Manny Pacquiao still needs to fight Brandon Rios this November, but everyone is already looking past that. From the very beginning, this Rios bout has been viewed as a stepping stone to get the Filipino star back on track after two straight defeats, and that’s not going to change unless Rios somehow manages to win.
The fact that nobody is particularly interested in Pacquiao-Rios has led to a lot of talk about what comes next for Pacquiao. While Floyd Mayweather Jr. always has been and always will be the preferred option, obviously that’s not something folks can count on right now. So who does that leave? Well, it leaves Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez. The pair just fought a couple of weeks ago, with the latter falling to the former in fairly definitive fashion.
Despite calls for a fifth match between Pacquiao and Marquez, one that would finally determine who the better man truly is, Marquez isn’t interested. For some reason, he thinks ducking Pacquiao is better for his reputation than fighting the former eight division champ and risking a loss.
Bradley, for what it’s worth, isn’t scared. Even though nobody actually thinks he beat Pacquao the first time around, the WBO champ says that he did earn that W, and that he’s willing to prove it in a rematch.
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"In the Pacquiao fight I didn’t have that mobility at all, so it definitely affected my performance in that fight,” he told TBV. “And although I still won, a lot of people don’t feel I won that fight. I would love to definitely go back and revisit that chapter now and fight Manny Pacquiao again and beat him.”
A second fight between these two would probably do better than the first one did, but that’s not really saying much. Pacquiao-Bradley underperformed PPV-wise, and it left a lot to be desired from an entertainment perspective.
Still, so long as Marquez is scurred, Bradley is the best available option not named Floyd Mayweather Jr.