by Charles Jay
They haven’t yet laced the gloves up for the fourth fight between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez, and obviously they won’t do it until December 8 in Las Vegas, but already some people are thinking ahead.
Photo: Chris Farina – Top Rank
During a worldwide conference call for the fight that took place on Tuesday, promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank was asked whether he could envision a scenario where there could be a fifth fight between Pacquiao and Marquez.
That’s a rough question to answer, with the result of the fourth fight not yet in. But Arum, whose promoter’s instinct means he is always ready to take advantage of an opportunity, not just to make a buck but to have an alternative to having to endure questions about a fight with Floyd Mayweather, wouldn’t say he’s looking forward to it but wouldn’t disqualify it either.
“There’s always going to be a possibility,” he says. Certainly others in the boxing would note that they considered the third bout between the two to be somewhat superfluous, given the fact that Pacquiao has risen to a whole different level of stature in the game since their second bout, and Marquez was perceived by a lot of observers to be too old (age 38), and already been outclassed completely a couple of years earlier by Mayweather, who, as goes without saying, is often mentioned in the same breath as Pacquiao.
But Marquez proved to a headache, and in the opinion of many, too much for PacMan to handle. So they will try to handle each other once again.
And because styles do indeed make fights, Arum is right, in that nothing would be outside the realm of possibility.
He pointed out, appropriately enough, that “Sugar Ray Robinson and Jake LaMotta fought six times,” to which the questioner replied, “Yeah Bob, but that wasn’t on pay-per-view.”
Ah yes, but you see, that’s what would guide Arum anyway. It’s what brought him to Part 4 to begin with, despite the fact that Marquez did not emerge victorious in any of the first three encounters (at least LaMotta won against Sugar Ray the second time they fought). To fight Tim Bradley again would have seemed a natural given the fact that the first bout provided such a controversial ending in favor of Bradley. But while that fight garnered only around 700,000 pay-per-view subscribers, making the potential for a rematch highly questionable, relative to Bradley’s asking price, the numbers for Pacquiao-Marquez III amounted to 1.4 million buys, which represented the highest number for any Pacquiao fight. Undoubtedly the Latin (predominantly Mexican) audience brought to the table by Marquez’s presence was a big factor in that.
What talks louder than anything is, well, you guessed it, so even though we would think that something extraordinary would have to happen in order to justify yet another tussle, the story may still be told by what results come in AFTER the fight. And even though Arum believes that “this fight will be different than the other three,” he will wind up doing what all promoters worth their salt have done since before guys even donned gloves – answering the call of the wild dollar.
And who’d blame him, right?
Pacquiao, who will be on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on Wednesday night, said it was kind of hard to imagine even a fourth fight, so looking ahead to Pacquiao-Marquez V wouldn’t even be on his radar.
But he would keep fighting the guy if there was still a demand.
Is he tired of fighting Marquez, who is slower but seemingly possesses the kind of style that would present an unusual amount of trouble for him?
“No, I’m excited,” he says, “because the fans are excited to see the action.”
Yes we are.