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Factoring Lamont Peterson into a Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather Equation

With Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s 90-day jail sentence looming over a prospective showdown versus Manny Pacquiao, the most immediate question on everyone’s mind is: What should Manny do next?

A bout between Pacquiao and Mayweather will happen at some point in 2012, that much is about as certain as it can be given this pair's history. Despite their propensity for backing out of negotiations over the most miniscule and inconsequential of slights, too much progress has been made and too many people’s bottom lines hang in the balance for the fight not to occur. As we reported on Opposing Views last week, insiders are currently whispering about November 2012 as the likely point at which we’ll finally see Pacquiao vs. Mayweather.

In the meantime, though, May 2012 is wide open and essentially begging for a big time fight starring the biggest name in the sport – Manny Pacquiao. Top Rank head honcho and Pacquiao’s very ambitious promoter, Bob Arum, has made it no secret that he would love to see his guy squeeze in a bout in May. The most talked-about rumored opponents have been Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez, though nothing definitive has been proposed by any of the parties involved.

On Tuesday, a new name was tossed into the “maybe” pile: Lamont Peterson.

The momentum behind Peterson appears to be coming from two distinct places. For one thing, as reported by the Abac Cordero of the Philippine Star, some Pacquiao stable members are questioning the logic behind fighting Marquez for a fourth time. That, coupled with the fact that nobody -- outside of Arum -- really believes Bradley is a legitimate enough fighter to challenge Pacquiao, leaves the path wide open for someone of Peterson’s ilk to swoop in. Mind you, not too long ago, Freddie Roach had this to say to Ring TV about the man who recently knocked down Amir Khan from his IBF and WBA junior welterweight champion perch: “I think that Lamont Peterson is a great opponent for Manny Pacquiao”

Pacquiao advisor, Mike Koncz, has also been receptive (though non-committal) towards a possible showdown with Peterson.

“I’m aware of the options that we have, and then, also, Lamont Peterson is another option also. We’ve had some preliminary discussions, but we’ve not sat down, Manny and I, to discuss that in depth,” he told Ring TV.

The most obvious question here is: should Pacquiao fight anyone in May if a match against Mayweather is in the cards for November?

A bout versus the undefeated champion would undoubtedly be the biggest challenge of Pacquiao’s career, thus far. Should he simply rest up and train for the momentous showdown? Or would he be better served staying in fighting shape and taking on someone along the lines of a Bradley, Marquez or Peterson to sharpen his technique before he takes his final exam versus Mayweather?

Each argument has obvious merits, and whichever option Pacquiao ultimately chooses may have a definitive impact on his overall boxing legacy.

At the moment, it looks like he’s leaning towards fighting in May. But as we’ve learned from Pacquiao and his management team over the last few years, anything is possible when this cast of characters is involved.

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