Juan Manuel Marquez says he wants to savor the memory of his December 8 win over Manny Pacquiao and doesn’t feel any urgency to face off against the Filipino superstar for the fifth time.
That is what he told reporters from the Los Angeles Times at the scene of pre-fight activities for the Floyd Mayweather-Robert Guerrero fight.
Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank
One of the problems may have been that he wasn’t altogether interested in traveling all the way to Macau to fight Pacquiao, who has insisted that his next fight be out of the country to avoid the headache of U.S. federal taxes. He was not completely clear about that, but he did indicate that he has some extra motivation to fight Timothy Bradley, who he’ll square off against in September, because Bradley is a champion and he wants to win another title belt.
Bradley just so happens to own the WBO welterweight championship, a title he won, albeit in very controversial fashion, over Pacquiao last June. Marquez’s knockout win over Pacquiao was scheduled for twelve rounds, but was not for a championship; consequently he has no belt to hang around his waist.
Marquez first won a title back in February 2003, when he captured the IBFfeatherweight crown over Manuel Medina. He has since won titles at 130, 135 and 140 pounds. But he vacated his WBO junior welterweight crown (which he won after Bradley vacated it), giving way to Mike Alvarado and Brandon Rios to battle for an interim title on March 30. Both Alvarado and Rios are in line to fight Pacquiao in November.
Marquez’s mindset is such that he is apparently at peace with his efforts against Pacquiao. He feels that he won the other fights the two had, which resulted in a draw in May 2004, a split decision win by Pacquiao in march 2008, and a majority decision victory, also for Pacquiao, in November 2011 – all of which took place in different weight classes.
When he scored his sixth-round knockout victory last December, there was no official title on the line, but Marquez did win the right to exercise some leverage in future negotiations. Evidently he engaged in some of those negotiations for a fifth meeting, but industry sources have told us that he demanded at least $20 million, while Top Rank, which has a promotional relationship with both fighters, topped their offer out at $17 million. So while Marquez seems to want to make it clear that he has no real interest in giving Pacquiao another chance (and to be fair, this is not the first time he has expressed an indifference to meeting #5), he was certainly entertaining the idea.
Things have a tendency to change direction overnight in boxing, so there is no way of determining without question that this isn’t part of a negotiation as well, but Bob Arum of Top Rank, who has contractual deals with both Marquez and Bradley, will be promoting that matchup, which he has scheduled for September 14. That may conflict with a date Golden Boy would like to establish in Las Vegas on the same night, which may or may not involve Mayweather, and probably will feature Canelo Alvarez. Arum has indicated that he would move the Marquez-Bradley fight to another date if Mayweather scheduled a fight for the same evening.
After the result of the Marquez-Bradley fight is known, and Pacquiao has had his late November fight, arum will presumably get back to the business of getting the winner of that fight into the ring with Pacquiao, and at that point, Marquez (if he emerges as the winner) can exercise one option that will always be at his disposal – the option to listen to the offer and change his mind.