Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao is a certified future hall of fame fighter. The Filipino boxing legend is the greatest boxer to come out of Asia and holds the titles of oldest fighter to win a welterweight championship and boxing’s only 8-division world champion.
On December 17, 2020, Pacquiao will turn 42 years old, and by the time he secures a fight he will be out of the ring for over a year.
I know all the young undefeated champions like Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr. are calling him out for a unification bout but if I were Pacquiao, I would avoid fighting them and give the 36-year-old Josesito “The Riverside Rocky” Lopez a chance instead.
I think at this stage of Pacquiao’s career and with COVID-19 limiting the audience capacity and changing the financial possibilities for big fights, the Filipino southpaw should just take on a durable and willing foe who will go toe to toe and has a humble backstory like Lopez.
Fighting guys like Errol Spence Jr. or Terence Crawford would be too risky for the brave multi-division champion at his age.
Lopez is also a credible opponent because he rocked Keith Thurman and gave him a tough battle before Pacquiao dethroned Thurman for the WBA title, and Lopez is now on a two fight TKO streak stopping John Molina Jr and Francisco Santana in action packed brawls.
A fight with The Riverside Rocky would be full of action and if Lopez wins it would be a story book for his boxing career. He fought for many years to become a world champion and fell short, if he dethrones Pacquiao that would be his Cinderella story of finally achieving his dream of being a world champion and doing it against a legend.
Pacquiao losing to Lopez wouldn’t be a big deal because many greats have lost fights to blue collar rugged fighters like Lopez at the tail end of their career.
Josesito Lopez would get a big payday and then could go into a unification bout with Spence or Crawford and if he upsets either of those guys he could actually make a case for hall of fame. Lopez is a true underdog story and someone the working class can root for during these tough times and it would be a real life Rocky moment for the man known as The Riverside Rocky.
Pacquiao would likely be favored against Lopez and if he wins in what would be an all out war, he should retire and call it a career and not bother chasing the young guys like Spence or Crawford because he has nothing left to prove especially since he is likely to run for President of the Philippines soon and he would need to devote all his time to his country if he wins election.