Boxing is all about economics and fighting against the best for supremacy, albeit the former usually outweighs the latter.
Several boxing legends in the past fought in the higher weight class or went down to a contracted weight to challenge better oppositions just to make more money and cement their legacy as one of the greats.
We have seen the likes of Henry Armstrong who simultaneously held three championships in three weight divisions to a lighter Roy Jones Jr. go up against John Ruiz for the heavyweight title, or a light heavyweight Bernard Hopkins challenged a middleweight Oscar Dela Hoya.
It is a progression process for fighters at the lower weight class to eventually move up to higher weight class especially if the fight makes sense from a financial stand point.
However, fighters who challenge each other are usually one weight class apart for the fight to be viewed as physically competitive.
Today, Manny Pacquiao, the eight-division champion and the consensus P4P best is on top of the food chain, period.
Until Floyd Mayweather Jr. resumes fighting and starts destroying real oppositions, Manny Pacquiao is no doubt boxing’s center of gravity. Never have we seen such a boxer so dominant yet so marketable he is being pursued by so many challengers from five different weight divisions.
Let’s examine five highly potential opponents in five different weight classes from lightweight to middleweight who want to cash in by challenging the pound-for-pound king.
Let me remind the readers, that these are men who have been vocal in challenging Manny Pacquaio and are most likely the front runners of being Pacquaio's next opponent.
Those who have the skills to pose a good challenge against Pac-Man but remained silent, well, perhaps they belong to a different list.
Weight Class: 135 lbs. - Lightweight
Record: 52-5-1 (38 KOs)
Currently the WBO, WBA and Ring's Lightweight King, Juan Manual Marquez made a good case of his pursuit to land a third match against Manny Pacquiao after his ninth-round TKO victory over Michael Katsidis at lightweight.
Marquez had a very competitive draw and split-decision loss against Pacquiao in their first two outings. The only Mexican who gave Pacquiao trouble for his technical skills and superior counter-punching, Marquez has rightfully earned a good spot in being Pacquiao's next opponent.
Weight Class: 140 lbs. - Junior Welterweight
Record: 26-0 (11 KOs)
Timothy Bradley is scheduled to face WBC JWW champion Devon Alexander in January 2011.
But this early the WBO undefeated JWW champion is not hiding his intention of challenging Pacquiao who left the division after capturing the IBO and Ring's Chamionship belt for his short work of Ricky Hatton in May 2009 via second-round KO.
Unfortunately for Bradley, his popularity and drawing power pails in comparison some of the names in this list.
Weight Class: 147 lbs. - Welterweight
Record: 27-0 (21 KOs)
Currently the reigning WBC welterweight champion, Andre Berto just made a statement in his last night's first-round destruction of Freddy Hernandez (29-2-0, 20 KOs).
Berto is undeafeted and is one of the three names tossed up by Pacquio's promoter as Manny's potential next opponent. Though he has made a point in his fight with Hernandez,
Berto's popularity just like Bradley, is average to casual boxing fans at best and most boxing experts would claim he is untested. At 147 lbs., however, he is certainly the best challenge for Pacquiao.
Weight Class: 154 lbs. - Junior MIddleweight
Record: 46-6-1 (39 KOs)
Shane Mosley is probably the last remaining big star around Pacquiao's current fighting weight (besides Floyd Mayweather) who has been chasing a fight with Pacquiao since Pac-Man retired Oscar de la Hoya in 2007.
But now at 39 years old after a one-sided loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. and a questionable performance against Sergio Mora, Pacquiao will never get the credit he deserves for facing Mosley.
Weight Class: 160 lbs. - Middleweight
Record: 42-2-2 (25 KOs)
Sergio Martinez just shocked the world after his second-round destruction of Paul Williams in a rematch for the WBC middleweight belt. Short of marquee fights to consider at 160, Martinez immediately issued a challenge to Manny Pacquiao to step up and gun for his ninth title in as many weight divisions.
Martinez said he is willing to fight Pacquiao for his WBC Junior Middleweight title or the pound-for-pound king can challenge him his WBC middleweight title at a 155 lbs. catchweight.
It seems way too far for Bob Arum to ever consider Martinez as Pacquiao's next opponent but, guess what, Manny Pacquiao will always be Manny Pacquiao.