It looks like Manny Pacquiao’s next opponent has been narrowed down to two choices and Team Pacquiao is not looking beyond Juan Manuel Marquez and Miguel Angel Cotto.

Lawyer Franklin Gacal Jr said Timothy Bradley, who defeated Pacquiao via a controversial split decision in June, is definitely out of the equation.  Not only is Bradley bad for Pacquiao’s business interests, he is reportedly also asking for a ridiculous guaranteed purse.  Reports are now out that the Pacquiao-Bradley only generated 700,000 pay per view (PPV) buys, a box-office flop by Manny’s standard who has never failed to sell less than 900,000 buys ever since his breakout PPV fight with Oscar de la Hoya, which generated 1.25 million subscriptions – span of seven fights before his controversial Bradley loss.  Bradley reportedly wants an 8-figure guaranteed purse.  So he is definitely out of the picture – at least for now.

Between Marquez and Cotto, Marquez is said to have the inside track.  Marquez will be fighting for honor and redemption and would not mind accepting lower purse guarantee for a grudge fourth fight with Pacquiao.  There are talks that if a fourth Marquez fight pushes through, Pacquiao will be fighting in Marquez’s home country Mexico.  That should guarantee a standing room only (SRO) crowd and probably better PPV sales than their third fight.

But squaring off with a guy who will be out there for pride and honor is a dangerous fight.  Considering that it could also happen in Mexico, a fourth Marquez encounter is a high risk, low reward fight for Pacquiao.  He has nothing to gain except assurances that his fight purse will not go lower than US$20 million when all the fight collateral incomes are factored in.

Besides, it will be again another difficult fight for Manny.  If the fight again goes the distance, Manny could lose this time.  Consecutive losses, no matter how controversial, could signal the end of future lucrative fights for Pacquiao.  A loss to Marquez could also doom a fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Cotto could be an easy fight for Manny but Gacal said the Puerto Rican may no longer agree to a second fight at the 147 level.

“Cotto is now a middleweight.  It is highly improbable he will agree to fight Manny below the 150-lb limit,” Gacal said.

It also is not wise for Manny to move up in weight.  He is getting slow at 147.  Just look at how flabby he was in the weigh-in prior to his Bradley fight.   Insiders said Manny tends to become lazy in training when he is not watching his weight.

Still, Team Pacquiao is yet to announce who Manny would fight next.

If the dearth of credible and viable opponents continues till next year, Manny could end up retiring earlier than expected or degenerate into a made-for-TV fighter, accepting purses that are way below his standard today.

Come to think of it, the only fight that really means for Manny, both for prestige and money, is a ring date with Mayweather.  Everybody else is another day in the office.