Fans who are worried about not seeing a fifth fight between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez should take a deep breath and relax. This bout is going to happen. It is going to happen in 2013. And it is going to be just as great as everyone is expecting it to be.
In November of 2011, Pacquiao and Marquez met for the third and what many presumed would be the final time. The pair danced around the ring in one of the most unfulfilling boxing displays of the past five years, and after the fact, both believed they won. The judges ultimately gave Pacquiao the victory, however, the match could have gone either way. Because of their so-called ‘unfinished business,’ a fourth bout was scheduled for December of 2012.
That fight proved to be the polar opposite of what happened in 2011.
Whereas both Pacquiao and Marquez entered their 2011 match in questionable shape and looking to out-point each other, in 2012, both pledged to seek the knockout. Marquez delivered. In the sixth round, after a thrilling back-and-forth, the 39-year-old dropped his arch rival with a superbly-timed counter.
Given how fantastic the fourth fight was, fans immediately called for a fifth. It made sense, after all. Pacquiao had beaten Marquez twice; Marquez only beat Pacquiao once. A fifth fight would settle things, once and for all.
One problem: Marquez said no. According to him, there was nothing left to prove and nothing to be gained from tangling with his Filipino rival a fifth time.
For obvious reasons, boxing fans from all over quickly dubbed Marquez a ducker and chastised him for avoiding a fight that makes all the sense in the world.
That reaction is totally understandable – but it’s unnecessary. It’s clear, based on how much he has discussed his future, that Marquez is not going to retire. If he doesn’t retire, the 39-year-old’s options are very limited. At this point in his career, he won’t go into a fight against some no-name who can’t draw a sizeable PPV audience. The risk just isn’t worth it. At the same time, brand names like Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Timothy Bradley don’t make sense for him either. The latter has a problem generating PPV sales, too; the former dominated him on their first go-round.
There is no one, no one who can offer Marquez a credible alternative to Pacquiao at this point.
The choice is clear: fight Pacquiao or retire. And Marquez isn’t ready to retire just yet.
Pacquiao-Marquez V will materialize over the next few weeks. It just won’t be on the time table that the media and fans have put out there.