Manny Pacquiao lost to Juan Manuel Marquez fair and square last month. There were initially some murmurs about Marquez’s new physique and how he suddenly acquired so much new power at age 39, but the Mexican fighter was ultimately vindicated when his drug test results came back clean. Regardless of his affiliations and despite what some people may or may not suspect about him, Marquez’s first official victory over his arch rival will go down in the record books as just that – official.
With all of that being said, it is worth remembering that Pacquiao and Marquez fought three times prior to last December’s showdown. Along the same lines, it is worth noting that the latter has only beaten the former once, as opposed to the two times Pacquiao as claimed victory over him. And if you want to take it one step further, their draw from the first fight, well, that was just the byproduct of faulty scoring. Had all judges done their jobs correctly that night, Pacquiao would have emerged with the win.
That is all a roundabout way of saying this: Pacquiao has had ample opportunity to avoid Marquez. He could have done it after the first fight, second fight or third fight. He chose not to. Instead he opted to give his rival a shot at redemption – redemption that Marquez was ultimately able to claim last month.
Now it is time for Marquez to return the favor. The question is: will he?
During a recent interview with the Manila Standard, Top Rank boss Bob Arum said that “we’re saving Mexico for September” despite the fact that Beltran was "not of a mind to go make money for a Manny fight now in Mexico and there’s nothing I can do.”
Fernando Beltran, the man Arum is referring to there, is Marquez’s promoter.
What exactly are we to make of that statement? Beltran isn’t of the mind to make money for a Pacquiao fight? Does that mean he and his camp aren’t interested in a fifth showdown? Beltran has indicated to the contrary in past conversations, and as a promoter, it would be odd for him to pass on a payday as massive as the one that a Pacquiao-Marquez V bout in Mexico would guarantee all involved.
Then again, in this business, who knows. Remember when Pacquiao versus Floyd Mayweather Jr. made too much sense not to make?
At the end of the day, Pacquiao needs to fight Marquez again to preserve his legacy. Marquez doesn’t need to fight Pacquiao again. He can go out on top.
What does that mean? It means that, if Marquez isn’t willing to play ball, Pacquiao may have to do the one thing that has consistently been done to him but that he has generally refused to do himself – call out his foe.
Will he actually do it? We’ll find out soon enough