Given that Manny Pacquiao has arguably lose his three previous fights with Juan Manuel Maquez (officially Manny is 2-0-1 in those fights), it may be a little early to be looking ahead to his next fight. But it's never too early for a promoter to have an idea of the direction they want to take their superstar.
And it looks like Top Rank wants to get Manny back in the ring on April 20 against Brandon Rios, assuming Pacquiao tops Marquez this Saturday night on HBO pay-per-view.
If Pacquaio is victorious, Arum has said that he could return to the ring on April 20 at the Mandalay Bay Hotel against unbeaten former lightweight titleholder Brandon Rios, who will be ringside for Pacquiao-Marquez IV, as will Dunkin, who also manages Rios.
"If Pacquiao wins, then I think that it's a doable fight," said Dunkin. "They have said April 20."
Personally, I'm not totally thrilled with the Pacquiao-Rios idea right now, but it's understandable. Pacquiao is quickly running out of opponents, if we don't pretend that Floyd Mayweather is an actual possibility, and Top Rank doesn't really have anyone else at 140 for Rios to fight, either. There's no doubt it would be an exciting fight for as long as it lasts, as Rios can't help but make exciting fights unless he's in with someone like Richard Abril, and Pacquiao ain't Abril in style.
I'm actually a big fan of the fight. While Rios doesn't represent a bigger man than Pacquiao has gotten accustomed to fighting during his move up in weight, he does represent some interesting challenges and positives.
First of all, it's a guaranteed barnburner. Rios may be the most exciting fighter in the sport, if not number one in the spot he's certainly in the top five.
He also represents a style that Manny hasn't had to deal with at any point in his recent career. He's a relentless, granite chinned, face-first brawler. He'd be looking to pressure Manny from the opening bell and will go out flat on his back if need be. We saw that in Rios' stirring win over Mike Alvarado in their fight of the year contender:
Rios proved that he can hurt VERY tough men in that fight and that is going to be important because he would have to make Manny think twice about throwing fire. And Manny still can throw serious bombs.
The closest recent fight would be the Antonio Margarito fight, but that's not all that similar as Rios is young and hungry while Margarito was aging and a disgraced shell of his former self. Rios is also faster and has more options available in his attack than the bigger, slower Margarito.
Pacquiao would be the deserving favorite, but it's no cakewalk and it would be a completely enjoyable watch.
You can follow all of our Pacquiao vs. Marquez 4 fight week coverage right here, or you can follow the tremendous SB Nation boxing blog Bad Left Hook for their in depth coverage.