Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez will not fight this year, if you believe what both camps are saying right now. Even though Marquez’s presumed next opponent, Timothy Bradley, hasn’t officially signed off on the paperwork yet, the general consensus appears to be that their match-up won’t be derailed by anything.
For most of the past four months, everyone in boxing assumed that Pacquiao and Marquez would fight a fifth time. Coming off their memorable December clash, this bout made all the sense in the world from every possible standpoint. Financially, it would have resulted in maximum payday for all involved – regardless of purse split. Legacy-wise, it would have once and for all settled the debate regarding who is better.
However, for reasons that weren’t entirely clear to anyone but him, Marquez wasn’t interested in another dance with his Filipino arch rival.
To date, Marquez has offered two different explanations for why he didn’t want to fight Pacquiao again. The first is one that he has repeated several times, and most recently mentioned in an interview with ESPN Deportes.
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"Look, what is being said about Pacquiao -- that a fifth fight wouldn't make sense -- well, it's just like that," Marquez said. "It still doesn't make sense. To me, it wouldn't be a challenge, and I need challenges. I would like to close my career in good standing and leave a legacy behind me. I want everyone to remember me for having faced the best fighters out there, and I believe Timothy Bradley is one of them. And why not look forward to finding that fifth title in a fifth weight class, which is something no one here in Mexico has achieved?”
The other reason, though, is one that he hasn’t repeated publicly all that often. According to Bob Arum, Marquez felt as though fighting in Asia would somehow hurt the profitability of the bout. And while it is reasonable to suggest that his fifth fight against Pacquiao wouldn’t have done as well overseas as it would have in the U.S., it’s important to put that concern in perspective. Marquez-Bradley will, at best, do 600,000 buys. Pacquiao-Marquez V would have easily eclipsed one million buys. So, essentially, Marquez traded away a guaranteed bigger payday because he wasn’t sure how much bigger it would be in favor of what everyone knows will be a smaller payday.
Bizarre. Very, very bizarre.