Manny Pacquiao (55-5-2) was not able to knock out Brandon Rios (31-2-1) Saturday night in the main event of the pay-per-view the two men headlined, but a dominant decision win is enough to prove Pac-Man’s boxing career is not over yet.
Pacquiao must follow up the big victory with another marquee fight.
While casual boxing fans are still clamoring for Floyd Mayweather to be the next opponent for Pac-Man, the ship has sailed on that dream bout. Mayweather has no reason to accept that fight now. With Money still undefeated and Pacquiao trying to rebuild his career, Mayweather would gain nothing by accepting this bout.
Mayweather is already the best of this generation.
Instead of trying for a fight against Money, Pac-Man and his camp should be looking to book the potential rematch with Timothy Bradley so the veteran can avenge one of the two previous losses he suffered heading into the bout with Rios.
Bradley is the smartest fight for Pacquiao.
After thoroughly smashing Rios for 12 rounds and taking each on the judges’ scorecards—a feat that deserves immense credit on its own—promoters understand that the journey back to relevance is not over yet. The split-decision loss to Bradley and the knockout defeat to Juan Manuel Marquez are still fresh on many people’s minds, and Pacquiao must do as much as physically possible to answer all the doubts that the two previous losses raised.
Most boxing fans and experts agreed at the time that Pac-Man had beaten Bradley in the duo’s first bout and the same fighter showed up last night and triumphed over Rios. While Saturday’s contest was a bit more lopsided, it was still clear that Pacquiao deserved the win in the first matchup.
With momentum on his side and vengeance on the mind, the rematch with Bradley would give Pac-Man the re-launching point his career needs to return to the upper echelon of the sport. Add in the ability to avenge his previous loss and prove the judges were wrong for handing him a split-decision defeat, and the proposed bout between Pacquiao and Bradley would be the biggest possible next fight.
If the legend beats his American foe in the rematch, only then would a possible matchup against Mayweather become an option. Even in that circumstance, it’s hard to imagine Mayweather ever agreeing to this fight.
However, when Pac-Man dominates Bradley in the proposed rematch, promoters would have a serious case to make for a dream fight between Pacquiao and Mayweather.