Manny Pacquiao is coming off a huge win over Timothy Bradley on Saturday evening and is now in position to once again be regarded as a premier talent in boxing.
Pac-Man (56-5, 38 KO) suffered through a rough stretch after losing a controversial bout to Bradley (31-1, 12 KO) back in 2012, getting knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez and even pondering retirement ahead of what was an eventual victory over Brandon Rios.
He’s since turned things around and continued to show improvement in terms of his fighting style. Pac-Man explained how he was able to soundly defeat his foe Saturday evening, as per Greg Beachem of the Associated Press (h/t Yahoo! News):
I didn't want to get careless. I picked up more steam in the second half when I made adjustments that Freddie gave me in the corner. Bradley was much better than in the first fight we had. He hurt me on the chin.
Now that the Filipino star earned revenge and is the winner of back-to-back matches for the first time since 2011, he must capitalize by scheduling some marquee opponents.
While it is a shot in the dark, Floyd Mayweather has to be the No. 1 target for Pacquiao’s promotional team.
Top Rank CEO and Pac-Man promoter Bob Arum made it clear that he wants to arrange the superfight, speaking about it at the post-fight interview in the wee hours of Sunday morning.
Arum lambasted the Mayweather camp for its decision to avoid scheduling a matchup with his top earner, telling Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated that he is willing to negotiate at any time:
Arum says he is ready "anytime" to negotiate a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight.— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) April 13, 2014
The 82-year-old promoter also called for Money to label his May 3 matchup with Marcos Maidana as a warmup fight and schedule a marquee clash of titans with Pacquiao this coming fall, as per Mannix:
Arum says instead of Maidana, Mayweather should say he is fighting a tuneup fight and sign to fight @MannyPacquiao in the fall.— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) April 13, 2014
Unfortunately, it seems that Pacquiao will have to continue to schedule subpar opponents while Top Rank and Golden Boy keep struggling to get on the same page.
The superfight may one day happen, but it will likely occur outside of the deal Mayweather (45-0, 26 KO) currently has for three more fights after the Maidana battle.
Pacquiao would also be wise to avoid rematching Bradley for quite some time, as the 35-year-old Filipino was clearly the better boxer in both bouts. He has nothing left to prove against Desert Storm, and both will likely go their separate ways for now.
That leaves us looking for a realistic option for Pac-Man’s next fight. While little is clear so soon after a bout, it seems that a fifth installment in the epic series against Juan Manuel Marquez could be on tap.
Who will Pacquiao fight next?
Marquez earned his first victory against Pacquiao in 2012, so the possibility for revenge and getting the last word may be too enticing for the new WBO welterweight champion to ignore.
Closing the book against his greatest rival with a win would uniquely position Pac-Man to be an even bigger draw against Mayweather. It would obviously be the most anticipated fight of the modern era, and Pacquiao must do what he can to make the bout too enticing and downright impossible for Money and his handlers to ignore.