Boxing/MMA

Manny Pacquiao Gets Clear Path to Juan Manuel Marquez or Timothy Bradley, Thanks to Ruslan Provodnikov

If Manny Pacquiao is able to get past Brandon Rios this November, as most people figure he will, the options for his next fight are pretty slim. Heading into this weekend, potential opponents were limited to: Timothy Bradley, Juan Manuel Marquez and Mike Alvarado. The threat of Floyd Mayweather Jr. always looms, obviously, but given his history with Pacquiao it’s impossible to really include him on the list.

Marquez and Bradley would be Pacquiao’s preferred options, in that order, but history complicates matters.

For whatever reason, Marquez has ducked Pacquiao ever since defeating him at the end of last year. Despite the fact that he’d make more money than he’s ever made it in life, and even though a second victory would legitimize him as one of the best fighters of his generation, Marquez has continually snubbed his Filipino rival.

Along the same lines, still salty about the fact that everyone knows that he only beat Pacquiao because of a judging debacle, Bradley has also turned down career high paydays in an effort to avoid fighting Pacquiao again.

So what does that mean? It means that, unfortunately, Pacquiao-Alvarado was a very realistic early 2014 match-up. However, thanks to Ruslan Provodnikov destroying Alvarado on Saturday night, fans will no longer have to endure that. There is no longer any justifiable reason to pit Pacquiao against Alvarado.

More likely than not, Rios and Alvarado will fight each other since both will be coming off losses. Pacquiao, meanwhile, will get a crack at either Marquez or Bradley. More likely the latter than the former, even though fans would prefer the former and not the latter. Either way, though, Provodnikov spared us of a terrible bout, and for that we should all be thankful.

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