Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez are boxing legends. They have combined for 99 total victories, 78 of which have come by knockout. For nearly half a decade, from a mainstream perspective at least, Pacquiao carried the sport on his back. And if not for Marquez being a formdiable adversary in three out of their four bouts against one another, you can legitimately question if Pacquiao would have had anywhere near the same impact as he’s had on the boxing.
It feels blasphemous to accuse either one of ducking, under any circumstances. But if the shoe fits…
Pacquiao and Marquez will get more money fighting each other again for a fifth time this year than they will fighting anyone else. This is a fact. Regardless of how they choose to split the cash up (within reason), there is no way an alternative match will generate more PPV buys. That means, if this thing fails to materialize, it’ll be because of a non-financial reason.
There are two non-financial reasons for fights not coming together: legacy and fear. The latter is what’s going to be at work here if Marquez stands by his idle threats and actually decides to fight someone other than his Filipino rival this September. From a legacy standpoint, fighting Mike Alvarado, Timothy Bradley or Brandon Rios will not do anything more to bolster the 39-year-old’s reputation than fighting Pacquiao. It just wouldn’t. That means, if Marquez ultimately decides to fight one of those other guys, regardless of what excuse he offers, it’ll be because of fear.
During a recent interview with The Sweet Science, Freddie Roach made it clear that both he and Pacquiao want Marquez next.
"My gut instinct on what is next? I want it to be Marquez, Manny wants Marquez, but Marquez wants a lot, lot, lot of money," he said.
"I think it's a little outrageous. It may not happen. We might have to go to Mike Alvarado or Brandon Rios or a Tim Bradley rematch could be made. I want Marquez right away, Manny and I both want it. But Marquez wants just about a 50-50 split. Manny brings butts in seats, pay-per-view-wise, Manny is the guy. Obviously Manny deserves more. I think a rematch will make a lot more money than the last fight. I think both sides can ask for more and Marquez deserves something, but not 50-50."
Marquez unquestionably deserves more money in this one. He earned considerably less in victory on the last go-round than his foe did in defeat. He definitely should get a bigger slice of the pie – but not 50 percent. And he knows that. If he is really pushing for 50 percent or nothing, he understands what the answer is going to be before anyone actually gives it to him.
In all likelihood, this thing will still go down. All parties involved are too smart to let it fail. However, in the unlikely event that it does fail, Pacquiao will get first dibs on who he wants out of the Alvarado-Bradley-Rios trifecta. You can immediately discount Rios, because why fight a guy coming off a loss when you can fight one coming off a win? That narrows it down to either Alvarado or Bradley. The storylines would be better with the latter, the more intriguing match-up and bigger PPV appeal is with the former.
Recently, Alvarado spoke to Doghouse regarding who he would be down to square off against if the third fight against Rios doesn’t come together right now.
“Marquez because he’s the champion to beat. He’s the one with the crown. He had the belts that I’m currently holding, the WBO. He has the 147 lbs. crown, he knocked out Pacquiao, so I believe that’s the dream fight for me in my position right now. Him and maybe Mayweather, that’s one of the biggest fights I could ever ask for,” he said.
When asked if he would take on Pacquiao, Alvarado replied: “Oh definitely that too, that’s a big money payday, it’s a big fight. I think he’s up on the wins on Marquez anyways but anyone of those fights, those are all championship fights, they’re all big fights and I wouldn’t pass any of those up.”
Pacquiao and Marquez will almost certainly fight this September. It’s about as close to being a lock as anything in boxing can be. But if it doesn’t happen the way most anticipate it will, Pacquiao will get his choice of Alvarado or Bradley, and then Marquez will get whatever is left.