Manny Pacquiao’s impeccable resume speaks for itself. Over the course of his professional career he has collected more championships and taken down more headline names than arguably any other fighter in the history of the sport.
The ‘Pacman’ looked set to add another ‘big-fight’ notch onto his belt naming Amir Khan as his next opponent last month on twitter.
However, with that fight now looking dead in the water and the hands of time turning against the Filipino icon the question must be asked whether the best course of action is to take the next available challenger or to hold out for a potential mega fight, which it’s not unrealistic to assume could be Pacquiao’s last hurrah.
Let’s take a look at some of the names that could fill the void left by the apparent disintegration of Khan/Pacquiao in terms of possible Pacquiao opponents next up:
5) Kell Brook/Errol Spence Jr
Britain’s Kell Brook has been rallying for a big name since first picking up the IBF welterweight crown against Shawn Porter a couple of years ago.
Granted, Gennady Golovkin is just about the biggest name out there at the moment but it would have made much more sense for Brook to take on a man at least in the same weight class and there’s arguably no bigger name in the division than Pacquiao.
Unfortunately for Brook he first has to deal with a rising star with devastating power in the form of undefeated American Errol Spence Jr.
Both of these men would make appropriate opponents and it’s not ludicrous to think Pacquiao could bag the winner.
4) Terrence Crawford
Rumours of a Pacquiao/Crawford meet up have been circulating since the Omaha native’s move up to light welterweight.
Bowling over competition with apparent ease as of late, it makes sense for Crawford to be thrown in at the deep end with an experienced megastar the calibre of Pacquiao.
Despite victories over respected, recognisable names Crawford is yet to offer his defining performance. Pacquiao’s apparent enthusiasm for this fight to take place could present the perfect opportunity.
3) Keith Thurman
Now a unified welterweight champion Keith Thurman is on the cusp of becoming a household name.
His split decision victory over Danny Garcia made for unmissable viewing and was a thoroughly enjoyable contest in what could have easily become a cagey, restrictive performance.
Thurman was looking to hurt Garcia all night long and succeeded numerous times.
If the numbers were anything to go by, a Pacquiao fight could send pay per view purchases through the roof and secure a hefty sum for both fighters.
2) Vasyl Lomachenko
Without question the man with the most mystique behind him in the sport today, Vasyl Lomachenko is quickly establishing himself as a technical wizard the likes of which we haven’t seen since perhaps the debut of Manny Pacquiao himself.
While there is a considerable weight difference between the two at the moment, ‘Hi-Tech’ has indicated that he would be more than happy to gain the necessary poundage should the Pacquiao opportunity present itself.
This is probably one for the dreamers, but there’s no doubt the combination of their respective styles would be an education in the sweet science if nothing else.
1) Juan Manuel Marquez
These two will never be able to escape each other.
Like Ali and Frazier before them, their names are now etched in metaphorical stone in the annuals of boxing history, side by side forever.
Their four fights thus far make for some of the most engaging fight content of the past 15 years.
Pacquiao might be up in wins against losses but last time out it was the Mexican who walked away with the victory, rendering Pacquiao unconscious in what could be the one-punch KO of the decade.
Reports before the Khan announcement suggested there was $70 million on the table for a fifth fight. If these turn out to be true, one last rally against his arch rival might make for the perfect Pacquiao swansong.