Manny Pacquiao wants to fight Juan Manuel Marquez a fifth time. The Filipino champ has made it no secret that he is hoping to avenge this December’s loss, but his desire to square off against his Mexican rival actually extends beyond that. He understands that, on top of just being able to prove that his most recent defeat was a fluke, another bout against Marquez is the only way to earn a massive pay day with relatively little risk.
If Pacquiao fights Marquez again and loses, it won’t do any real damage to his legacy. People will just assume that, like all boxers do eventually, the former champ has crossed the point of no return and is due for retirement. If Pacquiao fights Marquez and wins, then suddenly his embarrassing knockout defeat has been avenged. Either way, he will be handsomely rewarded financially for his troubles and his place in boxing lore won’t take a serious hit.
Now let’s imagine for a moment that Marquez turns down Pacquiao, though. Who will he fight then? Brandon Rios? Timothy Bradley? Miguel Cotto coming off a loss? The options suddenly become a lot less impressive in several regards. From a money standpoint, obviously none of those matches will do as big of pay-per-view (PPV) numbers as Pacquiao-Marquez V would. But also just from a pure legacy standpoint, a loss to any of those men would severely damage how people view the former champ. And more likely than not, a loss to any of them would result in a speedy, quiet retirement.
All of which probably explains why Bob Arum and Marquez will reportedly have dinner on Wednesday to discuss what lays head. As noted by the Manila Bulletin: “Arum believes there is no choice for Marquez to walk away from a verbal commitment to face Manny Pacquiao in a fifth fight sometime in September because of the sheer magnitude of such a matchup.” The Top Rank head honcho will try to sell Marquez on how mutually beneficial this showdown can be, and he will do it by sweetening the pot with a notable increase in how much of the purse the 39-year-old will walk away with on this go-round.
At the end of the day, it still makes the most sense for Marquez to agree to fight Pacquiao. Despite his protests to the contrary, he no doubt understands that nobody wants to see him fight Rios. Nobody. Similarly, whereas folks would still pay money to watch Pacquiao fight Mayweather despite all his recent defeats – nobody wants to see Marquez fight Mayweather again. Much like Bradley, Marquez’s options as far his next bout goes are far more limited than he and his representatives would have you believe.
Still, pride is a fickle thing. Even though common sense says that a fifth fight should go down – Marquez’s ego might prevent it from happening. It may all come down to Arum’s negotiating skills and how palatable he makes things at today’s meeting.
Stay tuned, one way or another, we’ll get our answer for what lays ahead soon enough.