Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez on an Inevitable Collision Course

| by Alex Groberman

Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez are on an inevitable collision course. If there are any lessons to be taken away from this weekend’s bout between Marquez and Timothy Bradley, that’s pretty much it.

Bradley beat Marquez fair and square on Saturday night. Regardless of whether you want to go by the eye test or the stats, there shouldn’t be any debate: Bradley landed more punches, threw more punches, and connected on more meaningful punches than his counterpart. He definitely won, despite Marquez’s unsportsmanlike whining after the fact.

Unfortunately, Bradley won in typical Bradley-like fashion. He had his spurts here and there, and he obviously staggered Marquez on several occasions, but this wasn’t the performance that we saw in the Provodnikov match. It was a much safer exhibition of technical boxing.

After the fight, Bob Arum was asked what was next for Bradley. The Top Rank boss didn’t hold back.

Arum said if Rios wins, he'd get Bradley next. If Pacquiao wins, Arum said he'd have to see, but he's not optimistic

— Kevin Iole (@KevinI) October 13, 2013

The reason for this is clear: Pacquiao and Bradley put on a terribly boring fight, produced an awful decision, and their showdown was nowhere near the commercial success that all involved hoped it would be.

Simply put, it’s far more trouble than it’s worth.

If Pacquiao beats Rios, the natural opponent for him isn’t Bradley – it’s Marquez. The two have a history. They can sell out massive Las Vegas arenas, and won’t be relegated to overseas fights like Pacquiao-Rios is. Most importantly, though, with a fresh chip on his shoulder, Marquez may finally be willing to partake in the fight he has been running away from all year.

Arum wants Pacquiao-Marquez V. Pacquiao wants it, too. Now all that’s left is for Marquez to come to his senses.