GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/5 Sept) – With Miguel Angel Cotto taking another fight and passing away the opportunity to have his revenge against Manny Pacquiao, the chances of Juan Manuel Marquez getting a fourth and probably a last fight with the Filipino fighting congressman have improved considerably.
Pacquiao’s options and choices have been narrowed down following a shocking controversial loss to Timothy Bradley in June this year.
Pacquiao’s current weight class has been wanting with marquee fighters with only a Floyd Mayweather Jr. date guaranteeing the Filipino boxing idol a blockbuster payday.
Marquez currently fights comfortably one division lower than Pacquiao’s welterweight class but recently decided to step up in weight hoping for a shot at redemption against his arch nemesis. Marquez is Pacquiao’s kryptonite.
The Mexican may not have the foot speed of Pacquiao but he possesses a pair of lethally quick hands that have brought so many troubles to the Filipino boxing icon. All their three previous fights were so close they could have gone either way. I believed Pacquiao narrowly lost that third fight with Marquez if I were to choose a winner (It was a draw on my scorecard). But what are the judges there for if we will not respect their decision? Although, certainly, we may not agree with them all the time.
Even if Marquez’s camp is now saying the fourth installment of the Pacquiao-Marquez rivalry is all but done except fort the contract signing, Team Pacquiao has not made any official announcement. Longtime Pacquiao lawyer Franklin Gacal Jr. however said that while nothing has been agreed upon, Marquez will likely be Pacquiao’s next foe if Top Rank’s Bob Arum will have his way.
Gacal however said another loss could spell Pacquiao’s doom as a marquee fighter.
So why has Top Rank’s Bob Arum failed to find a better match up for Pacquiao, his longtime cash cow?
Well, Pacquiao’s contract with Bob Arum will end in 2013 and there are speculations the eight-division world champion may go Oscar de la Hoya and Floyd Mayweather’s way, i.e., opt out of his contract and become a freelance fighter. It is not an entirely bad idea. In fact, breaking away from Arum may even increase the chances of closing out a fight deal with Mayweather.
The seeming cold shoulder treatment Arum got from Pacquiao when he tried to have his prize ward sign up for a November 10 fight obviously left the American promoter frustrated.
Arum knows Pacquiao cannot afford to lay off from boxing between now and 2013 – at least before the Philippine elections next year. But he cannot also just pick any opponent and hope that Pacquiao will agree to a lesser guaranteed purse. That is a sure recipe Pacquiao will finally bid goodbye to him after their contract expires next year.
Marquez, who is also promoted by Arum, could be the double-edged sword for Pacquiao, a convincing win, especially if it is a knockout, will boost his flagging stock. But a loss will mark the beginning of the end of his glory days in boxing.
Or maybe, Arum will finally give up on Pacquiao where both will sit it out and wait till it is game over for both of them next year. (Edwin G. Espejo writes for www.asiancorrespondent.com.)