By Nick Giongco
Buboy Fernandez’ face lit up when asked about the names being floated as World Boxing Association (WBA) regular welterweight ruler Manny Pacquiao’s next opponent.
With Floyd Mayweather a longshot, Fernandez scowled when the name of former Pacquiao sparring partner Shawn Porter was mentioned.
“Wala tayong mapapala dyan,” Fernandez said just hours before he was scheduled to receive a citation from the Philippine Sportswriters Association on Tuesday night at the Manila Hotel.
Porter is set to defend his World Boxing Council crown on March 9 in Los Angeles while another leading 147-pounder, Errol Spence, is slated to risk his International Boxing Federation jewels a week later in Dallas.
That left undefeated Keith Thurman (29-0 with 22 KOs), the WBA super champion, as the last viable option in the talent-laden division.
Interestingly, the Venezuela-based WBA recognizes two world champions in each weight category: regular and super champion.
Terence Crawford should also be on the mix but the World Boxing Organization titlist fights under Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc. while Thurman, Porter and Spence, like Pacquiao and Mayweather, are under the Premier Boxing Champions banner of Al Haymon.
Pacquiao (61-7-2 with 39 KOs) is coming off a rousing win over Adrien Broner last Jan. 19 in Las Vegas and is looking at a return date of July.
Fernandez, who called the shots during the Broner beatdown, told Tempo that Thurman appears to be the more attractive choice.
Style-wise, Thurman is custom-made for Pacquiao, who even at 40, was sensational in his victory over the 29-year-old Broner.
“Sapul yan (He’s made for us),’ said Fernandez.
But the skies will only clear up in a little over two weeks after Porter and Spence make their title defenses.