Manny Pacquiao is Juan Manuel Marquez’s Only Option, but Everyone is Pretending that He Isn’t

| by Alex Groberman
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Juan Manuel Marquez basically agreed to fight Manny Pacquiao last week when he gave Bob Arum his terms for a prospective fifth fight. In order for everyone to maintain their bargaining positions, however, all sides have to pretend as though they have other options on the table.

Pacquiao earned $23 million for his December loss to Marquez. Seeing as he got floored by a brilliant counter in the sixth round of that match, he clearly can’t expect to get anything even remotely in that zip code for a fifth fight. Marquez, conversely, earned only $6 million for his participation. Going by the ‘to the winner go the spoils’ philosophy, he is due for a pretty sizable increase in his purse size.

Seeing as a fifth fight will likely generate substantially more pay-per-view (PPV) buys than the fourth fight did, there is more than enough money to go around for all involved. (You will recall, the third match between these two was a total snoozer. That undoubtedly decreased the PPV buys for the fourth bout, which were still huge despite the lack of buzz surrounding the showdown.)

After his big meeting with Marquez last week, Arum tried maintain the illusion that the 39-year-old was legitimately contemplating other foes besides Pacquiao.

"I spoke with him. The fifth fight against Pacquiao is being contemplated, but there are other names that we presented to him," Arum told Boxing Scene.

The winners of this month’s Timothy Bradley-Ruslan Provodnikov and Brandon Rios-Mike Alvarado fights are purportedly in the discussion. Here is the reality on both, though: while the latter may happen, the former most definitely won’t. Bradley can’t draw anyone besides friends and family to his matches, and Provodnikov lacks the big name appeal (for now) to justify Marquez fighting him. At 40 (birthday in August), the Mexican star will want someone with brand recognition and the ability to bring in big PPV totals – neither Bradley nor Provodnikov have that. Rios (he will likely beat Alvarado again) is an intriguing option, however, it remains to be seen if Marquez really wants to fight him. Quite frankly, the 26-year-old has all of the tools necessary to beat him – a fact Marquez is no doubt aware of.

"If he does not choose to face Pacquiao again, then we'll look for another fight. The only thing that I am sure of right now - is that he will fight again. Mexicans deserve to see him in the ring again, because he is our hero and our idol." Fernando Beltran told Boxing Scene.

The same reality that was true a month ago is true today: there is only one fight and one opponent that makes sense for Marquez at this stage in his career.