What's Next for Manny Pacquiao? It's Not Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Fans will hope that Manny Pacquiao's next fight is a lot better than last night's easy win over Shane Mosley. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

Last night, if you want to read into it this way, the crowd at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas spoke loud and clear: It's time for Manny Pacquiao vs Floyd Mayweather Jr.

And nothing else is acceptable anymore.

Listen, I won't lie: Whatever Manny does, I'm going to buy it. I'm going to. He's an event, he's a boxing treasure, and I love watching the guy operate.

But as much as you might not believe me, no, I never really got excited for this fight. I wasn't buying that Mosley had anything more than a home run punch chance to win this fight. Not after his two fights last year, two awful performances where the aged former pound-for-pound contender proved just how far gone he was.

And if in November, we see Pacquiao face Juan Manuel Marquez as expected, I will talk about it endlessly. I do that because I love boxing. I love watching it. I love talking about it. I love talking with people on this blog about the sport. It's great. And I love pouring time into all of that, and I don't even mind pouring money into it a lot of the time. That might sound crazy to you, but it's just the way it is.

But no, I do not think Marquez can really compete with Pacquiao at 147 pounds, or 140 pounds, or 135 pounds. Not anymore. Marquez, great as he still is, has lost steps, has become more and more vulnerable, and I don't think he's the fighter he was in 2008 when they last met. He's still a top fighter, but not that top fighter. And Pacquiao has changed, too. He's too strong. Has too much momentum anymore. Even last night's slightly off version of Pacquiao is, in my view, too much for Marquez.

Pacquiao is set to return on November 12. It should be Floyd Mayweather Jr. across the ring before that fight loses its relevance. But it won't be. It will be Marquez, or Miguel Cotto, or someone else that no one thinks can beat him.

Will fans in Las Vegas or Dallas or anywhere else be as compelled to spend big money on the fight? Probably. Casual fans are easy to convince with highlight videos that the next guy has a serious chance. But unless it's Floyd, or a crazy fight with Sergio Martinez, those who know will know.

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