Dwindling Challengers for Pacquiao

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When Manny Pacquiao won an easy victory over Shane Mosley in Las Vegas Saturday night, he easily proved his talent as the WBO welterweight title holder, especially given that it was still considered an off-night.

When Pacquiao showed up for the postfight news conference, he did not look much like a fighter. Although he looked tired, he had no bruises nor bandages, and his face remained unmarked, his body untouched.

If anything, his pride may have been all that was wounded. He described Mosley as “always running,” defensively explaining to the audience that it was not his fault if his opponent did not want to fight.

It has become increasingly difficult to match Pacquiao with boxers who could put up a fight. Bruce Trampler, Hall of Fame matchmaker for Top Rank Boxing, has constantly found his obligation to be more of a half-hearted effort.

Two of Pacquiao’s last four matches, with Antonio Margarito and Miguel Cotto, had sent his opponent to the hospital. Mosley and Joshua Clottey, which comprised the remaining two games, basically tried to avoid fighting him.

If Mosley decides to retire following his defeat, it would make five out of Pacquiao’s last six challengers who have stopped boxing ever since Pacquiao defeated them. The list includes Clottey, Margarito, Oscar De La Hoya, and Ricky Hatton.

Trampler admitted that the list of possible candidates to fight Pacquiao was increasingly shrinking.

Floyed Mayweather Jr was seen as the most worthy opponent for the next match with Pacquiao, but the match-up has become less possible. Mayweather reportedly turned down a $50 million guarantee for a match with Pacquiao in South Africa, according to Michael Koncz, adviser to Pacquiao.

Trampler points out that the offer could still be negotiated higher. In any case, the two players could easily split the biggest payday possible in all of boxing history. He felt that the match-up made too much sense.

Strangely, on Saturday, Mayweather was found Tweeting about the HBO appearance of Lady Gaga. Trampler admitted not knowing how to contact Mayweather’s side to ask for negotiations.

Trampler announced that they just assumed he was not interested. “He’s past tense,” he said.

Mosley had fought both Pacquiao and Mayweather, and he described Pacquiao as the stronger and tougher fighter; he had appeared shock at Pacquiao’s display of power, and this is what he blamed for having been forced to play defense. Mayweather he described as the “more skilled technician.”

Meanwhile, Top Rank chairman Bob Arum has openly promoted both players, and described Mayweather as a student of boxing.

Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach declared that Mayweather would have been the biggest challenge that Pacquiao could face.

However, Mayweather still holds a record of zero defeat, which he was likely fighting to protect. He also faces several criminal challenges along with a lawsuit filed by Pacquiao for reportedly spreading rumors of the latter’s using performance-improving drugs.

With the absence of Mayweather, other options for a possible opponent include Juan Manuel Marquez, Timothy Bradley, and Zab Judah.

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