The consensus about the Mayweather vs Pacquiao mega-fight was one of disappointment, but also of closure among dedicated fight fans. Mayweather performed much the way he always does, just with a greatly-hyped environment. Whether or not that hype was arbitrary is up for debate. What is not up for debate, however, is that Manny Pacquiao is and always was a champion at heart. The titles may have gone to Floyd May 2nd, but the things Pacquiao has done inside the squared circle are unforgettable.
On April 9, 2016, Manny Pacquiao is scheduled to have his next, and possible his last fight as a professional boxer. Given his legendary status, Pacquiao mostly has his pick of the litter when it comes to top opponents. As of right now, discussions for exactly who that will be are in a holding pattern, although a few names of potential match-ups have surfaced among the chatter:
Timothy Bradley – Palm Springs, California
Bradley, a Palm Springs native, has already met Pacquiao in the ring on 2 very dramatic occasions. The first (2012) signifying an extremely controversial loss which had severe backlash for Bradley. The fight had notable ebb and flow, with Bradley showing accurate punching in close range, though the crowd consensus after the final bell clearly favored Pacquiao. Bradley fought Pacquiao for a second time last year in a clear unanimous decision victory for the Filipino man. Apart from that, he has had a series of stunning displays of boxing-punching brilliance that have brought him back into the high esteem of many boxing critics. Among those names are Siberian slugger Ruslan Provodnikov, Mexican icon Juan Manuel Marquez and Jessie Vargas. Every performance has been a statement of purpose. On each occasion Bradley takes the hard route to victory: he slugs when it would be easier to box, he boxes when it would be easier to brawl. Bottom line, Timothy Bradley is ripe for a trilogy because he always sets out to prove a point when he steps into the ring.
Amir Khan – Bolton, England (U.K.)
Khan has been a dominant force throughout his boxing career, and more notably continued to be just that when he made the transition to fight on American cards from his home country of the U.K. His name has been bounced around recently because he has been in discussions of potential fights with Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, though the former has since declined that request. If anything, the reason people give credence to these potential match-ups is because Khan has the speed to give anybody a problem. When Khan steps into the ring, one of the things anybody can rely on is for him to out-speed his opponent. Now whether that would hold up to the like of Mayweather or Pacquiao is up for fans to ponder, unless of course Khan is selected as Pacquiao’s next opponent. Like Bradley, Khan has had a series of uninterrupted and impressive victories since a relatively recent loss. , and has built up is credentials by fighting top names, including common Pacquiao opponent Chris Algieri.
Terrence Crawford – Omaha, Nebraska
Crawford is the least veteran of the three potential names on this list, though he is experiencing a meteoric rise to stardom and is in the prime of his career. His undefeated professional record of 27-0 does not do his reputation justice, as his victories have demonstrated that he is able to win in spectacular fashion. Recent highlights in fights with Dierry Jean and Yuriorkis Gamboa have shown Crawford’s star quality in his ability to both fight pretty and fight gritty in order to get the job done. Given Pacquiao’s shared reputation for explosive performances, a fight with Crawford has the potential to create fireworks and be just the kind of send-off that Pacquiao deserves for his last bout.