Merchant Breaks Down The Mayweather, Pacquiao Options

By Chris Robinson

It remains to be seen who exactly Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr., the sport’s two biggest attractions, will face next. While the thought of them finally meeting up with one another is of most interest, it’s a clash that doesn’t seem likely to happen next.
Mayweather recently received a delay on a 90-day jail sentence he had been eyeing for January 6th and is again in the clear to pursue a May 5th assignment at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. The two names having risen to the surface in the media that he may indeed fight are that of former champion Robert ‘The Ghost’ Guerrero and Mexican superstar Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.
Pacquiao is coming off of a controversial majority-decision over Juan Manuel Marquez on November 12th and his promoter Bob Arum seems to prefer a June return for the Filipino idol. A fourth fight with Marquez, a rematch with junior middleweight champion Miguel Cotto, and fights with junior welterweight titleholders Lamont Peterson and Timothy Bradley are all said to be options for Pacquiao at this point.
There’s a lot of big names and options on the table and in the coming days and weeks we will get a better sense of how everything is going to play out. For now, all one can do is play matchmaker and ponder the possibilities.
I had spoken with veteran HBO analyst Larry Merchant about the current situation for our ongoing weekly column and he had more than just a few thoughts to share, even calling me back after our initial conversation to add a few more thoughts.
In his own words, this is what the always-outspoken Merchant had to say about everything…
Thoughts on Pacquiao’s next move…
“A fourth fight with Marquez. Look, the other three fights have been very good fights, but I don’t know that people would want to see a fourth one. I think they’ve seen it already. My guess is that Top Rank would like to see him fight Cotto, and then that way they can keep Cotto. Maybe they can make some case for Cotto, so I don’t know why Pacquiao would go up a division to fight him. That doesn’t seem like the smartest move. It would come down, in large measure, to money. How much money you would give one fighter and how much you would give the other fighter. I’m just not sure.”
What he would hope for…
“Again, Mayweather and Pacquiao have made so much money without fighting each other, because their opponents don’t get a lot of money, but get enough to where it’s still the biggest purse they can make. I don’t how that calculation comes. I would hope Pacquiao would say that he wants to fight Mayweather and Mayweather would say he wants to fight Pacquiao.”
Miguel Cotto reviving his career after his November 2009 loss to Pacquiao…
“I thought the whole idea that his career was done was a little bit of a stretch. He took a bad beating from Margarito and the question in the air was how would he deal with that? He fought a tough fight with Pacquiao, at least for the first part of the fight. Some case can be made that he’s always fought entertaining fights. That maybe would shape up as the toughest one. I’m not sure that’s what Pacquiao would want. Pacquiao stopped him in the twelfth round but he ended up getting a busted eardrum and now Cotto is fighting at a higher weight class. I think, you can correct me if I’m wrong, [Pacquiao] fought Margarito as a junior middleweight but he hasn’t fought anybody else about welterweight that I recall.”

Why the public may not be interested in Pacquiao-Marquez IV…
“I don’t know if there’s time to make a Mayweather fight by May. It would seem that if they really wanted to do it, they could. The conventional wisdom seems to be that they’re going to fight somebody else right now. I would say, fight-wise, every fight with Marquez has been a good fight. So if you’re looking for the best possible fight, that’s the best possible fight but I’m not sure the public has the appetite for it now.”
Respecting Timothy Bradley…
“Look, I’ve always liked Bradley, but I’d be as curious as everybody else. I don’t think he brings anything to the dance as far as being a publicly recognized figure but as a fighter he’s a tough out. But he hasn’t fought anybody as nearly as good as Pacquiao but he’s strong, he’s tough, and he has a very awkward style. And I would like to see that fight. If you wanted to see Pacquiao in with somebody new, from a point of view of a boxing person, yeah, I’d like to see that fight.”
Whether Bradley would be upset if Lamont Peterson landed a shot at Pacquiao…
“It would upset me. But he signed with Arum and whatever deal he has is the deal he made. It’s business and you have to remember that Top Rank let Peterson go. They had both Petersons. Would Peterson want to go back to somebody who didn’t think enough of him to keep him? Yeah, if they can make that fight, sure, it’s business. If you were Bradley, sure you would be disappointed. You signed with the expectations of getting that fight and they would give it to a guy you beat in a one-sided fight in Peterson? Yeah, I’d kind of be upset, wouldn’t you? But that’s what he signed on for.”

Whether Peterson’s style would serve Pacquiao well…
“Before his fight with Amir Khan, I always thought of Peterson as a boxer, a guy who was very happy to stay outside. He would, at times, apply pressure. But that he’s very comfortable standing on the outside. He’s several inches taller than Pacquiao and I’m not sure he’s going to come in just looking to fight a guy who is as quick as strong as Manny is. But look, he got himself a draw with Ortiz, he got a decision over Khan, so maybe he belongs in the conversation.”

Thoughts on Cotto’s career if Miguel pushes forward as a free agent…
“It’s easy enough to want that, but is he in a real position to do that? In other words, right now he’s a free agent and I don’t think that Top Rank is going to put him into a fight with Pacquiao, who generates tremendous amounts of money, without some kind of contract or rematch clause or something that binds him to them. He could fight Mayweather, he could fight Alvarez, he could fight Chavez Jr. All those guys are out there. But the promoters of those guys are going to require some kind of commitment from them, should he beat their guy.”

A bargaining position or a reality for Cotto?
“Mayweather is in a different level in terms of his ability to draw and being a free agent. Cotto, he is an attraction and maybe he feels he can fight people other than those guys. What if he says ‘I’ll fight Peterson’? They’re both free agents. And [if he would] fight him at a catch weight. But if he wants to fight one of the big guys for the big money, he’s going to have to make a commitment to the promoter, because those big guys, meaning Pacquiao and Mayweather, have options. It’s a bargaining position. I don’t know if it’s a reality. Every fighter would like to be independent, go wherever he wants to go, and to a certain degree, he can do those things, but if he wants to fight the top guys with other promoters, it’s going to be hard.”

What kind of deal can be made…
“From the Pacquiao side, if he doesn’t fight Mayweather, then there are two choices to me. One would be Marquez IV, because all the other fights have been such good fights, there’s not a reason we shouldn’t have a fourth one. But I understand if everybody thinks they’ve seen this movie before. And if it’s not Marquez then it should be Bradley. He’s an unbeaten American fighter and a tough out. Nobody’s even gotten him out yet. He has dominated Peterson in their fight, Peterson being the only other guy being mentioned. Peterson should have a rematch with Amir Khan. What fight is made is impendent on the kind of deals that can be made.”

Time is not an issue for Pacquiao-Mayweather…
“And I still don’t see why there isn’t enough time to make Pacquiao-Mayweather if they both want to make it. Time is not the issue here, in my view. That’s my take on that situation. It’s a good thing for boxing that there are so many possibilities. These are the weight classes that are the most alive and well and dynamic, and there are good matches to be made. It’s where the action is and hopefully the best fights will be made.”

If Pacquiao-Mayweather can’t be made…
“If that can’t be made, then the Mayweather race comes down to Cotto or Alvarez. There’s something to be said for both of them. Cotto’s fought the best guys out there, he always fought hard. He’s beaten most of them. And he’s earned this kind of fight. He wished that Mayweather would have fought him when he was in his prime. But that’s a perfectly good fight. Cotto brings the fan base, so does Mayweather. That would be a big fight. Canelo is an intriguing possible opponent for Mayweather because he’s got a massive fan base, he’s such an intriguing personality and fighter. He’s never fought anybody on the elite level, but he’s a naturally bigger guy and much, much younger guy. It would be a very big event.”

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User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by LeadUppercut on 01-10-2012

[QUOTE=LeadUppercut;11650353]Oh really, genius..... [B]Mayweather Dares Pacquiao: Step Up and Fight You Punk![/B] [url][/url][/QUOTE] Did I just kill this thread ? :D

Comment by LeadUppercut on 01-10-2012

[QUOTE=komandante;11647288]Floyd is still on duck mode with Pac..[/QUOTE] Oh really, genius..... [B]Mayweather Dares Pacquiao: Step Up and Fight You Punk![/B] [url][/url]

Comment by budfr on 01-09-2012

[QUOTE=flint;11647384]nothing new here. all boxing roads lead to floyd money mayweather. the real p4p king and undefeated fighter of the last decade and it continues into the next. there's no blue print to beat the most skilled fighter of this…

Comment by WESS on 01-09-2012

Floyd delays jail time.... so now Pac has already become the biggest coward of 2012.... I heard Pac is taking JMM to court for giving him the worst cut to his eye in human history. Word is, Pac's eye fell…

Comment by delpilar on 01-09-2012

Floyd has a dance partner since last year. Guerrero is his name.

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