Speculation has run rampant when it comes to who may be Manny Pacquiao’s next opponent. The tentative July date for the multi-division former world champ’s return has opened the door to a handful of possibilities, but only a few have been regularly mentioned as leading likely candidates.
Honestly, though, there’s plenty wrong with all of the names mentioned.
Errol Spence? Spence has yet to return from injuries sustained in a car crash last year and would be absolutely insane to take a Pacquiao fight without a tune-up after more than a year off.
Terence Crawford? Crawford’s ties to Top Rank and ESPN pretty much kill any chance of this fight being made. Manny will not be moving back to Bob Arum and Arum would probably not have him back unless a multi-fight deal is on the table.
Mikey Garcia? Garcia is very good and a fairly intriguing opponent, but how would organizers/promoters sell a big fight with Mikey after he was completely shutout in his debut at welterweight last year against Errol Spence?
Danny Garcia? Danny is good as well, but he’s yet to re-establish himself as an elite player after losses to Shawn Porter and Keith Thurman.
And, speaking of Porter and Thurman—what about Porter and Thurman? Shawn Porter is too much risk for, realistically, too little reward. Thurman, meanwhile, has not exactly been aching publicly for a rematch after being bested by Manny last year.
Meanwhile, Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor would be major opponents bringing major money, but neither is a legitimate possibility at the moment and Manny pursuing fights with either would be something closer to magical thinking than realistic matchmaking.
So, then, if all of these guys are NOT the right opponent for Pacquiao, who IS?
The answer is—Gervonta Davis.
Yes, Davis is currently a lightweight champ and Manny is a welterweight titlist, but who says they can’t make this one at junior welterweight? Davis adding 5 pounds would not be hard and Pacquiao taking off 5 pounds shouldn’t be too hard, either.
This pairing was hinted at last year, right after Pacquiao beat Adrien Broner and Davis tweeted a direct challenge to Pacquiao. At the time, the idea was blown off in favor of other possible pairings, but maybe it’s time to revisit it.
Pacquiao-Davis has a bit of everything. Competitively, the contest pits two of the most physically gifted fighters in boxing against one another. And, in terms of drama and showbiz, it pits Pacquiao against a fighter under the guidance of archrival Floyd Mayweather, so the promotion can tap into that Pacquiao-Mayweather angry dynamic.
If Team Pacquiao is looking for a show as well as a solid fight, Gervonta Davis should be approached and offered that July date across from Manny.
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