In the mad scramble to find someone, anyone to fight Manny Pacquiao, the good folks from Top Rank might just have pulled a page out of Rocky IV’s handbook.
Even though Pacquiao’s upcoming November 12 match-up versus Juan Manuel Marquez has been on the agenda for months, nobody is really paying much attention to it. Rather, the entire boxing world has already impatiently shifted its glance towards the future – a future where the Filipino champion would ideally finally get a legitimate challenger to fight against.
To date, proposed fights against Floyd Mayweather Jr., Sergio Martinez and Amir Khan have not worked out for one reason or another. Be it because of personality clashes, downright shadiness or complex business ties – a match against any of those three guys, although it would be extremely appreciated by fans, is unlikely.
Timothy Bradley’s name has been floated as a possible contender to fight the champ, but even Freddie Roach thinks the notion that Bradley can beat his guy is laughable.
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"Bradley is a tough kid," Roach said recently. "But I guess that if you have to mention Tim Bradley, then I'm like, 'Is that all that we've got? Tim Bradley?' Since Bob Arum has signed him, that's what everyone is assuming - that Manny Pacquiao is next for Tim Bradley. So maybe I will have to assume that too.
"Everyone still hopes that the fight is out there with Mayweather, I'm sure. I'd rather see Mayweather against Manny than Tim Bradley against Manny. But is Pacquiao-Mayweather going to happen? We just have no idea," Roach said. "I guess if Floyd Mayweather doesn't come to the table, then that is all we've got, Tim Bradley."
So, if not any of the aforementioned superstars – who’s left for Pacquiao to fight?
Well, if you believe Roach, then perhaps a bout versus Vyacheslav Senchenko is in the cards for the Filipino champion.
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"The Ukrainian people haven't seen Manny, and Senchenko's promoters are very wealthy," Roach told the Philippine Star. "His promoters control the coal and metal mines in the country. Manny could fight Senchenko in Ukraine for a lot of money.
"In the event they meet, Manny will win easy. I remember legends like Sugar Ray Robinson when in the course of winding up their careers, they would go to fight in different countries and earn big purses. If Manny wants to do that, Ukraine would be a good destination."
A match between Pacquiao and Senchenko would be intriguing, at the very least. The Ukrainian champion, of course, has racked up 31 wins en route an undefeated record, and could legitimately stake claim to a potential superfight.
Before getting excited or making up their minds about the match, though, fans should probably hold off for confirmation from Pacquiao himself.
We've been down this road before.
As we’ve learned over the years, Pacquiao’s trainers, management and representatives have an odd tendency to say things that the Filipino champion opts to either ignore or reject altogether.
Still, if nothing else, it’s nice to know that the powers that be haven’t entirely given up on finding a worthy challenger for the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world.