With the word that Pacquiao will fight again on April 16 at the MGM Grand (take with a grain of salt, though), it could be sooner than later that we find out who Pacquiao's next opponent will be. The trio in talks are Shane Mosley, Juan Manuel Marquez and Andre Berto right now. Berto seems to be a distant third in the running, with Marquez getting more hype as the most "deserving" after his lightweight championship defense against Michael Katsidis on Saturday.
Pacquiao's promoter Bob Arum quite clearly favors Mosley:
"Of all of the three guys, Andre Berto is the toughest sell because to the general public, he is totally unknown. I mean, when you look at the general public, of those three guys, who would be the guy that would be most well-known? Easily, it's Shane Mosley," said Arum.
"Shane Mosley's been around forever, he's beaten Oscar De La Hoya twice. So, it's Mosley. The second-most well-known of the three would be Marquez. You know? And, you know, with Marquez, there is a big drop off from Shane Mosley as far as the general public is concerned," said Arum.
I don't think there really is a big dropoff from Shane Mosley to Juan Manuel Marquez as far as the general public is concerned, but that's an easy way for Arum to explain putting in Mosley on the "strength" of two lousy performances this year, and ignoring Marquez who was a pretty strong 2-0 on the year against Juan Diaz and Katsidis, looking very sharp in both fights.
Marquez has the Mexican fanbase, which has proven time and time and time and time and time again to be very loyal and very willing to pay for pay-per-view fights. Pacquiao's last fight against Antonio Margarito did 1.15 million. There also is this weird disconnect from Arum when talking about what Manny should do next, and what he did in 2010. He fought Joshua Clottey (700K on PPV) and Margarito. Are either of those guys as well-known as Marquez? Clottey definitely isn't, and Margarito was best-known to Arum's beloved "general public" as the guy who got his face beaten in by Shane Mosley after being caught trying to load his wraps.
Marquez fought Mayweather, which did a million pay-per-view buys. Marquez was in the 2009 Fight of the Year on HBO, which is about as good a claim to being well-known as Margarito has. Marquez has twice fought Pacquiao and is regarded as the last guy to give him real trouble, or if you listen to some weirdos, the only guy to ever give Pacquiao trouble.
Arum says he has "positions" from Mosley -- who would fight under his own banner and not Golden Boy -- and Berto, but nothing yet from Marquez. Bob's stepson Todd duBoef and Golden Boy's Richard Schaefer have had preliminary talks, with Schaefer doing his usual "it was a good discussion" bit.
Nacho Beristain, Marquez's trainer, expects that Mosley will get the fight, and throws out a great, somewhat comical line about how Arum could "make himself a great asset to our sport" by going with Marquez instead. And Oscar de la Hoya has chimed in with his usual brand of dim-witted swipe:
"For me, Juan Manuel won the first two fights and he's the only one who succeeded in creating problems for Pacquiao, a fighter who has always forced his opponents, including myself, to lose weight and leave everything on the scale."
I must be remembering some other Oscar de la Hoya who fought Manny Pacquiao in 2008 after clearly stating it was his own intention to return to 147 pounds after not fighting there in seven years. Maybe I also don't recall that before going down to 147, Oscar took a tune-up fight against Steve Forbes on HBO at a 150-pound catchweight to see how his body would react. Or maybe I don't remember Manny Pacquiao having never fought over 135 pounds, which he had done once against David Diaz, before facing Oscar. And maybe, just maybe, Oscar wasn't a heavy favorite entirely because Pacquiao wasn't supposed to be able to handle the size and power differences.
But that can't be it. It must be Oscar de la Hoya, friend of the fight fan, telling the truth and speaking his mind about the problems plaguing this grand sport. That dastardly Pacquiao making Oscar lose all that weight. What a sneakthief. Thanks for that Mosley-Mora pay-per-view, chief! It's not like Oscar de la Hoya ever "forced" a catchweight before, after all.
In semi-related news, trainer Robert Garcia says he feels Marquez should get the fight in a story at FanHouse, which is mostly about the post-fight kindness Pacquiao showed the entire Margarito team on November 13.
So it's down to three, and the biggest wheel involved has his clear favorite. There may not be any stopping Pacquiao-Mosley at this rate.