With the travesty that was Timothy Bradley’s victory over Manny Pacquiao still fresh in everyone’s minds, the onus now falls on one of them to do right by boxing fans.
The Filipino champion, of course.
In a perfect world, the responsibility to make up for that horrible, horrible decision would fall squarely on Bradley’s shoulders. After all, isn’t it enough that Pacquiao got robbed of a victory that he clearly should’ve had? Does he really also need to make up for the fact that he was screwed out of a win that every honest, unbiased observer believes he should’ve had?
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Yes. That’s the price you pay for being the best and most high profile fighter in the world.
To rid boxing fans everywhere of the disgusting taste that Pacquiao-Bradley left in their mouths, Pacquiao will need to put on a show for the ages in his next bout. Not because his status as a top-tier fighter is on the line, and not because he needs to prove his greatness – but to restore some legitimacy to the Sweet Science.
And in order to put on a great show, he’s going to need an opponent who can also put on a great show.
You’ll recall, Pacquiao is currently in the process of mulling over three potential foes for a bout that will take place on November 10 of this year. As we noted on Opposing Views last week:
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During a recent dinner with Pacquiao, Arum gave him a list of three potential opponents for November 10. As noted by the Los Angeles Times:
Pacquiao will choose from a rematch against Palm Springs' Timothy Bradley, who edged Pacquiao in a controversial split decision June 9; a fourth fight against Juan Manuel Marquez; and a rematch against former super-welterweight world champion Miguel Cotto.
Arum said Pacquiao will consider the choices while vacationing in Israel and France, then reconvene with Arum to make a final decision sometime in the middle of July.
A long-awaited bout against Floyd Mayweather Jr. "cannot happen" by Nov. 10, Arum said, saying the date was "too soon" after Mayweather's expected August release from a Nevada jail where he's serving time in a domestic violence case.
Plus, there was this report:
One boxing source on Thursday told Yahoo! Sports that it's 99 percent certain there will be a Pacquiao-Bradley rematch, but Arum said Pacquiao did not indicate that to him. Pacquiao and his wife, Jinkee, left on Tuesday for a vacation in Israel.
Put those two things together and what do you get? You get Pacquiao-Bradley II on November 10.
That’s not going to cut it.
Look, at this point, there is only one fix (well, technically, two fixes) to everyone’s problems. Pacquiao needs to entertain fans in his next bout, right? Well, out of the three potential opponents on his list, Juan Manuel Marquez makes the most sense if you're looking for excitement. Let those two fight in an epic Pacquiao-Marquez IV duel that is guaranteed to thrill fans. (It doesn’t matter how old Marquez gets, it’s his style that gives Manny fits – not his athleticism.)
Then, on the other side of the spectrum, set up a showdown between Bradley and the guy he once famously ducked – Amir Khan. (“I would love to fight Bradley at 147..." Khan famously said last month.) That match will serve as either a means of legitimatizing Bradley as a real, top-tier superstar, or it’ll knock him back down to earth. Either way, fans will be happy.
Pacquiao is facing a dilemma of sorts right now. He isn't sure what his next move should be. Well – we laid it out for him and Top Rank.
Pacquiao vs. Marquez IV and Bradley vs. Khan.
Whether or not they take our advice is on them, though.