Boxing News: Manny Pacquiao Targets Middleweight Division; Slugger Could Fight Miguel Cotto, Sergio Martinez to Become 9-Division World Champion

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By Lou Ramon Aguila | May 8, 2014 1:10 AM EST

Manny Pacquiao's next opponent hasn't been unveiled so far, but there's a chance the Filipino congressman will take on the winner of the Miguel Cotto vs. Sergio Martinez clash in June. The Cotto-Martinez clash will for the WBC middleweight championship, a title the Pacman hasn't lifted yet, at least for now.

Reuters
Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines celebrates his unanimous decision over WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley of the U.S. after their title fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada April 12, 2014. Bradley was previously undefeated.

Despite his losses against Tim Bradley and KO defeat at the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez, Pacquiao's legacy is already secured. In the history of boxing, there's no fighter who was able to capture world championship in eight different weight divisions. No one until Pacquiao came out of nowhere to dominate the brutal sport.

However, an achievement-hungry Pacquiao could be given another opportunity at greatness, maybe later this year, against either Cotto or Martinez and it's perhaps for the world middleweight championship.

In an interview with RingTV last week, Arum stated that there are plenty of fighters in his stable who are ready to rumble with Pacquiao anytime. The Top-Rank boss mentioned the usual suspects such as Juan Manuel Marquez, Ruslan Provodnikov and Mike Alvarado and then came up with an interesting pair of candidates in Cotto and Martinez.

Cotto faced and lost to Pacquiao in a 12-round stoppage for the WBO Welterweight Championship five years ago. While the Puerto Rican is currently training under Pacman's trainer Freddie Roach, he didn't rule out the possibility he would lock horns again with the former pound-for-pound king.

But the most surprising name among all Arum stated is Martinez, who is considered the king of the 160-pound division. The boxing promoter believed a Pacquiao-Martinez bout is possible as long as the Argentinean camp agree to shed some poundage or accept a catch-weight clause.

"Indeed, who wouldn't want to see Pacquiao against Martinez, if Martinez and successful can come down in weight a little bit?" said Arum, who also pitted Pacquiao against Antonio Margarito in a light middleweight championship before.

Martinez's promoter Lou DiBella also expressed his optimism on the potential slugfest between two great champions, stressing he can initiate negotiation with Pacman's camp right after the Cotto fight.

"That would be a wonderful thing," DiBella said. "We would love to have that opportunity. I'm all ears. We'll talk. After Sergio beats Miguel Cotto, I'll be happy to sit down and talk," he added.

For The 9th Division Title?

Pacquiao, who obliterated a 165-pounder Margarito in their light middleweight showdown, may be too ambitious in facing on a full-fledged middleweight like Martinez. Despite his advantage in speed and boxing skills, Pacquiao would be an easy prey for brawler Martinez, a boxer who destroyed big dudes such Kelly Pavlik and Paul Williams before.  

Pacquiao also experienced a rapid decline in his punching power. Unlike his heydays, Pacman hasn't knocked out an opponent in roughly six years. His last KO win was against Cotto, after that, all of his matches went to the limit - except his KO loss to Marquez.

While taking a 9th division title belt would be cool, Pacquiao has to stay off from this career-ending plot being brewed by Arum. After all, he has to take on one more fight under his stable before bolting for greener pastures outside Arum's clutches.

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(Photo: Reuters / Steve Marcus)
Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines celebrates his unanimous decision over WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley of the U.S. after their title fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada April 12, 2014. Bradley was previously undefeated.
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