Manny Pacquiao defeating Juan Manuel Marquez on November 12 has become such a certainty that, at this point, the boxing world is already scrambling to find the Filipino sensation's next opponent.
On Saturday, after beating Victor Ortiz in a controversial bout, Floyd Mayweather Jr. continuously avoided any and all questions relating to eventually fighting Pacquiao. Clearly, as we’ve learned over the past two years, he is not a reliable candidate for a potential megafight with the Filipino champion and, as a result, should be forgotten until such a time when he is legitimately ready to agree to that match.
For now, though, another challenger appears to have stepped up. For a long time now, one of the most discussed “dream fights” within the boxing community was a suggested match between 2010 Fighter of the Year Sergio Martinez and Pacquiao. The problem with pitting these two stars against one another, obviously, has been the size disparity which has caused Pacquiao’s camp to all but rule out the whole thing.
Earlier in the year, Martinez suggested that the lowest he could possibly come down in weight to was 154 pounds. This was dismissed as nonsense by Bob Arum, Freddie Roach and the rest of Pacquiao’s team, and the whole idea was forgotten.
Somewhere along the way, though, according to BoxingScene.com, Pacquiao allegedly said that he would be willing to fight Martinez at a catch-weight of 150 pounds. Now, Martinez appears to have warmed up to that idea.
"I am willing to go down to the 150-pounds to face Manny Pacquiao. It does not depend only on me. We will see what happens, if his team and [Top Rank CEO] Bob Arum accept [the fight]. Because it's one thing is to fight Antonio Margarito at 150, and another thing to face me at 150," Martinez said during an interview with BoxingScene.com's Carlos Irusta.
"It would be below the junior middleweight limit of 154 lbs [69.850 kg.]. 150-pounds is 68 kilos. It's an incredible effort for my body. I walk around at 78 or 79 kilos, with a maximum of 3.2% body fat. I have very little body fat and I'm very muscular. To go down to that weight can be fatal for my health. But it can be done. With enough time, I think it's possible to do. What's better than saying, 'we'll fight you anywhere you want, the date you want and the weight you want.'
"He always said 150, and I respect his position, because he is a little fighter even at 150. But it's going to play to his advantage because I'll be almost ten kilos lighter in my body. "
If Martinez were to actually do this, it would be a huge step in the right direction as far as getting this fight made. To date, boxing aficionados assumed that Mayweather was the only legitimate challenge to Pacquiao’s recent winning streak, but alas, that is no longer the case.
Even though Pacquiao vs. Martinez doesn’t carry the same mainstream appeal that Pacquiao vs. Mayweather would, this one can still be sold on substance.
Keep on eye how things proceed in this potential fight, because this could mean very, very big things for boxing.