By Sean Crose
Famed trainer Ignacio “Nacho” Beristain does not want his most famous fighter, Juan Manuel Marquez, to battle arch rival Manny Pacquiao a fifth time. It seems Nacho just feels that a fifth bout between the two icons would be one bout too many. Of course Beristain is not Marquez. Only the fighter himself will be able to make the final decision…if he hasn’t already.
Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank
Let’s face it, though, Marquez didn’t seem all that eager to face Manny again after his huge victory over Mike Alvarado last Saturday night in Los Angeles. In fact, when he was asked about Pacquiao, Martinez reminded me of Adonis Stevenson when Stevenson was asked if he wanted to take on Sergey Kovalev. In other words, both men came across as tellingly noncommittal.
Yet it’s good to keep in mind that Marquez is a far different fighter than Stevenson is. No one will ever accuse Marquez of ducking Pacquiao, even if he does indeed pass on a fifth matchup. What’s more, Marquez has already established himself as an all around elite fighter. Unlike Adonis Stevenson, the Mexican legend has nothing left to prove.
Still, Beristain leaves the fight world with questions. For instance, who will Manny fight next if not Marquez? There’s not a whole lot of people out there for Pacquiao to face while this cold war is raging. Floyd clearly isn’t interested, cold war or no. As for the likes of Shawn Porter, Keith Thurman and Amir Khan, those are all Al Haymon fighters – and it’s unlikely a Haymon fighter will ever get in the ring with Pacquiao. Unless, of course, Pacquiao were to become a Haymon fighter himself – and that’s just not going to happen.
Then again, there’s always Pacquiao’s friend and stablemate, Ruslan Provodnikov. I personally think that would be a great fight. There’s also a chance that Miguel Cotto might want to rematch Manny, provided Cotto bests Sergio Martinez in New York next month. Beating Martinez is going to be a tall order for Cotto, though. And on top of that, Cotto’s Manny’s stablemate now, too.
Let’s focus once again on Marquez, though. The guy clearly wants a title in a fifth weight division. How will he get one if he doesn’t fight Pacquiao? Will Marquez go over to Golden Boy? To Haymon? Will he move up in weight to face the likes of Canelo Alvarez or Erislandy Lara? That would be a pretty tall mountain for a fighter in his forties to climb, especially when you consider the fact that Alvarez and Lara are arguably just entering their primes. Of course, there’s little doubt the name Mayweather will eventually come up in all this, too. Have fun dreaming about that matchup actually happening.
Where, then, can Marquez go in order to fulfill his dream of sitting atop five separate divisions? Will it end up being what the poet Langston Hughes called “a dream deferred?” Or will the man risk his recent winning ways by sucking it up and confronting PacMan one more time?
When all is said it done, it would be hard to blame Marquez for not putting on the gloves once again to face his old foe. How, after all, could he possibly top that last, sweet victory over Pacquiao? Then again, how can he earn that fifth title if he doesn’t grant Pacquiao a shot at redemption? These are questions Marquez will have to ponder…then probably answer on his own.
As for the fans, perhaps they’ve seen enough of his rivalry anyway. They say there’s never enough of a good thing, but some are already taking to the internet to heartily disagree with that sentiment.