Manny Pacquiao is one of two currently active boxers who can single-handedly turn any fight card into a must-watch event. Between his international and American fanbases, a shot at the former champ is seen as a lottery ticket by all potential foes.
That being said, if you’re buying into the latest reports, two big name fighters decided they wanted no part of Pacquiao. According to an interview Bob Arum gave to ESPN on Wednesday, Juan Manuel Marquez and Timothy Bradley are on the verge of making their September 2013 bout official.
“They really wanted to fight each other, even though either of them could have opted to fight Manny,” Arum insisted. “But Bradley-Marquez is an interesting fight. People are going to see an action fight. Marquez is an action fighter, and Bradley showed he's not afraid of slugging with anyone like he did [last month] in the fight with [Ruslan Provodnikov]."
Of course, what the Top Rank boss failed to note there was that immediately after the Provodnikov match everyone in Bradley’s camp pledged he’d never fight that way again. Minor detail.
Bradley’s manager, Cameron Dunkin, acknowledged that he and Marquez’s camp were close to a deal; however, he also cautioned that it wasn’t entirely official yet.
"We do have a contract but [Bradley and his wife, Monica] want to make some changes, but none of the changes are financial that I know of. It's been agreed to in principle," Dunkin said.
Presuming this thing actually moves forward as described and Marquez-Bradley gets scheduled for late 2013, where does that leave Pacquiao? Well, he’ll most likely settle for the next best thing: Mike Alvarado. Can he beat the 32-year-old IBF champ at this late stage in his career? It’s tough to say. But they'll put on an interesting show, either way.
Until Marquez-Bradley is signed, sealed and delivered, though, it’s probably best to wait and see how those talks end before making any other plans.