There was never any real doubt that Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez would meet at the end of this year for a fifth time. But if there was any wiggle for either guy to opt out heading into this weekend, it disappeared on Saturday night when Mike Alvarado beat Brandon Rios in what will probably go down as the 2013 Fight of the Year.
In the lead-up to Rios-Alvarado II, the general consensus was that the latter would lose, again, and that the former would officially be catapulted into superstardom. From there, Top Rank would somehow match up Rios, Pacquiao, Marquez and Timothy Bradley, one way or another, over the next eight months. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending how you look at it), Alvarado threw a wrench in those plans. By beating Rios, he essentially locked up a third bout between the pair for late 2013, thus leaving Pacquiao, Marquez and Bradley to figure their situations out for themselves.
Already, Marquez’s camp has come out and said that they are very interested in fighting Bradley this year. Similarly, Michael Koncz wasted no time letting the public know that Pacquiao was still very interested in fighting Rios, despite this weekend’s defeat.
Neither is going to happen.
Pacqiao-Marquez IV generated approximately 1.15 million PPV buys, a figure noticeably higher than the 900K that Pacquiao-Bradley did earlier the same year. And while Pacquiao-Marquez III did higher numbers than both (1.25 million buys), it is worth remembering that the fight was an absolute dud. That likely contributed to the lower total for the fourth fight. Conversely, the fourth fight was a thriller – basically guaranteeing that the fifth fight will do bigger numbers.
Meanwhile, if Bradley couldn’t even crack a million buys with Pacquiao (who, at the time, was riding a seven-year winning streak) as his opponent, there is no way he’ll do enough opposite Marquez to justify his place on the card.
Marquez wants the most money possible at this stage of his career. Same goes for Pacquiao. With Rios officially off the market, the only way they can get the biggest payday available is by fighting one another.