Home Columns Your move Manny Pacquiao: Grading 5 potential opponents for the fall

Your move Manny Pacquiao: Grading 5 potential opponents for the fall

Credit: Top Rank - Chris Farina

Who Lands Manny Pacquiao’s Next Fight, and Will We Want to See It?

Manny Pacquiao did what he was supposed to do in his rematch against Timothy Bradley, and he even got the blessing of the three blind mice this time out. So what’s next for the Filipino legend? There are plenty of potential opponents, but they’re not all ones we’d like to see.

Here, we grade 5 potential Pacquiao opponents for his next fight to find his best and most likely option.

Juan Manuel Marquez (V)

Marquez was promised a fifth go at Pacquiao should he defeat Mike Alvarado in May. Of course, promises don’t always come to fruition, and it’s easy to see how one side or the other could weasel their way of the arrangement.

If Marquez vs. Pacquiao V does happen though, you’d have to give Pacquiao and his team plenty of credit. They would be lining up for their arch-rival yet again, and we all know what happened the last time out. While the most powerful image of the rivalry is Pacquiao face-planted on the canvas, a jubilant Marquez running around the ring, hands raised, blood streaming down his face, Pacquiao could still walk away now with the leg up.

According to the official scorecards, he’s 2-1-1 versus Marquez, even if you don’t agree with all the verdicts. Another loss puts that in jeopardy, and Marquez certainly appears to hold the advantage right now. While I wasn’t gung-ho about fight number 4, after the way the last one ended, fans would certainly line up to see a fifth fight — myself included.

Grade: A

Timothy Bradley (III)

Let’s make this simple and straightforward: The only reason there was a rematch was because the judges screwed the pooch the first time. The 2nd fight was rather redundant, even it was closer and more exciting than the first. A third fight is absolutely unwarranted, and any talk of a rubbermatch is asinine.

Grade: F (I’d give it an F-, if I could)

Mike Alvarado

Alvarado makes the list because he too is theoretically promised a shot at Pacquiao, if he manages to upset Marquez. This is either Top Rank’s dream or nightmare scenario. Dream, because they avoid Marquez and, well, gee, have to fulfill their obligations to Alvarado, or nightmare, because who in the world is clamoring for Pacquiao vs. Alvarado, unless Alvarado flattens Marquez in some unforeseen fashion?

We saw Pacquiao vs. Alvarado already — it was called Pacquiao vs. Rios, and it wasn’t that good.

We’re grading Alvarado here on the assumption he somehow defeats Marquez, but doesn’t shockingly punch his skull into the third row of the stands.

Grade: C-

Ruslan Provodnikov

Provodnikov is an absolute force, a psychopathic creature of sorts when he steps through the ropes. Yes, he can and has been beaten, and yes, he has plenty of flaws. But with the momentum and confidence he has right now, most fighters are going to pay mightily to expose them.

Another area of intrigue here is the fact that Pacquiao and Provodnikov have spent so much time working together with Freddie Roach. Pacquiao would almost certainly be able to keep Provodnikov at a distance with his hand- and foot-speed, but should the fight come to fruition, it’s one you’d have to watch just in case.

Grade: B+

Canelo Alvarez

If this seems like it’s out of left field, it is. Yet, with rumors of the Golden Boy-Top Rank feud melting away, Oscar de la Hoya has taken to the streets and is apparently open to all kinds of business with Bob Arum, including Pacquiao vs. Canelo.

Keep in mind, that throwaway comment was entirely conjecture, and taking it to be anything more than that would be silly. It would be a helluva fight, and fight promotion, should it happen though — at least if Canelo defeats Erislandy Lara next time out.

Plus, if Golden Boy and Top Rank are really playing nice with one another, this fight is the perfect lead in, and measuring stick, for a match between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. We all saw what Mayweather did to Canelo, would Pacquiao be able to similarly outclass him?

Grade: A+