Sports

Manny Pacquiao to Fight Ruslan Provodnikov After Brandon Rios?

| by Alex Groberman

Manny Pacquiao will fight Brandon Rios this November, but nobody seems to have much faith in the underdog pulling off a shocking victory. Even though Rios is a very capable fighter who has some extremely underrated wins under his belt, fans and critics alike are expecting him to lose by decision to his Filipno counterpart.

Because everyone seems to agree on how Pacquiao-Rios will go, all attention has turned to what will happen next. Rios’ path forward seems clear: He’ll take on Mike Alvarado again. They’re both coming off losses, and each guy has already admitted that they want a third and final match-up to settle the score. Pacquiao’s next move, however, is a lot less clear.

Last week, Ruslan Provodnikov trounced Alvarado in a fight that unfortunately fell on the same night as UFC 166. As a result, a lot of people didn’t see it or hear about it. It’s a shame, too, because Provodnikov and Alvarado put on a real show.

After the bout, Freddie Roach was asked by Boxing Scene whether Pacquiao and Provodnikov would ever square off.  

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“They are good friends and I don’t think they’ll fight,” he replied, much in the same way he used to when folks would ask him about a potential match-up between Amir Khan and Pacquiao.

So there you go: Case closed, right? Not exactly.

As it turns out, Top Rank boss Bob Arum is apparently a fan of the idea.

When asked about a prospective Pacquiao-Provodnikov bout, he replied: “Why not?”

Whereas when Roach looks at Pacquiao and Provodnikov he sees teammates, when Arum looks at them he sees dollar signs.

Will this thing happen? Who knows. Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley seems like a more likely option, but if that falls through, the Filipino champ’s options are actually pretty slim. And regardless of what Roach says, if Arum is cool with a match being made, it will be made.