Manny Pacquiao | Does He Need a 'Big Name' Opponent in November?Written by Lee Cleveland
Due to a lack of availability or public sentiment, none of the four 'big name' fighters being bantered most by Top Rank and media outlets are ideal candidates for Manny Pacquiao in November.
Floyd Mayweather, Jr
In addition to Mayweather's PEDs testing and purse demands, the WBA Jr Middleweight Champion will have been incarcerated nearly 90 days when he leaves prison in late August or September and its not likely he'll want to immediately thrust himself into training and attempt to be physically and psychologically ready for a fighter of Manny's caliber in 8-12 weeks.
Given the circumstances, Mayweather vs Pacquiao in November 2012 is not impossible but highly unlikely.
On May 5th, 2012, Floyd Mayeather and Miguel Cotto showcased a brilliant display of brutality and skill. And Miguel Cotto, despite dropping a unanimous decision to Mayweather, became one of the few fighters to expose chinks in Floyd's armour, making the freakishly-skilled "Money May" look like a mere human at times.
Considered as a possible Manny Pacquiao opponent last January, Cotto, who lost to Manny in 2009, refused to drop back down from Jr Middleweight (154 lbs) to Welterweight (147 lbs) to fight Pac Man and thereby paved the way for Pacquiao vs Bradley. And now, the latest rumors suggest the Puerto Rican will seek new spoils six pounds north in the middleweight (160 lbs) division and possibly face the winner of September's super-bout between Sergio Martinez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
But even if Cotto doesn't jaunt to middleweight, a rematch with Manny Pacquiao is unlikely unless the Filipino congressman accepts a non-catchweight jr middleweight (154 lb) match.
Juan Manuel Marquez
It's no secret Pacquiao vs Marquez IV is the bout Top Rank head Bob Arum is seemingly pushing for most but do fans really want to see another close, controversial outcome with no resolution in the end? Do they really want to see another fight that will likely end with one fighter and his fans crying, "Robbery!"
It's happened three times already with Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez and its likely happen again. Although no one can dispute Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez are, stylistically, matched for thrilling, action-packed bouts both fighters have equally intriguing opponents aside from each other.
Controversy sells and labeling the outcome of Pacquiao vs Bradley 'controversial' would be a colossal understatement.
Although thorough investigations have cleared the Pacquiao vs Bradley judges of any wrong-doing and, over time, more boxing writers and insiders have come forward and backed the decision, herd mentality still supports the notion Pacquiao steamrolled Bradley. As a result, many believe Bradley isn't even in the same league with the Filipino slugging sensation and isn't worthy of a rematch, despite the fact he owns Manny's title and is an undefeated, top 12 pound-for-pound fighter.
Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez
As a future opponent for Manny Pacquiao, Canelo is a dark-horse to begin with. He fights seven pounds north of Manny and is a naturally a much bigger man. However, even the popular 22 year old WBC Jr Middleweight Champion is unavailable as his promoters confirmed weeks ago he's been stated to defend his title September 15th against a fighter to be announced soon.
Manny Pacquiao: Does He Really Need a 'Name' Opponent?
Does Manny Pacquiao need to fight another 'big name' to ensure his next bout is a box office success? Based on the numbers for Pacquiao vs Clottey and Pacquiao vs Bradley, the answer is seemingly a resounding, "No!"
Despite relatively little time to promote Manny's bout against Joshua Clottey, an opponent lacking a fan base, roughly 700,000 pay-per-view buys were generated. Moreover, Senior vice-president for sports operations and Pay-Per-View at HBO Mark Taffet said the bout garnered $35.3 million in domestic revenue.
The pay-per-view buys, according to Taffet, was a nice surprise given Clottey's unknown status as a fighter and the fact the bout lacked a compelling storyline or angle. The event leaned soley on Pacquiao's popularity and was a modest hit.
Pictured: HBO's Mark Taffet, Senior Vice-president for Sports Operations and Pay-Per-View
"We are extremely pleased with the pay-per-view performance of Pacquiao-Clottey. Fight like this traditionally do not exceed 400,000 buys," said Taffet in a statement.
"It is a testament to the popularity of Pacquiao and the vitality of the sport. And it gives us great encouragement.... "
The match, which Pacquiao won via a lopsided decision, was held last March 13, 2010 at Jerry Jones' massive Dallas Cowboys Stadium and the Filipino superstar purportedly earned $15 Million USD.
But there's more... Evidence suggests Manny Pacquiao's stock has risen considerably since the Clottey bout.
Pacquiao vs Bradley last June awarded Manny his largest guaranteed purse to date - a whooping $26 Million USD. In addition, the bout garnered over 900,000 pay-per-views. Considering that no one, aside from boxing's die-hard fans, had ever heard of Timothy Bradley prior to fight being announced, the event was an even a bigger success than Pacquiao vs Clottey, revenue-wise.
"First of all, the closed circuit was off the charts....the biggest Manny closed circuit ever. It drew very, very favorably with Cotto-Mayweather, so that was good. The pay-per-view, that's still being counted, but it will be anywhere between 900K and a million, which is very good - considering that we were up against the [Heat vs. Celtics] basketball game, considering that nobody knew who Bradley was. We are definitely going to do over 900K," Top Rank Founder Bob Arum told BoxingScene.com.
The fight also generated an impressive live gate of $8,963,180 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas resulting from 13,229 tickets sold.
Although not financially impactful, Google Insights found the query 'pacquiao' finished as the 9th highest trending sports-related term and 4th highest sport-related entity, internationally, in June. And in the United States, the host nation for Pacquiao vs Bradley, the search term 'pacquiao vs bradley' finished above 'nba finals' and the query 'pacquiao' trended higher than 'lebron james' and 'miami heat' in the month of June 2012.
Simply put, Pacquiao vs Bradley generated interest: 1) at the gate 2) on PPV and 3) on the Internet.
Is Manny's next bout is likely to generate even more interest than Pacquiao vs Bradley? The answer is not known but given all the buzz and controversy following the Bradley fight, interest in Manny's next bout might be heightened because fans will undoubtedly want to see how the fight legend returns after suffering his first loss in seven years.
Has Manny's confidence been shaken? Will Manny be more aggressive? Will he load-up more on his punches? Or will he be sloppy and make mistakes in a vain attempt to get a knockout, something that's alluded Manny Pacquiao since 2009?
Has Manny, who turns 34 in December, lost a step? Fans will be tuning-in in November no matter who he faces.
Lastly, Tim Bradley, an undefeated two-time champion, received a healthy $5 Million USD for his controversial rumble with Pacquiao June 9th but Top Rank can undoubtedly negotiate another relatively unknown opponent who fights under a different banner into accepting less money. After all, Joshua Clottey received a handsome but modest $1.2 Million USD.
Fighting Manny Pacquiao on the big stage is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. For a fighter without a fan base, the opportunity itself trumps money.
Manny Pacquiao, like Floyd Mayweather Jr, is still on the top of the boxing world. His next bout will be a hit no matter who he fights.
Aside from the aforementioned big names who are either unavailable or won't be received well by the public, there are a number of quality opponents in the jr welterweight and welterweight divisions, some with world titles and some without.
Top Rank could quite easily match Manny with another young, hot prospect and ultimately sell an intriguing, competitive highly-grossing event with a compelling storyline or angle that will benefit all parties - the fighters, promoters and, most of all, the fans.