Although nothing has been made official yet, all signs currently point to Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez fighting each other this September. Should that proceed as planned, then Manny Pacquiao would have the choice of fighting either Mike Alvarado or Brandon Rios one month later. While there is currently a lot of speculation regarding which fighter the former Filipino champ will choose, the decision really doesn’t seem all that complicated.
Alvarado is coming off a win. Rios is coming off a loss. Alvarado is 32. Rios is 26. Alvarado defeated Rios via a grueling, gritty decision; Rios defeated Alvarado via knockout. Rios has one of the toughest chins in the game. Alvarado can definitely take a punch, but if he gets hit hard enough, he will wobble.
"The choice is between Alvarado and Rios," Arum said in a recent phone interview with The Telegraph.
This is not a tough choice if you’re Pacquiao or any of his many, many handlers: Unless Rios is willing to fight for free, Alvarado is clearly the guy you want to square off against. Why take on a young guy coming off a loss with something to prove when you can take on an older guy, who has already proven that he can be dropped if he’s hit hard enough? That’s not to take anything away from Alvarado, mind you – he’s a fantastic fighter. There is a very, very good chance that he’ll beat Pacquiao. He is just a better opponent, both financially otherwise, at this point in time.
Will Pacquiao ultimately choose Alvarado? Who knows. It’s not even a lock that Marquez and Bradley will meet yet. Although both camps have agreed to the bout in principal, the paperwork remains unsigned. If that unravels, we’ll be back to square one. But if that match gets arranged, then Pacquiao-Alvarado is clearly the way to go.