Manny Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum said the WBC welterweight champ will be back in the ring again in November. He’s not sure who it will be against, because Pacquiao's got a date with Shane Mosley in Vegas on May 7.
As usual, Arum listed the names of Floyd Mayweather Jr., Andre Berto, and Juan Manuel Marquez as possible opponents. And, of course, he said Mayweather’s the preferred choice.
It’s about time Arum gave it a rest though. We all know Mayweather’s future lies in the hands of the American judicial system. He’s facing 34 years in the slammer if convicted of various domestic matters and other things, so why not just put a sock in it and forget about Mayweather for now?
But what are Arum’s plans if the unthinkable happens and Mosley beats the Filipino sensation. Right, it may not be likely, but it’s still a distinct possibility. After watching 42-1 underdog Buster Douglas beat the hell out of Mike Tyson for 10 rounds 20 years ago, you’ve got to realize anything can happen in boxing. And Mosley’s sure not going to be anywhere near a 42-1 underdog. The guy’s a former world champ, a good fighter, and has some decent power in his fists still.
So let’s imagine for argument’s sake that Mosley dethrones Pacquiao in May and there’s no rematch clause in the contract. What would you do if you were Pacquiao’s team. Put him right back in the ring against a tough opponent or let him gain his confidence by fighting a name opponent who doesn’t appear to be a threat?
It would all depend on how Pacquiao lost. If it was by a close decision, then he shouldn’t have any doubts about his abilities and I’d put him right back on the horse against anybody. However, if he gets knocked out or takes a beating, then I think he’d need to come back more gradually. But who would you match him up against at welterweight if that’s the goal?
Would a fight against Mexicans Marco Antonio Barrera (67-7, 43Kos) or Erik Morales (51-6, 35 Kos) fit the bill? They’re both big-name fighters and former opponents of Pacquiao. Morales is only 34, but he sat out for almost three years after losing four fights in a row, including being knocked out twice by Pacquiao. He’s on the comeback trail now though and has won three in a row against mediocre opposition.
Morales is scheduled to meet hard-hitting Marcos Maidana in April though in a bout that many fear is suicide for the Mexican legend. But if Morales somehow beats Maidana, his stock will surely rise and will be considered a worthy opponent if he can make it to welterweight. And let’s not forget, Morales is the last man to beat Pacquiao when he earned a split decision over him back in 2005. His first comeback fight last March was also fought at welterweight.
As for Barrera, he just turned 37 and is also back in the ring after taking 15 months off after losing a technical decision to Amir Khan. But Barrera’s been beaten by Pacquiao already by a wide unanimous decision and late-round KO, so let’s rule him out.
The best option might be to take on 24-year-old Devon Alexander, who’s considered a top American boxer, but doesn’t seem to have the power to hurt Pacquiao. Alexander recently lost his WBO version of the Jr. welterweight title in a decision to WBC champ Timothy Bradley.
If Pacquiao loses to Mosley, other boxing opponents who could get down to welterweight could be the loser of the Miguel Cotto vs Ricardo Mayorga matchup, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Saul Alvarez, Cornelius Bundradge, and Yuri Foreman. As for pure welterweights, we have Matthew Hatton, Mike Jones, Soulemane M’Baye, Alfonso Gomez, Randall Bailey, Carlos Quintana, and Luis Collazo.
Arum should have a backup plan in place just in case Pacquiao does lose to Mosley. And it better be a good one, because two losses in a row would do considerable damage to Pacquiao’s boxing career right now.