Manny Pacquiao’s team initially approached Juan Manuel Marquez for an end-of-2013 fight. After being spurned by the 39-year-old star, they moved on to Plan B: Timothy Bradley. Amazingly enough, despite the fact that Bradley attained more notoriety for his 2012 match-up against Pacquiao than he had for any bout prior to that, he too decided to pass. Instead, he and Marquez agreed to fight one another – for substantially less than they would have received had either one agreed to square off against Pacquiao.
The thing that makes Marquez’s decision to pass on a fifth showdown against Pacquiao so bizarre is that it was clearly the best option on the table for him. Whereas Bradley will earn only marginally less in guaranteed money taking on Marquez than he would have fighting Pacquiao, Marquez sacrificed a lot of millions.
When you pass on that sort of dough in the twilight of your career, you better have something special lined up as an alternative – and Bradley ain’t that.
For what it’s worth, though, Bradley’s team is out trying to sell the fight already.
“Why wait when you can fight someone of Marquez’s stature?” manager Cameron Dunkin told the Las Vegas Review Journal. “Who knows how things with Manny would have played out? But Tim wanted Marquez, and it’s going to be a great fight.”
He also noted: “Tim’s excited. Now that the contracts are signed and we know we have a fight, he’s anxious to face Marquez, who is a future Hall of Famer and a great fighter in his own right.”
That’s all well and good. The problem, however, is that no amount of promoter/manager hype can mask reality. And the reality of the situation is quite simply this: Marquez-Bradley can’t even get a concrete date until Floyd Mayweather Jr. decides what he wants to do. That’s how much of an afterthought it is already. While it’ll still be an interesting showdown no matter what, just because of the names involved, there is no denying that this match-up reeks of B-levelness.
Marquez and Bradley might put on a great show and make everyone forget that they passed on more high-profile bouts to make this one a reality. However, until that happens, both will remain in Pacquiao’s shadow regardless of what they say or do.