Five fights until 2016. That is stipulated in the new contract of Manny Pacquiao with Bob Arum’s Top Rank, and I shudder at the thought of our beloved boxing icon fighting five more bouts at a time when the junior welterweight and welterweight divisions are teeming with young and promising talent.
Never mind Floyd Mayweather Jr., who still thinks that he doesn’t need Pacquiao to validate his greatness. Call Mayweather “chicken” or coward for not facing Pacquiao, but the reality is the American took on better opposition than the Filipino in his last two fights. Don’t tell me that Timothy Bradley is better than Canelo Alvarez, or Brandon Rios can beat Marcos Maidana. I don’t even see Rios lasting five rounds with Alvarez, or Bradley getting two rounds against Maidana in fight lasting the distance.
So who will Pacquiao face in his next five fights? Maidana, Danny Garcia, Keith Thurman, Adrien Broner, or Juan Manuel Marquez? Oh my God! Good thing Marquez is no longer keen on fighting.
Before people start labeling me as “anti-Pacquiao,” let me say this: I hated to see the day when I would be writing articles or columns saying that it is time for Pacquiao to quit or slow down.
In 2008 and 2009, or the year I was The Times sports columnist for one year, I was one of the many sports writers who was very vocal for Pacquiao to take on the best, and I even did an article with veteran writer Jun Medina on how Pacquiao would fare against boxing legends Salvador Sanchez, Aaron Pryor, Alexis Arguello, Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard. I had Pacquiao winning against all of them except Leonard, who enjoys a big reach and height advantage over Pacquiao, and has speed to boot.
And naturally, I wanted to see Pacquiao bamboozle archrival Marquez and the Filipino ending his career with a flourish. My greatest fear then was Pacquiao losing via stoppage or knockout, which might substantially affect the way he fights after that. Well, that happened on December 12, 2012 when Pacquiao was knocked out cold by Marquez. And my heart cried hard.
Then came the reality check: I could no longer write articles saying or egging Pacquiao that he still has the power and speed to take on fierce competition in the ring, including Mayweather.
And whenever The Times concurrent Sports Editor edits my “reality check” columns about Pacquiao, he would jokingly say “you’re inviting a shit storm.” Well, I don’t care, because I still believe that it would be a capital sin on my part as a boxing and sports writer to make Pacquiao believe he still can take tough competition in the ring when I see otherwise.
Naturally, I want to see Pacquiao win in his next fights. But what if he decides to face Garcia, the feisty Puerto Rican who beat Amir Khan in a match he was not supposed to win?
Garcia can take a punch, as evidenced in his fight against Lucas Mathysse, which the Puerto Rican won on September 14, 2013. I doubt it if Pacquiao can still regain his punching power if he decides to square off against Garcia, because if that is not the case, the Puerto Rican will just walk through the Filipino’s punches. Scary scenario!
How about Maidana? Do we honestly believe that Pacquiao can keep Maidana at bay with his combinations, when we have seen how Maidana can land at will from weird angles? Go ask Mayweather.
Meanwhile, Keith Thurman has scary punching power. Need I say more?
A fight with Alvarez is a totally insane idea, because the Mexican is big and strong, and took Mayweather’s best power rights without hitting the deck. Do you think that Pacquiao’s best shots against Bradley will have an effect on Alvarez? Nada. Zero. Zilch.
So I won’t kid the public by saying that Pacquiao can still deck it out with respectable opposition for another five fights until 2016. On the other hand, feeding Pacquiao tomato cans or cream puffs won’t generate impressive pay-per-view figures (PPV). Just look at the Pacquiao-Bradley 2 PPV figures.