Juan Manuel Marquez deciding to reject Manny Pacquiao’s proposal for a fifth fight is without a doubt the most surprising thing to happen in boxing so far this year. It is also a cowardly move, and one that is unbefitting of the legacy that Marquez had established up to this point.
There is still time for the 39-year-old to change his mind, however, barring a loud public outcry, that is very unlikely to happen.
Once you accept the general premise that Marquez is going to duck Pacquiao this year, the next obvious question then becomes: what’s next? Well, what’s next depends on who the Filipino star’s next opponent will be.
Part of the reason why Pacquiao could afford to only fight in September of this year -- as opposed to taking part in two bouts -- is because of the ridiculously impressive financial reward that awaited him after Pacquiao-Marquez V. Outside of Floyd Mayweather Jr., no potential foe can generate the same sort of interest. That means Pacquiao may very well have to fight twice in 2013 just earn the same amount he would have earned with a single Marquez fight.
Pacquiao’s camp is all too aware of that unfortunate fact. During a recent interview with the Philippine Star, the former champ’s business manager, Eric Pineda, acknowleged that they were in talks for a ‘big’ match.
“That’s what we’re working on. It’s still possible,” he said.
When asked if the bout would be set up through the MVP group or another affiliation, Pineda declined to comment.
“Let’s just hope, wait and see,” he said.
This all comes just days after Marquez stunned the boxing community by saying that he would not fight Pacquiao again because ‘there is no point’. His logic was dumb and his justification was weak, at best, but he appears to be sticking to it.
"I think for me there is no point [in a fifth fight]. We already achieved the desired result. Then why do it? So I also asked several people, several friends that I have around me and they told me not to do it, that there is no point in a fifth fight. I said before the fourth fight that no matter how this fight ends, there can not be a fifth," Marquez said.
Pacquiao granted Marquez three different opportunities at beating him after their draw; Marquez, for whatever reason, won’t afford his rival the same luxury. That’s just an unfortunate fact. And it’s one that will tarnish the Mexican star’s legacy to no end.
Now all involved have to move forward. And for Pacquiao, that moving forward process has to center around finding two new 2013 opponents.
What do you think: who should he fight this year?