Manny Pacquiao's Next Fight Official: Juan Manuel Marquez III


While it's still not the super fight most boxing fans so desperately want, it's certainly an upgrade in opponents for Manny Pacquiao.

The wildly popular Filipino champion will fight a third time against Juan Manuel Marquez, who is known for his extreme toughness and veteran skills, on Nov. 12 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Boxing writer Steve Kim apparently got the scoop, saying Top Rank promoter Bob Arum confirmed the fight was a done deal on Tuesday -- even though both camps had exchanged potential deals and offer sheets before Pacquiao dispatched Sugar Shane Mosley this past Saturday night in a fight void of highlights or electricity.

Over the past 18 months, the world's most popular fighter has fought a string of questionable opponents who haven't done much to solidify Pacquiao's legacy as one of the sport's all-time greats.

Marquez -- who fights David Diaz on July 2 -- will help in that department, considering he has taken Pacquiao the distance in two grueling, tough fights. The first fight was ruled a draw, while Pacquiao won a controversial split decision in the rematch. Marquez isn't a shot fighter like Antonio "The Plaster King" Margarito or Mosley.

But make no mistake: Pac-Man will be heavily favored in this third installment. Marquez will be 38 years old at the time of the bout and his skills won't be as polished as they once were.

Unfortunately, the announcement is still disappointing. Despite the step up in opponent quality, it's not the "fight of the century" so many have pined for. And considering Pacquiao is getting up in age and that he fights only twice a year, the chance of seeing a Mayweather vs. Pacquiao showdown grows less and less likely.

Arum said it hasn't been determined if the pay-per-view telecast will be an HBO or Showtime production.


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