Manny Pacquiao’s next fight has more or less been decided on already. He will take on either Mike Alvarado or Brandon Rios because his first options, Juan Manuel Marquez and Timothy Bradley, despise him with every fiber of their beings. The suspense is largely gone, and now it’s just a matter of picking between the second-tier possibilities.
Far more interesting than whom Pacquiao will fight next, though, is what happens if he wins. If he loses then there is no mystery – he’s done. He will retire and focus on being the best pound-for-pound Philippine politician he can be. However, if he wins, then he is suddenly in a very interesting position. Pitting him against no-name youngbucks doesn’t make financial sense for Top Rank; Marquez and Bradley, most likely, will still avoid fighting him. So who is left?
Answer: Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Mayweather inked a very long, very expensive deal with Showtime in 2013. The agreement essentially requires him to fight twice per year for the duration, and even if you consider the likes of Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, Austin Trout, Devon Alexander and Amir Khan legitimate possible opponents for him, he’s still way short on guys to square off against. Pitting Pacquiao and Mayweather against each other, especially now that the latter is confident he’d be able to destroy his Filipino rival, makes all the sense in the world.
This idea has been suggested in the past and received a lukewarm reaction, mostly because people say that Pacquiao doesn’t deserve a shot at Mayweather anymore. It’s an understandable position – why would a guy with back-to-back losses on his record, including one via devastating knockout, deserve a shot at the champ? The problem is, those same critics just this week suggested that Khan get a shot at Mayweather.
So Khan, coming off two meh victories on the heels of a brutal loss deserves a shot at Mayweather, but Pacquiao, presuming he beats either Alvarado or Rios, doesn’t? Is there any question that both Alvarado and Rios are both more legitimate foes than Carlos Molina and Julio Diaz?
Khan should get his shot at Mayweather, too. It’s a fight three years in the making. However, if Pacquiao gets past his next foe, he should get an opportunity to fight Mayweather first.