Coming out of his most recent loss, nobody knew what the future held for Manny Pacquiao. The Filipino star was knocked out in a way that nobody saw coming, and the lasting damage from the sort of hit he absorbed tends to be very unpredictable.
In the weeks directly following that Dec. 8 bout, there was a very real possibility that Pacquiao would retire. His wife, Jinkee, went on numerous shows and called for him to hang up his gloves. His mother similarly questioned whether her son should continue down his current path. Heck, even his children expressed a desire to see their father safe and sound.
Despite it all, Pacquiao resisted the pressure. In his mind – fighter’s fight. It’s not the first nor last time that a boxer will take that position, and if we’ve learned anything over the years, it’s that these guys will do whatever they want to do regardless of what anyone says.
So with that in mind, barring some sort of horrific setback, Pacquiao will fight at least one more time. The question is: who will his opponent be?
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At the moment, there appear to be two feasible options. The first should come as no surprise – it’s Juan Manuel Marquez
“I think they can do it,” said Fred Sternburg, spokesman for Top Rank, of a fifth Pacquiao-Marquez fight recently. “Bob has stated it over and over. The fight did so well financially, it is a no-brainer.
“[Pacquiao has] indicated he will fight again. Bob [Arum] has indicated September. Between the suspension and the election and campaign in Philippines, we think we can do it.”
For his part, Fernando Beltran has indicated that the Marquez camp would probably be down for one more showdown.
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“Logically, we will find what's most lucrative for him, in order to be an important fight,” Beltran told ESPN. “Juan Manuel Marquez and myself are gentlemen and we know that Pacquiao gave us an opportunity, and he didn't have to, and most probably we will give it to him.”
The second -- less talked about -- option is, apparently, Robert Guerrero. In a recent interview, Freddie Roach suggested that a Pacquiao-Guerrero bout is realistic, too.
“He [Guerrero] did quite well with Manny in sparring, it was quite competitive,” Roach said (via Eastside Boxing). “If this sparring session was like a fight, it would be a great fight because it was give and take for both guys Would we fight him? We’re not afraid of him [Guerrero] that’s for sure. Guerrero is a great fight.”
For what it’s worth, Guerrero has most recently been linked to a possible fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr. It is very doubtful that he would accept a bout against Pacquiao, who is coming off two losses in a row, when he can take on the undefeated champion. It probably makes sense from a financial standpoint (if Mayweather turns him down), but not from a career standpoint.
Then again, who would have predicted Miguel Cotto picking Austin Trout over Pacquiao? (And then losing, no less.) Boxing is unpredictable like that.
What do you think: 1.) who will Pacquiao fight next and 2.) could he even beat Guerrero at this point?