by Charles Jay
Manny Pacquiao may have had another dream last night.
In this one, the multiple-division champion and #1 fighter in the world (or #1A, as it were) has apparently been given the go-ahead from God to continue hitting people in the head after June 9, and extend his career to fight Juan Manuel Marquez for a fourth time.
You see, God has a good sense of public demand.
Pacquiao is fighting a tough undefeated guy, Timothy Bradley, on the aforementioned date in Las Vegas, and that fight could be a stiff challenge unto itself – enough that he should not be looking past it – but since Pacquiao may be all-seeing and all-knowing at this point, he may be able to take such liberties.
Perhaps that fight would be the grand finale to the Filipino legend’s career, and it would be fitting, one supposes, since Marquez sullied the untouchable reputation of Pacquiao in the last fight – the third one these two have had.
Wakee Salud, a promoter in the Philippines and an advisor of sorts to Pacquiao, told the Manila Bulletin that one of Pacquiao’s two or three remaining fights will be against Marquez. “It’ll be very, very tough like the three fights they’ve had but I am more optimistic this time because in the fourth fight, Manny will finally prove that he is the better man,” he said.
Pacquiao has also joked that he may fight five more times, so God, who reportedly asked him to retire a couple of nights ago, is flexible on that issue. And he’s flexible on that issue, he might be on others, which could be a good thing for all of us.
The prospective date of the fight would be some time in November. Since it doesn’t look as if there will be any Divine Decree about a fight with Floyd Mayweather, this may be the best opportunity for some more punching and preaching. Maybe by that time Pacquiao will have made a decision about whether to try jailing Filipino reporter Edwin Espejo for expressing free speech. He has filed a lawsuit against the respected journalist, and libel happens to be punishable in the Philippines with a minimum jail term of six month and a day. Advocates for freedom of the press and human rights are imploring Pacquiao to do the Christian thing and move to drop his suit and join them in decriminalizing libel, but there’s been no word yet. Pacquiao has reportedly been having Bible studies at his house; let’s hope he’s not going to interpret some parts of the Old Testament TOO literally.
Marquez, who is 38 years old, would have to first get by Sergey Fedchenko on April 14 in Mexico City. That might not be overly problematic; Fedchenko has lost only once as a pro, a majority decision to Kaizer Mabuza in September 2009, but his collection of opponents has not been stellar, and he’s got only thirteen knockouts among his 30 wins. Of course, the opponent Marquez had previously been slated to fight, undefeated Cesar Rene Cuenca, while a very capable boxer, is a junior welterweight who punches like a flyweight, with just one win inside the distance in 42 starts.
God may have visited Marquez and urged him to mix it up even more, because he is developing a full plate. There is some talk about him fighting Brandon Rios in July; that is, if he and Rios get by their prospective opponents at different locations, but both on the April 14 Top Rank pay-per-view card.
Meanwhile, Arum, who generally is not into mumbo-jumbo, is a little concerned about the comments Pacquiao has made about retiring very soon from the ring. “He will retire in 2013,” Arum says.
Maybe God needs to pay a visit to the elder statesman and deliver some comforting news to him in his sleep….
…..that He’s somewhat flexible on the issue.