If Anyone’s Going To Fight Pacquiao, It’s Got To Be Marquez


by Charles Jay

Manny Pacquiao still hasn’t decided on an opponent, although word on future plans was expected soon as of Saturday evening. There is one thing which seemed certain, however, which is that December 8 is the new target date, although that doesn’t have Top Rank’s Bob Arum any less restless.

Arum would like to wrap up a nice package to wrap up 2012, with a fourth bout against Juan Manuel Marquez. The prospect of a return match with Timothy Bradley is not appetizing from a financial standpoint, and it leaves Bradley out in the cold, which tells you how much titles really mean these days. Besides, Bradley has been looking to milk that title for all it’s worth; it is worth at least $10 million to him, but apparently not to anyone else.


Photo: Chris Farina/ Top Rank

As for another name Arum offered up, Miguel Angel Cotto, that fight met with difficulty because of a problem coming together on the right weight. Cotto, who most recently lost a WBA “Super World” title at 154 pounds to Floyd Mayweather, would ideally like to see Pacquiao get close to that weight. But that was not going to click, so Cotto is going to fight Austin Trout, the WBA “regular” champion, instead (no need to follow along with all that).

That was scheduled for December 1, one of the dates that was mentioned for PacMan, and that presented a conflict in dates, something that was resolved rather easily since Pacquiao can now move his event back a week later onto the pay-per-view platform. Arum has said that he is content with Pacquiao simply not fighting for the rest of the year, but then the pressure would really be on to make a fight with Mayweather. And the clock is ticking on the attractiveness of that pairing, as both get older.

There is much talk that Pacquiao is simply looking for an “all-in” matchup with Mayweather, although one doesn’t know how many hoops either man has to jump through to make that happen. Mayweather is forming a promotional partnership with rapper 50 Cent (who also wants to go pro as a fighter) called The Money Team and certainly this is one step toward a situation where he feels comfortable in co-promoting any mega-fight himself. Pacquiao’s deal with Top Rank reportedly comes to an end next year.

It seems as if he is at a crossroads as to whether it is worthwhile for him to engage in certain fights just for the sake of the payday.

Allegedly Pacquiao is at some kind of political crossroads as well, and that may be interconnected with his decision-making as a fighter. He has the opportunity, if he wants to take advantage of it, to run for governor of the Sarangani province, or stay in his congressional seat, in which he must continue winning elections, of course. And the filing date for the congressional candidacy this year (between October 1-5) appears to be a non-issue, with the revised date in place.

Pacquiao is not only the most famous citizen in the Philippines but he is also one of the richest, so he has both the name recognition and the funding to write his own ticket politically, at least to a certain extent.

There are other worlds to conquer, to be certain, but the boxing world is the biggest one available at the moment, and it also supplies the biggest payoff.

If he decides to fight again without Floyd, the most lucrative option available is unquestionably Marquez. It is perfectly understood that the Bradley rematch brings a reward in terms of the opportunity to avenge a defeat, and the side benefit is to get a title back, something that Pacquiao doesn’t have (unless a new sanctioning body has suddenly been invented). There should also be additional fan interest after all the controversy the fight between them caused. But when you look at the cold, hard dollars, the Marquez bout brought in a paid viewership of greater than 50% more, and his presence as an opponent does bring in a solid audience from the Latin community that virtually assures numbers when it comes to pay-per-view.

He’s the logical choice, but does Pacquiao believe it’s logical for him to fight again if it isn’t with Mayweather?

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