By John F. McKenna (McJack)
Top Rank CEO Bob Arum says that he will let WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KO’s) make his own decision as to who his next opponent will be. Arum along with Pacquiao adviser Michael Konc will travel to Manila on Sunday to discuss Manny’s plans for the New Year.
Arum will present the options Pacquiao has and the pros and cons of each potential opponent. At this point four fighters will be looked at. They are WBO/WBA lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez (53-6-1, 39 KO’s), WBA super light middleweight champion Miguel Cotto (37-2, 30 KO’s), WBO light welterweight champion Timothy Bradley (28-0, 12 KO’s) and WBA/IBF light welterweight champion Lamont Peterson (30-1-1, 15 KO’s).
Of course one of the major factors in sizing up a possible opponent for Pacquiao is that opponents projected drawing power with respect to Pay Per View (PPV) buys. Manny routinely pulls in approximately $20 million per fight at this stage of his career. Whoever he chooses to fight next will have to be a fighter who is capable of bringing in huge PPV buys to the match.
Manny’s last opponent Juan Manuel Marquez has demonstrated that he has the ability to pull in large PPV numbers. The Pacquaio – Marquez fight on November 12 did over 1.4 million PPV buys. The concern with another Pacquiao – Marquez fight however, is that each of their three fights has been controversial and it is uncertain that boxing fans would pay to see yet another fight between the two. In addition, a Pacquiao loss to Marquez would scuttle a Mega fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Miguel Cotto has a huge fan base and although he is huge draw in the Hispanic community he was dismantled by Pacquiao in 2009 and it is thought by many boxing fans that he would fall easy prey to Manny in a rematch.
Timothy Bradley is undefeated and is considered by many to be a formidable opponent for Pacquiao. Although he has a low KO percentage relative to the number of fights he has had he is a tough and dangerous opponent primarily because of the third weapon he carries into the ring with him. His unshaven head, which intentional or not has been responsible for a number of butts in recent bouts. His other major drawback is that he has never been known to draw a huge amount of fans to his fights.
Lamont Peterson was elevated to the status as a possible opponent for Manny due to his recent impressive victory over Amir Khan. The possible drawbacks to a fight with Pacquiao would be the controversial way in which he achieved victory. He achieved his win through a deduction of two points by the referee in his hometown of
Washington, D.C. Another drawback is that Peterson is not yet a household name to mainstream boxing fans.
Although Arum is quick to point out that the final decision as to who he fights next will be Manny Pacquiao’s, Uncle Bob will exert heavy influence on him reminding him that PPV buys are of the utmost importance in the opponent he chooses.