Can boxing's media-types stop pretending that Manny Pacquiao's fight isn't already a done deal and hasn't been etched in stone even weeks prior to his last fight?
Any fool knows that Manny will be facing Timothy Bradley next and that all this talk about Juan Manuel Marquez, Miguel Cotto, or meetings to discuss any other fighter is nothing more than hot air coming from the usual hot air machine at Top Rank Promotions.
Marred in controversy, Pacquiao-Bradley I was such a poorly-constructed drama that even the dimmest of the bulbs saw the signs of Bob Arum deceit and misdirection this time. And even through ridiculous mock outrage by Arum and phony-baloney calls for national inquiries, there's no reason to think for a second that Pacquiao-Bradley II wasn't already being pushed forward. After all, the rematch's fight poster had aready been designed and a fight date had already been set aside. Bradley seemed sure that he'd be facing Pacquiao again and Pacquiao, who always conducts his business with Top Rank marionette strings attached to him, never seemed too far away from the obvious career path laid out before him.
The only real question seemed to be to what extent would Team Pacquiao feign interest in other bouts before eventually falling into line.
Why would anyone in Team Pacquiao opt for Marquez next when Marquez is a clearly more dangerous opponent with a lower risk-reward ratio? After a series of three bouts that could easily have been swept by Marquez if a couple of rounds had been shifted here and there, a fourth contest is, understandably, not on the list of top priorities.
Also not on a list of priorities are fighters like Cotto, who Manny has already clearly beaten, or non-Top Rank fighters who have even the slightest risk of upsetting the Pacquiao/Top Rank cash grab.
So, it's going to be Bradley. It has to be Bradley. It was always Bradley.
Pacquiao legitimately and solidly beat Bradley the first time around, regardless of what the judges said, and he will do so again. But this time, with the dim glow of a fake controversy in the background, the victory will ring hollow.
The set-up fake revenge victory will be every bit as phony as this current nonsense about Team Pacquiao having meetings to explore any other bout.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and The BoxingTribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing.
Bob Velin, Pacquiao may be leaning toward rematch with Bradley, USA Today