Manny Pacquiao’s Fallback Opponent is Timothy Bradley, but that Fight Won’t Be Necessary

| by Alex Groberman
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Manny Pacquiao doesn’t need a Plan B for this coming September, but he’s got one anyway. Despite Juan Manuel Marquez’s best efforts to make it seem as though he is contemplating fighting someone other than his Filipino counterpart in 2013, it’s clearly to everyone who understands boxing that a rematch of last December’s thriller is inevitable. That being said, because half of the negotiating process is built around lies and mistruths, understandably, the ridiculous notion that Pacquiao and Marquez will fight opponents other than each other has and will continue to be peddled.

Okay, we’ll play along.

If Pacquiao-Marquez V doesn’t happen (wink, wink), the likeliest opponent for Pacquiao would then be Timothy Bradley. Marquez, in turn, would likely land a date with Brandon Rios (presuming he gets Mike Alvarado, which he probably will).

You will recall, during an interview with Boxing Scene last week, Bob Arum said this: “Well, first [Timothy Bradley] has to beat [Ruslan] Provodnikov. If he beats Provodnikov and Rios beats Alvarado and then we’ll see what Manny [Pacquiao] and [Juan Manuel] Marquez will do. So I got four guys and we’ll mix and match. If Marquez and Manny decide to fight this year, then I’ll try to make Rios and Bradley. If Manny and Marquez won’t fight this year, one of them can fight Bradley and the other can fight Rios. So we got a lot of options there.”

Seeing as Bradley fulfilled his end of the bargain, he is now available to square off against Rios, Pacquiao or Marquez. If the latter two decide to fight each other, than obviously Rios is the lone man left without a chair and he’d take on Bradley. That has the potential to be a very interesting bout, particularly if Bradley comes out with the same ferociousness he came out with this past Saturday. If Pacquiao-Marquez V doesn’t come to fruition (it will), then Pacquiao will likely get a rematch against Bradley and Marquez will be pitted against Rios.

While some will likely clamor for Marquez-Bradley, the math for that showdown doesn’t work. It’s not that the match will do badly, per se, it just won’t do as well as Pacquiao-Bradley II will. Meanwhile, Marquez-Rios would be a fascinating stylistic battle that could do really well PPV-wise, too, presuming it’s marketed effectively. It obviously wouldn’t do Pacquiao-Marquez numbers, but it’d be the next best thing. And it’d definitely do better numbers than Marquez-Bradley.

Of course, all of this is moot. Pacquiao will fight Marquez next, and Bradley will probably get (and then lose to) Rios.