While cleaning crews were busy scraping glitter and confetti off the Time Square pavement, Manny Pacquiao was slowly but surely mentally preparing himself for what may turn into the defining year of his boxing career.
Two days into 2012, Top Rank boss Bob Arum laid out the broad strokes of a plan that promises to challenge the Filipino champion in a way that even he isn’t used to. It's bold, unique and exciting – almost exactly what you would expect from the most high profile fighter in the sport. While talking to the good folks at the Manila Bulletin, Arum made it clear that he foresaw two fights in Pacquiao’s near future: one in May or June, and the other one towards the end of 2012.
As we noted on Opposing Views last week, Arum’s latest comments fall perfectly in line with the scenario he had been hoping for all along – one that guarantees Top Rank will milk one more solid pay day out of their No. 1 fighter before throwing him in the ring against his arch rival – Floyd Mayweather Jr. This way, regardless of whether he wins, loses or fights to a draw against his undefeated nemesis, this year will be a profitable one for Pacquiao and all the various entities that have a vested interest in the proceedings.
So far, the rumored potential candidates for the JV 2012 fight against Pacquiao have been Juan Manuel Marquez, Timothy Bradley, Lamont Peterson and Miguel Cotto. Each challenger has certain positives and negatives attached that which will ultimately determine whether or not they’ll earn a slot in the main event come May or June, but Marquez and Bradley are probably the likeliest candidates. Peterson is a wild card that has gained some traction over the last week and a half, however, he doesn’t have the allure of either Marquez or Bradley because of the former’s strong showing against Pacquiao last November and the latter’s ties to Top Rank. Cotto is a long shot and, really, doesn’t even deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as the other potential candidates.
Regardless of whom Pacquiao ends up fighting against in the coming months, one thing is for certain – this is make or break time for the Filipino champion. The two fights on his agenda have the potential to either validate his entire career or shatter it into tiny, little pieces.
It’s going to be a great year, and Opposing Views will be keeping fans updated every step of the way.