What’s Next for Pacquiao? (Matchmaking for a Downward Bound Legend)

By Paul Magno on July 17, 2018
What’s Next for Pacquiao? (Matchmaking for a Downward Bound Legend)
The 8-division world champ gets to call all the shots now. (Wendell Alinea/MP Promotions)

Whether your guy is a four-round novice or a future first ballot Hall of Famer, the focus is always on risk vs. reward…

With his current level of career self-determination and apparent promotional free agent status, the 39-year-old 8-division world champ gets to call all the shots now. Throw in a new, Pacquiao-hungry Asian home base that will fully and enthusiastically support the matches Pacquiao chooses for himself and one begins to see the reality of Manny’s new boxing world.

Lucas Matthysse, who Pacquiao plowed through in seven one-sided rounds last Saturday night in Kuala Lumpur, was the perfect opponent for this new period of Pacquiao’s professional life. The Argentine had a marketable name, a reputation as a fearsome two-fisted KO artist, and a “world” title. He was also tailor-made to be eaten alive by the Filipino icon, a fighter whose deepest deficiencies played into Pacquiao’s greatest strengths. It was not a matter of WHETHER Pacquiao would win, but how and when he would do so. It was such perfect matchmaking that it almost seemed as though Bob Arum was still calling the shots in Pacquiao’s career.

Expect more of the same careful matchmaking as Pacquiao moves on from here, whether it’s for two more fights or ten more.

This means, forget about Terence Crawford. It also means Manny’s not looking to deal with the politics (or risk) of the main stage PBC welters (Errol Spence, Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, or Danny Garcia). As “regular” WBA champ, he is technically the mandatory opponent for “super” champ Thurman, but the WBA will do what Pacquiao feels like doing and it’s quite possible that we may soon see the sanctioning body strip Thurman for inactivity while promoting Pacquiao to full champ status.

At this point a Vasyl Lomachenko bout is more publicity ploy than actual, doable prizefight. Lomachenko, himself, has been critical of the idea of fighting Pacquiao, concerned over the need to climb up to yet another weight class and dismissive of a big, but meaningless payday that will be seen as a novelty fight against a past-his-prime legend. But, of course, there may, at some point, be enough money in a Pacquiao fight to make Lomachenko reconsider his “It’s good money, but that’s not why I’m fighting” mindset.

So, if Pacquiao won’t be fighting the welterweight elite and likely won’t be taking on Lomachenko in a catchweight mega-fight anytime soon, who WILL he fight next?

The cynic would point to a shot Mike Alvarado as potentially next. Alvarado is being primed to be some sort of sacrifice with five straight soft touch wins on high-profile undercards since being run through the Provodnikov-Marquez-Rios wringer in 2012-2015.  Rumors had Alvarado lined up for Pacquiao before Jeff Horn got the opponent slot last year.

There are plenty of other fringe welterweights who fit the right profile for a Pacquiao fight. Most would be very eager to risk another likely “L” for a big payday and the ever-so-slight chance of flipping the script in a big way. Even Jeff Horn could be shipped off to Singapore or wherever Manny fights next and sold as the bad guy Manny must defeat in a bid for revenge and redemption.

And speaking of revenge and redemption, there’s one HUGE option out there for Pacquiao, one which makes “purists” shudder and soil themselves ever so slightly—Floyd Mayweather.

Mayweather vs. Pacquiao 2, in Dubai, staged at the richest beach resort in the world? It’s just one mega-rich investor away from being a possibility and, like it or not, it would do HUGE worldwide business.

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  1. George Otto, Esq., The Jerry Quarry Foundation and 04:17pm, 07/18/2018

    Regarding Gene Tunney (GT), while he did suffer a terrible beating at the hands of HOFer Harry Greb, he easily avenged that loss on at least three other occasions in rematches with that formidable legend.  Also, GT did the following.  He enhanced his educational level, married and stayed with Andrew Carnegie’s favorite niece (Polly Lauder) until his death, avoided the pitfalls of extensive criminal behaviors, extensive substance abuse, and wagering, did not support any questionable hangers’ on and family members, mistresses, or out of wedlock children, avoided spending considerable time in gambling facilities , saloons, and strip clubs, as well as investing money in questionable and highly speculative financial ventures, and, finally, seemingly raised, for the most part, responsible and law-abiding children.  In addition to all of that, and this is very important, GT did not leaving boxing on the downside of his career, a victim of self-deception, self-destruction, and delusional thinking.  While I have greatly admired MP for many reasons, he might want to leave now—-before he suffers permanent damage from evolving and serious permanent injuries.  A mind is a terrible thing to waste—-especially when someone like MP has done a lot already to have a productive life outside of boxing.

  2. Kid Blast 04:05pm, 07/17/2018

    Gene Tunney was in a class by himself. He was a one-of-a-kind.

  3. Lucas McCain 03:12pm, 07/17/2018

    Gene Tunney was the model of making a clean break from boxing, though he was impelled by a one-day memory loss after getting clocked in a sparring session.  His last bout came the same year he married a Polly Lauder, a steel heiress, and he had many interests outside sports.  Presumably Pacquaio has his own outside interests through politics, but he relies on boxing for the glamour.

  4. Chico Salmon 12:09pm, 07/17/2018

    And Ali and Louis were gone before they turned 40 years of age.

  5. Chico Salmon 12:03pm, 07/17/2018

    Lindy Lindell.. Ali and Louis DID NOT fight the best out there at the end of their careers. Louis had his bum of the month club, and Jersey Joe wasn’t that highly regarded before the first Louis fight. Ali? Are you kidding me. Ali COMPLETELY AVOIDED A REMATCH WITH FOREMAN, AND A FOURTH MATCH WITH NORTON, and fought people like Chuck Wepner, Richard Dunn, Jean Pierre Coopman, Alfredo Evangelista, the one dimensional Earnie Shavers who had been kayoed by Quarry and even Ron Stander, and Leon Spinks, etc.

  6. Lindy Lindell 11:33am, 07/17/2018

    The absolute best fighters—Ali, Louis, Sugar Ray Leonard, Dempsey, Hagler fought the best that was out there at the ends of their careers (okay, I’m cutting Ray a little slack with his match against Camacho, but when you get kayoed by the old Hector C., it’s time to give it up).  Of course, there are more exceptions than the first list will bear—Roy Jones, James Toney, Tommy Hearns, Evander Holyfield, dragged out their careers to the embarrassment of their handlers and fans. Without explicitly stating, I think Paul Magno is saying that when a fighter is not willing to fight the best, it is time to quit.

  7. ana uy 09:23pm, 07/16/2018

    This hater author Paul Magno just can’t be objective. He has no credibility. The articles he churned out just exposed him to be nothing but a writer unworthy of respect.

  8. Roger Manalco 07:33pm, 07/16/2018

    Alvarado doesnt deserver the limelight not will give interest to the public.  Amir Khan has been very vocal to fight Manny.  I guess he is a worthy opponent who just came from a win and he claims to be backed up by some Arabs willing to finance the fight against Pacman.  Bring it on to Manila and give the Pinoys a treat.  At least before he retires.

  9. Reynaldo H. Bellocillo 03:44pm, 07/16/2018

    Paul Magno is simply a hater, no doubt about that…continue being salty Paul

  10. Kid Blast 03:02pm, 07/16/2018

    Alvarado is totally shot. Manny deserves better.

  11. Lijo Paul 02:58pm, 07/16/2018

    You are a hater and full of shit. Why put Alvarado in the mix when in fact he rejected him before. I watched how most of these top welterweights fight. I believe Pacman can still beat these guys convincingly except for crawford.  Though he can give him a good fight , perhaps even beat him.

  12. Will 01:11pm, 07/16/2018

    Don’t be so quick in discrediting the PacMan’s newest achievement…for this reason a lot of your so called regular welterweight champs will be threatened by the big come back win of the PacMan and you will burn this article of yours upside down when to your surprise Manny will annihilate one of them one day…

  13. Edroland 12:47pm, 07/16/2018

    Manny Pacquiao is one of the greatest boxer of all time in the great tradition of Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson, Joe Louis etc….Give the guy some respect and, by the way, your condescending attitude towards Manny Pacquiao is appalling

  14. Kid Blast 12:06pm, 07/16/2018

    Sensible possibilities are Thurman, Broner, Porter, Kahn, Danny Garcia, but stay away from Crawford, Spence and especially Loma.

    Personally, I’d love to see him fight Juan Manuel Pedquez one more time.

    Mayweather also is a possibility.

  15. Chico Salmon 10:45am, 07/16/2018

    Pacquiao has fought the best of his era and is way past his prime, so I say Mr. Pacquiao has earned the right to be somewhat selective or choosy about who he fights. Get real here, and give the guy a break,  Manny is 40 years old and has been fighting a long, long time.

  16. wbox 10:17am, 07/16/2018

    Pacman fought the fiercest, biggest, the strongest, the biggest names in boxing, and demolished them all.  What perfect matchmaking and tailor made are you talking about Mr. Magno? Pacman would have detached Mayweather’s head if they fought on their prime and with “fair” boxing authorities.

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