Manny Pacquiao is once again the talk of the boxing world. He made himself a winner again after he knocked out Argentina’s Lucas Matthysse (his first KO win since taking down Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto back in 2009) back on July 15th to win the WBA’s welterweight crown. Heading into that fight in Malaysia, “The Pac-Man” had gone 5-4 in his last nine fights. All five wins came by decision, some of them after lackluster efforts.. The losses however looked like this…..
A controversial split decision loss to Timothy Bradley in June of 2012, getting knocked out in his fourth fight with Mexico’s Juan Manuel Marquez in December of that same year, the infamous unanimous decision loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in May of 2015, and then highly debated unanimous decision loss to Jeff Horn just last year. It was after the Horn loss in particular that led many to believe that the 39-year-old Pacquiao should hang up his gloves and focus on his political career. That belief got even stronger when the Filipino senator parted ways with long-time trainer Freddie Roach.
Boxing’s only eight-division world champion however was able to tune out the noise, and find his old school self in order to dominate Matthysse. So much so that Pacquiao was able to put him down in the seventh round. So now we have two things happening in the welterweight division; not only is Pacquiao looking for his next opponent to prove that he’s still got it, there are fighters lining up to get in the ring with the legend. There are even some Hispanic fighters who’s names have popped up as possible opponents.
Here are some of those Latino fighters who could get the next shot at Manny Pacquiao (60-7-2)…..
Lucas Matthysse (39-5)- A rematch would be the most obvious choice here. Critics say that he underestimated Pacquiao, and that he didn’t think Pacquiao would bring his “A-Game”. Perhaps he was expecting the Pacquiao that was still reeling from the Horn loss to show up, or it was just simply that Pacquiao found himself again and he just happened to do so against Matthysse. Either way, a rematch could bring out the truth.
Danny Garcia (34-1)- Born in Philadelphia to Puerto Rican parents, Garcia has fought his last five fights at 147-pounds and will fight Shawn Porter in September for the vacant WBC welterweight strap. Since moving up to welterweight in 2015 Garcia has fought the likes of Paulie Malignaggi, Robert Guerrero (who retired one year after losing to Garcia), Samuel Vargas, Brandon Rios (who hasn’t fought since losing to Garcia back in February), and Keith Thurman (his only loss as a professional). He’s also picked up a couple of belts along the way.
While there will be some promotional issues to work out in order to facilitate a fight with the Top Rank promoted Pacquiao (Garcia fights for Al Haymon), and while Pacquiao may not exactly be the fighter he once was, putting these two in the ring together would be both the biggest fight and the biggest payday of Garcia’s career.
Mikey Garcia (39-0)- Despite the fact that he unified the IBF and WBC lightweight championships last week, the California native of Mexican decent has been dropping hints lately that he wants to give welterweight a try. He does have three fights at junior welterweight, and at one point was the IBF and Lineal junior welterweight champion. Putting on that extra weight can be challenging which could explain why he returned to lightweight in the first place. But if he’s serious about moving up to 147, why not get in the ring with arguably the biggest name in that weight class?
Jose Ramirez (22-0)- He won the Golden Gloves and fought in the 2012 Summer Olympics as an amateur. The 25-year-old turned pro soon after the London Games and has been rising through the ranks and making an impact ever since. 16 of his 22 pro wins have come by knockout, 14 of those knockouts have come in the fifth round or earlier, he’s displayed both power and speed and he currently holds the WBC junior welterweight championship.
After six years of winning, the only thing Ramirez lacks is a big name opponent. Maybe he should take on some of the more notable junior welterweights first, but maybe taking a gamble by moving up in weight for a chance to face Pacquiao wouldn’t be a bad idea if the opportunity presents itself. Maybe then he’ll get the bigger and better junior welterweight fights. Before any of that can happen however, he must first successfully defend his title against Antonio Orozco next month.
As far as Pacquiao’s boxing future is concerned, let the chips fall where they may…