In Mayweather's absence, a plan for PacMan

In the wake of Saturday night's HBO fight card -- on which Juan Manuel Marquez stopped Michael Katsidis in the ninth round of a terrific fight to retain the lightweight title and Andre Berto destroyed no-hoper Freddy Hernandez in the first round to retain a welterweight strap -- both winners kept themselves squarely in the hunt for a spring fight with pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao. Also under consideration by Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is Shane Mosley, despite his two lackluster performances in a row and an 0-1-1 record in those fights.

Marquez, Berto and Mosley all want Pacquiao badly -- the fight means big money -- and one of them will get him, because the way things look, Floyd Mayweather Jr. isn't going to fight him in the spring. Mayweather has avoided Pacquiao, and now the choice might be out of his hands anyway because Mayweather is jammed up with serious legal charges stemming from an alleged domestic incident in September. His first court date is in late January, and this could drag out for awhile. It seems doubtful he'll be available to fight May 7, which is when that fight was ticketed for.

So that leaves one member of the aforementioned trio to fight Pacquiao. The date for Pacquiao to fight somebody other than Mayweather is April 16, from what Arum told me.

If it were up to me, Pacquiao would fight Marquez in a third fight and do it at a reasonable weight of, say, no more than 142 pounds.

Arum, however, said no way. He said if Marquez wants the fight, the contract would be at 147.

"The weight is 147, that's clear. It's 147 because I'm sick and tired of the discussions on this weight stuff," said Arum, who is only sick and tired of the weight discussions when it is not to his benefit. "Marquez went in the ring at 145 to fight Katsidis and Manny went in at 148 pounds when he fought Antonio Margarito, and that's the only weight that concerns me.

"Manny Pacquiao is a congressman from the Philippines, and he's not going to struggle to make weight. Period. End of story. It's 147 on the contract and he'll probably come in at 144, but we won't make him come in under 147."

Arum, or somebody else from Top Rank, would also have to deal with rival Golden Boy Promotions to make a deal for Marquez, and Arum said he would not allow Golden Boy to control the promotion in any way. He said he would offer to simply buy Marquez for a flat fee plus an upside of agreed-upon pay-per-view profits.

Pacquiao is 1-0-1 against Marquez in two sensational fights that many believe Marquez won. Whomever you had winning them, both were great fights and both were exceptionally close and competitive. Marquez has given Pacquiao more trouble than anyone other than Erik Morales, who beat Pacquiao in their first fight in 2005 (and then got knocked out in their two subsequent fights).

Berto is an excellent young fighter. He's undefeated. He has a title. He's fast and he has solid power. But he has yet to beat anyone of serious consequence, and if you want to fight the best fighter in the world, you need to do something to earn it -- especially when Berto doesn't have wide commercial appeal. Why else was he on Marquez's undercard?

Mosley is coming off a dreadful draw with Sergio Mora in September and a wipeout loss to Mayweather in May. Mosley is 39 and, although still a good fighter, has clearly seen better days. I'm not interested in seeing Pacquiao fight Mosley at this point, and from what the Fight Freaks tell me in my weekly chats and tweet regularly, they are even less interested.

So here is my solution (again, all this is assuming there is no Mayweather fight): Pacquiao should fight Marquez in April to finish their business.

Around the same time, Berto should fight Mosley in a fight that had been scheduled for last January but was canceled abruptly a few weeks before the fight because of the massive earthquake in Haiti (which killed eight members of Berto's family). Attempts to put it back together for this fall then failed. Now it's time to get it done.

If Pacquiao defeats Marquez and, assuming there is still no Mayweather fight in the fall of 2011, Pacquiao can fight the winner of Berto-Mosley. If Berto beats Mosley, he will have put a big name on his record and done at least something to deserve a fight with Pacquiao, as well as increased his mainstream name recognition. If Mosley beats Berto, he will have shown that he still has something left in the tank by beating a young, fresh opponent.

Of course, my plan makes too much sense. Because this is boxing, it probably has no chance of working out.