    Manny Pacquiao does not want to fight an "opponent."

    He has no need to pad his record with a victory. If he has medical clearance to step into the ring, his skill level is high enough that he can fight a high-level boxer.

    That does not mean Floyd Mayweather. He's going to have to prove himself by beating a fighter the quality of Juan Manuel Marquez before that long-sought fight has any chance of becoming a reality.

    A big-name fighter is not going to want to fight in Pacquiao's backyard. That would not make sense.

    Better opponents want a fight held in a neutral location.

2. He Needs Maximum Media Access

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    If you want to be taken seriously, you have to give the media a chance to cover your actions.

    The majority of media outlets are not going to fly their reporters to the Philippines to cover a Manny Pacquiao fight.

    Perhaps reporters would be sent to the Philippines if he were fighting Floyd Mayweather, but it's difficult to see media outlets draining their resources to send reporters there for any other fight.

    If the major media outlets are providing skeleton coverage of the event, it loses relevance.

    Pacquiao and his management know this. That's why he can't have his next fight in his homeland.

1. He Needs to Get on the Fast Track

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    If Manny Pacquiao records a clear and convincing victory in Las Vegas or another prime boxing location, he will be fast-tracked for a return to the top of the boxing pound-for-pound ratings.

    It may also lead to a fight with Floyd Mayweather. That's the fight the sport  needs to capture center stage on the world boxing scene.

    There are not two other fighters who could give the sport such a dramatic shot in the arm.

    The window of opportunity for such a fight is closing. If it doesn't happen by 2014 at the latest, it seems unlikely that it ever will.

    If Pacquiao does not want to be fast-tracked, he can fight in the Philippines. Otherwise, he must fight in a prime location.