By Mark Elezaj
LAS VEGAS – This past Saturday night, in front of a sold out crowd, Manny Pacquiao returned to the United States for the first time in 26 months to face Adrien Broner in what was a fairly one side fight. Pacquiao cruised to a unanimous decision victory by easily outpointing Broner at the MGM Grand Garden Arena to retain his welterweight world title.
Broner (33-4-1, 24 KOs), landed 50 punches per CompuBox stats, but was unable to land anything of significance to keep Pacquiao off of him.
Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KOs), who turned 40 last month, showed us that his heart, speed and movement were still there. He attacked from different angles, kept Broner on the defensive while making him look dazed and confused with no answer in sight.
After the fight, Pacquiao made it known that he would like a rematch with Floyd Mayweather, who was ringside as one of the Pacquiao-Broner promoters, if he was interested. Mayweather however did not respond to the challenge and did not say if he plans on coming out of retirement to fight Pacquiao again.
So what’s next for Manny Pacquiao if Mayweather does stay retired? Here is a list of fighters, in my opinion, that he should face to close out his already Hall Of Fame career.
1. Keith Thurman: Pacquiao’s title makes him a mandatory for current titleholder Keith Thurman. A fight with Pacquiao, who now works with PBC, would be very easy to make and promote. It’s also a fight where you have an undefeated champion in Thurman (assuming he beats Josesito Lopez this Saturday night) who brings his “A” game every time he steps inside the ring. It could make for some fireworks and excitement throughout the fight.
2. Danny Garcia: Former welterweight champion Garcia returns to the ring April 20th to face Adrian Granados. If he wins, a fight with Pacquiao could be interesting. I personally feel Garcia would be a tough opponent for Pacquiao and both fighters would make it a fan friendly fight because neither warrior backs down. This would also be an easy fight to make because both fighters are with PBC.
3. Errol Spence Jr. vs. Mikey Garcia winner: Spence defends his welterweight title against Garcia on March 16th. The winner of this fight taking on Pacquiao would make for “MUST SEE TV” and is probably the biggest fight Pacquiao can make if the Mayweather rematch doesn’t happen. Both Spence and Garcia are young fighters, both in their primes, who love to fight, not to mention that all 3 fighters fight for Premier Boxing Champions, so making this fight would be easy and promoting it would be even easier.
4. Terence Crawford vs. Amir Khan winner: Crawford defends his welterweight title against Khan on April 20th. The winner of this fight would make a strong candidate for a good fight against Pacquiao. The only issue here is that if Crawford wins, he fights for Top Rank, and being that Pacquiao left Top Rank to sign with PBC last year, the chances of Bob Arum making this fight happen would be slim to none. Now if Khan pulls off the upset, a fight with Pacquiao is very much a possibility. He’s been looking to fight Pacquiao for quite some time, and Pacquiao has stated that he would have liked to face him at some point.
Whoever Pacquiao fights next does not matter and let me tell you why. We will tune in and we will watch. We will continue to keep an eye on a 40 year old warrior who we witnessed turn back the hands of time this past Saturday night. We want to watch the buildups to his fights and we do not want to miss the outcomes. We love and respect Pacquiao for all he’s given to the sport. And finally, when it’s all said and done, we do not want to miss the opportunity to watch The Legend that is Manny Pacquiao.
~The Fighting Voice~