Manny Pacquiao: Five Fighters He Could Battle in 2011

Lou CatalanoContributor IIIDecember 20, 2010

Manny Pacquiao: Five Fighters He Could Battle in 2011

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    Whenever Manny Pacquiao fights, the fans win.  His aggressive, whirlwind style and effortless jumping through weight classes while retaining his vicious punching power has made him the most compelling figure in the sport.

    As we anxiously await word on who he will fight next, we'll take a look at five possible opponents for Manny in 2011.

Andre Berto

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    Berto has a breathtaking combination of hand speed and power.  He's young and undefeated.  The problem for Berto is two-fold.  First, his list of opponents lately conjures up memories of Roy Jones being paid lavishly by HBO to waste his freakish skills pounding on civil servants.  Berto is utterly unproven at the elite level.

    The other issue is that Berto draws about the same number of fans to his fights as Manny does following him to the grocery store.  What would help?  A big time fight.  It isn't his fault at all that he had to withdraw from fighting Mosley, but how about taking care of that business first before Manny?  Berto vs. Mosley would be a classic crossroads fight. 

    Berto has all the upside in the world and is young enough to become a huge attraction.  It doesn't make sense right now, but Pacquiao vs. Berto could happen down the road. 

Saul Alvarez

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    This one comes straight from the mind of Larry Merchant, who opined a couple of years ago that Pacquiao should fight De La Hoya.  That idea came to fruition, but this one seems like a stretch.  Alvarez is extremely green, even more so than Berto. 

    Putting him into the ring at this stage in his career with the monster that is Manny Pacquiao could seriously endanger his future.  Still, he looked absolutely sensational in dominating and then stopping Carlos Baldomir, something no one else had been able to do.  Already a star in Mexico, Alvarez seems poised to crossover once he gets a couple more fights under him. 

Shane Mosley

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    Mosley seems to be the favorite to get the fight with Pacquiao in May.  He is a huge name, and that equals plenty of money to go around.  Mosley has looked awful in his last two fights, a loss to Floyd Mayweather and a draw with Sergio Mora.

    Mosley may not look as bad against Manny.  Manny doesn't have the defensive skills of Mayweather, and he comes to bring it all night, unlike Mora, who seemed to want to do anything other than engage.  That could lead to openings for Mosley to catch him coming in.

    A toe-to-toe battle would be exciting, for as long as it lasts.  If Mosley truly can't pull the trigger anymore, as evidenced in his last two fights, then he will be in for a brutal night.

Juan Manuel Marquez

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    Marquez has been begging for a third fight for some time.  On the surface, it would seem like a third fight between these two legends would be easy to make.  But the second fight was delayed for years, and a third has been difficult to make as well.  Making things trickier is the fact that Marquez is entrenched as the lightweight champion, while Pacquiao has jumped easily up to welterweight.

    Marquez looked dreadfully slow in his only attempt at welterweight when he was easily defeated by Floyd Mayweather last year.  A fight at 140 seems logical, but with boxing, logic often goes out the window. 

    Regardless of who you thought won their first two fights, these two are perfect matches should combine to become one of the great boxing trilogies in history.  This is the man most fans want Pacquiao to battle, second only to one other guy...

Floyd Mayweather

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    This is a no-brainer.  Not only would it be the richest fight in boxing history, but it would also be one of the most significant.  They've tried and failed twice to put it together.  Many doubt it will ever happen.  But what an event it would be if these two could find themselves in the ring together. 

    The fact that Mayweather finds himself in a heap of legal trouble may put the fight in jeopardy for this year, but hopefully Pacquiao vs. Mayweather will happen in the near future.  Boxing doesn't need the fight, but it certainly could use it.