Almost a week after the rematch between Manny "Pac-Man" Pacquiao and "Desert Storm" Timothy Bradley, all the dust the two men kicked up is beginning to settle. Pacquiao emerged victorious and now has options for his next bout.
Bradley too has options, but after his defeat, they simply aren't as exciting or plentiful. The Top Rank-Golden Boy cold war may leave him in a bad way.
The Mayweather Thing
Let's just get it out of the way now. Obviously, the fight most fans still want to see is a Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr. bout.
Mayweather faces Marcos Rene Maidana on May 3. Assuming Mayweather beats Maidana as most expect he will, the talk will begin to swirl around a potential superfight for the 1,000,000th time.
Most of us have been down this road too often to take it seriously until a deal is done. Even then there would probably be skepticism.
The closer the two men get to the ends of their careers, the better chance they will try to capitalize on the biggest payday in the history of the sport. We'll see where the trail leads this time. Don't get too excited about the fight finally happening, but then again, don't completely disregard the notion either.
A Fifth Meeting With Marquez
Every time Marquez and Pacquiao have met, the results have been exciting. The last time, Pacquiao was the only one who wasn't celebrating.
Marquez's vicious right-hand shot knocked Pacquiao out in December 2012 and changed the course of the Filipino legend's career.
As the only undisputed result in the two men's long rivalry, Pacquiao needs to avenge that loss to truly regain his place as one of the top two fighters in the world.
While a fifth fight would probably prove lucrative for both men, Marquez seems to be willing to step aside so the world can finally get its feel of Mayweather-Pacquiao.
Marquez said this to Paul John Rivera of The Latin Post:
I think the fight that the fans want is Manny and Floyd. That's what they want to see and they should do it. I have already had four fights with Pacquiao, and many people would prefer to see these two opponents face each other in the ring. I think if we voted on what fight people want to see, I sure they would want to see Pacquiao vs Mayweather Jr.
Marquez will face Mike Alvarado on May 17. Should Marquez win, there's no doubt he'll get the Pacquiao question during the post-fight interview.
What About Ruslan?
The current WBO light welterweight champion is a former sparring partner of Pacquiao's. Seeing Pac-Man test his newfound pure boxing skills against the hard-hitting Siberian would be an interesting bout.
Ruslan Provodnikov has enormous power, but he's slow and plodding.
Pacquiao's speed should allow him to outbox his opponent, but Provodnikov's pressure and relentlessness would make everyone in Pacquiao's camp a bit nervous.
Provodnikov's name is right up there as a fighter who fans want to see challenge Pacquiao. At least that's what Bob Arum says, per Ryan Songalia of The Ring Magazine:
If you ask people who they would want to see Manny fight next, everybody would say Mayweather, but next to Mayweather, they would probably say Provodnikov. He’s the next logical fight. Who else would you want Pacquiao to fight? [Juan Manuel] Marquez again, but then Marquez isn’t willing to fight.
Hyping the fight wouldn't be much of an issue if the two can agree. Provodnikov is scheduled to take on Chris Algieri on June 14. You know the routine. If Provodnikov wins, a potential fight with Pacquiao could be discussed.
Bradley's Next Move
Bradley's first bout with Provodnikov was the 2013 Fight of the Year. But that was only because Bradley allowed it to be. Had he boxed smartly from the beginning to end, he could have made the bout very boring.
Instead, he wanted to try to bang with Provodnikov, and he nearly lost the fight.
Quite honestly, a similarly odd move was the reason he lost to Pacquiao on Saturday. After the bout, Bradley said this in a post-fight interview, per Gareth A. Davies of The Telegraph:
I wanted that knockout. Manny is a great fighter, one of the best in the world. I lost to one of the greatest fighters in boxing. I kept trying to throw something over the top. That's what we worked on in camp. That was the plan, but Pacquiao has great footwork.
Someone tell Bradley he only has 12 knockouts and that simply wasn't a good plan. But I digress.
The public would probably buy into another Bradley-Provodnikov bout because the first one was so good. You'd like to think Bradley would have learned from his mistakes. However, with him, you never can tell.
Winner of Alvarado-Marquez
Bradley's fight with Marquez in October 2013 was exciting, but I'm not sure a ton of people want to see that again. It just doesn't have a ton of commercial appeal.
A fight with Alvarado doesn't exactly jump off the page at you either, but at least we've never seen the two in the ring together before.
Most of the best fighters at 147 pounds are with Golden Boy: Mayweather, Keith Thurman, Adrien Broner, Robert Guerrero, Shawn Porter and more.
Chances are we may see Bradley take a near no-name opponent in his next fight, just to stay active.
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