Pacquaio’s Potential Opponents

The Daily Mail, a publication out of the UK, has reported that Amir Khan has been selected as the final opponent for Manny Pacquiao on April 9th.  Promoter Bob Arum repudiates the claim in usual fashion, shouting obscenities and accusing The Daily Mail of fabricating the story.  Apparently Daily Mail has published some incorrect information about future fights in the past, so Arum may be right about this one.  While we may not have a final answer, Arum did confirm that the two options Manny is considering are Terence Crawford and Amir Khan.  Clearly, the better fight for fans and for the sport is with Crawford, who recently showed his fallibility in his most recent fight against Dierry Jean while still managing a knockout.  Khan, on the other hand, draws a lot attention, has sparred with Manny and worked with his trainer, Freddie Roach, and punches like a windmill.  On the downside, his frantic pace more often than not contributes to mistakes instead of improving his offensive position, and his chin as about as solid as an antique teacup.  It would be satisfying, though, to see the overconfident Khan knocked out, as he inevitably will be if the fight is made.  I see Pacquiao struggling against Crawford, and, since the fight would most likely be less lucrative, I doubt he’ll be the choice.  Crawford has proven himself talented, showing his heart and chin against then-undefeated Yuriorkis Gamboa and his technical prowess in many fights. In addition to his height, reach and age advantages, Crawford poses a threat stylistically, using precision and a varied arsenal to break down his opponents.  Were Pacquiao to choose Crawford, his only chance of winning would be a defensive fight, stealing rounds with speed and combinations to win a decision.

This weekend Timothy Bradley will take on slugger Brandon Rios.  Bradley is, at times, an offense-first fighter, but usually suffers badly when he does so.  Under new trainer Teddy Atlas, Bradley will attempt to mediate these habits against a fighter who would like nothing better than for his opponent to fight recklessly.  Rios is best known for his two fights against Mike Alvarado, both of which produced incredible exchanges and had few breaks in the action.  In many of those rounds Rios averaged close to 100 punches, but Bradley will have to control the action with his footwork and counter punching to dissuade Rios from repeating that performance.

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