By James Slater: Ace trainer Freddie Roach says he is somewhat concerned his star fighter Manny Pacquiao may soon run out of suitable opponents to fight. The Pound-for-Pound king next faces his most testing rival, Juan Manuel Marquez, in what Pacquiao and many experts feel will be a dominant series-finisher by the Filipino dynamo; but after that, there is no definite next fight set.
The November 12th clash promises to be fiery – while it lasts, that is. Pac-Man’s conditioner Alex Ariza has recently gone on record, saying he will “be surprised if Marquez makes it past the 3rd-round.” Maybe this will be the case, maybe not. But as big a star as Pacquiao is, fans and experts are already looking ahead to his next fight or two. But who will it be that the superstar faces after he’s ended his rivalry with Mexico’s Marquez?
The one name that will forever be brought up next to Pacquiao’s – for as long as both men continue to be active – is that of Floyd Mayweather Junior. Fans are sick and tired of the way this fight has failed, for something like two years, to materialise. Roach understands this, yet he remains hopeful the fight will still happen. More than that, Roach can even envisage a trilogy between the two greats.
“You know, obviously everyone wants Mayweather,” Roach told The Philippine Star. “Of course we’re all getting a little tired hearing his name because he doesn’t want to fight Manny. But hopefully, that fight will happen. That fight is so interesting it could end up being a trilogy. Actually, it could be the last three fights for Manny, if the fight goes as we see it, because they’re both very good fighters, so it’s a fight we want.
“There’s nobody out there for Manny anymore. Manny might just end up fighting Mayweather after all.”
We all hope so, of course; even if we’ve had our fingers crossed for so long now.
In another recent interview, Pac-Man aide Michael Koncz told Ringtv.com that all Mayweather needs to do to get the ball rolling [again!] is to call him or Bob Arum up. Koncz, though, feels the fight will never be made, as Mayweather, in his opinion, “always seems to find new excuses.”
So, if it isn’t “Money” next, who could Pacquiao face? Some of the names currently going around are: Timothy Bradley, recently signed by Top Rank and facing a southpaw in Joel Casamayor on the Pacquiao-Marquez III card, Mike Jones, unbeaten welterweight contender and Amir Khan, current WBA/IBF 140-pound champ, also trained by Roach.
Regarding Khan, he recently spoke about “tension” having built in the Wild Card gym, with he and Pac-Man barely speaking to one another. Khan went as far as to suggest a fight between he and Pacquiao could even be on the cards. In a new article by Steve Bunce, “Buncey” writes how he feels a fight between the two stars could happen. Maybe.
As big as he is, Pacquiao could sign to fight just about anybody next year and the fight would sell. Mayeather aside, however, I’d be most interested in seeing Pac-Man face his stable-mate Khan. With the right promotion, such a fight could be massive. But will Roach allow it to happen, even if he is worried Manny may run out of names to fight?