Boxing/MMA

Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez V is Imminent

In the aftermath of Manny Pacquiao’s loss to Timothy Bradley, Bob Arum had three options on the table. A rematch against Bradley, a fourth showdown versus Marquez and a second bout against Miguel Cotto were all deemed feasible. Ultimately, Cotto took himself out of the running, and then the huge disparity in potential pay-per-view (PPV) buys between what Bradley brought to the table and what Marquez brought to the table spoke for itself.

Pacquiao’s most recent defeat, Dec. 8’s stunning knockout loss to Marquez, leaves him with far fewer options as far as his next fight goes. Cotto is off the table – he is fresh off dropping his Dec. 1 match against Austin Trout. Bradley, similarly, wouldn’t make much sense at this point. Floyd Mayweather Jr. wouldn’t touch a super fight with a 10-foot pole right now. The Filipino superstar has one potential foe and one potential foe only: Marquez.

[Related: Manny Pacquiao's next fight.]

A fifth fight against Marquez is the only option right now. It makes sense from every angle.

Money-wise, Pacquiao-Marquez IV did approximately 1.15 million buys. The third fight between these two did just slightly better with 1.25 million buys. Now compare that to the 900,000 buys that Pacquiao’s showdown versus Bradley drew. The numbers speak for themselves – this rivalry still sells.

Moreover, because the PPV for Pacquiao-Marquez IV cost five dollars more than the PPV for Pacquiao-Marquez III, there is a good chance that the final figures will come out looking very similar.

"We are happy. It's a very big success," Arum told ESPN last week. "The number of buys on the last day was disproportionately large. We were tracking a lot less until the last day and then we did a land rush of business. It built and built."

A fifth fight also makes sense from a competitive standpoint. Yes, Pacquiao got dropped with a vicious knockout – but it’s not as if Marquez was manhandling him throughout the entire fight. Before that memorable ending, Pacquiao was winning the fight 47-46 on every single judge’s scorecard. He threw more jabs (26 to 11), more power punches (68 to 41) and more total punches (94 to 52). More importantly, he was connecting on a noticeably higher percentage in each category (24% to 11%, 46% to 27% and 37% to 21%, respectively.)

He looked like the better fighter for a large chunk of the bout.

When you couple the fact that there is every reason in the world to make this thing happen again with the lack of other potential foes out there for both men, it becomes clear that a fifth fight will come to fruition. At this point, it’s not even a matter of if anymore – it’s a matter of when.

[Related: Manny Pacquiao's next fight.]

(Kudos ESPN)

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