Manny Pacquiao’s next fight will be against Juan Manuel Marquez. Regardless of what anyone says in March, that is what's going to happen in September. However, because neither man has signed on the bottom line yet, understandably a lot of folks are discussing other potential options for them. Marquez has been linked to Brandon Rios, Pacquiao to Timothy Bradley.
After Bradley’s mildly controversial victory over Ruslan Provodnikov on Saturday night, there seems to be a new wave of enthusiasm for Pacquiao-Bradley II.
There shouldn’t be.
First and foremost, let’s pause for an important point: Bradley deserved to beat Provodnikov. That decision was not controversial, contrary to what some would have you believe. While the challenger clearly had his bright spots throughout the bout, he was neither as consistent nor as impressive as his counterpart.
Bradley landed nearly 100 more punches, threw nearly 400 more punches and landed with more accuracy from start to finish. Beyond that, he showed on numerous occasions that he wasn’t afraid to brawl – something fans hadn’t seen from him in a long, long time. The judges ruled it 115-112, 114-113, 114-113 in Bradley’s favor, and they were entirely correct in their assessment of how the fight should have been scored.
Now, with that out of the way – Bradley's next bout should not come against Pacquiao.
From a financial standpoint, this would be a disastrous event. Their first match in 2012 drew awful pay-per-view totals, and that was before anyone knew how bland of a show they would put on. Because neither man is capable of knocking the other out, any fight featuring these two would inevitably just be a lot of dancing around the ring and swinging at air. And because there is no ‘unfinished business’ (Pacquiao clearly won on the last go-round), there is no storyline to sell the proceedings.
Along the same lines, from a boxing standpoint, neither man has anything to gain from fighting the other. Bradley has to begin defending his belt against younger competition; Pacquiao is all about legacy at this point, he needs to beat top-tier opponents like Marquez, Rios or Floyd Mayweather.
A win over the other wouldn’t result in any significant impact on either man’s pound-for-pound status.
The push for a Pacquiao-Bradley rematch is understandable given the show everyone saw last night – but it shouldn’t and won’t happen. Both guys have better options on the table than each other.