Instead of trying to get his title belt back, Manny Pacquiao is going for the financial route, heading towards a fourth fight with Juan Manuel Marquez in what will definitely be in the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, but without a certain date as of now.
It was always going to come down to some kind of rematch – Either against Timothy Bradley, who beat Pacquiao in their June June fight through a highly controversial split decision. Actually, saying it was highly controversial is quite an understatement. Pacquiao was completely robbed in that fight, but it doesn’t matter. He lost, Bradley won the WBO Welterweight belt, but it didn’t help him get a second fight. Not worthwhile due to the disappointing PPV results.
So Pacquiao and Bob Arum chose Juan Manuel Marquez. There aren’t that many fights that actually interest Pacquiao these days. Politics, religion, you name it, they’re all at the top of his priorities. If it wasn’t going to be Floyd Mayweather or Bradley, it could only be Marquez, who fought Pacquiao three times already, losing the last two of the fights in very close calls and still claims to this day that he actually never lost. There are plenty of people who agree with him.
What Boxers consider to be worthy fights isn’t the same as what boxing fans consider to be worthy fights. Eventually, you get a little tired of seeing the same guys in the ring time and time again. A trilogy of fights should be enough for anyone, but Marquez, who recently turned 39, knows there isn’t that much time left before it’s all over. He pushed hard for a final shot at Manny Pacquiao, presumably at his lowest point ever in terms of boxing ability and probably interest in the sport.
The whole issue of the date is being pushed around because of his political commitment back home in the Philippines, which means that once again we might not see the sharpest Pacquiao available. Marquez waved around revenge and the 1.4 million PPV numbers from last year and got the Pacquiao crew convinced that if you’re going to throw him in a ring with someone who’s going to give him a lot of trouble, might as well make a lot more money than what the Bradley option had to offer.
Boxing is stuck because the promoters and fighters won’t take risks. There are no complaints towards Marquez, who’s done everything possible in boxing and simply wants one last chance to say he did beat Manny Pacquiao and end another chapter in his all-time great career. Manny Pacquiao is an all-time great as well, but not going after the titles he lost to Bradley seems a bit odd to me, although you can’t argue with the finances. It’s as if all he’s waiting for is the chance to fight Floyd Mayweather (April-May 2013?) and then finally hang up the gloves. There’s just not enough in the sport to push him forward anymore.