Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez need to work out their 2013 fight schedules. While modifications can always be made and late additions are obviously possible, it’s very difficult for any boxer to go into the year without at least a broad strokes strategy for how to train. When you’re dealing with guys who are in their mid-to-late 30s, the importance of preparation can't be overstated.
One way or another, the issue of whether a fifth Pacquiao-Marquez fight will or won’t happen needs to get resolved soon.
In the immediate aftermath of Marquez knocking Pacquiao out on the eve of Dec. 8, it appeared all but etched in stone that the two would duel one more time. It made sense financially. It made sense from a pure match-up standpoint. It just made sense. Unfortunately, over the past several weeks Marquez has made it very, very clear that he doesn’t believe it makes sense. He thinks he proved a point at the end of last year, and he sees no reason to prove that point again.
Bob Arum, Freddie Roach and other members of Pacquiao’s team believe Marquez is bluffing. They think he wants another Pacquiao fight, primarily because of the potential money involved, but that he is just negotiating for a better deal. Maybe. Most fans are hoping that’s in fact the case, and that one of the most underrated boxers of his generation hasn’t simply opted to duck his rival.
During a recent interview with Boxing Scene, Nacho Beristain indicated that Marquez was due to meet with Pacquiao’s people this week. That certainly sounds like someone open to a bout – not someone who has already closed the door on the idea.
"There is a still a lot of interest in a fight between Juan Manuel and Pacquiao. I'm the one who does not want it for Marquez. It would be a dangerous fight. I have an obligation, as the person in charge of the corner, to look out for my fighter. People think their rivalry has already burned itself out, but there is still a lot of interest. The president of the Philippines put $20 million dollars in the table to take this fight to their country, because Manny's defeat hurt him very much....he is an idol over there and they want revenge," he said.
"With a fifth fight, he might become the highest paid athlete in the history of Mexican sports, but [the offer for a fifth fight might not be] sufficient. In Dubai, a prince is offering him $15 million tax-free dollars to fight an African opponent over there...... there are other offers that are being reviewed.
“I have always believed that the fighter is the only one who has the right to decide what he wants to do. If he continues in boxing or decides to retire, I have to keep supporting him because he has been with me for 14 years. I will accept whatever he wants to do with great pleasure."
When you unpack all of that, it sounds a whole lot like pre-fight hype. All of the necessary buzz words are there. It’s a ‘dangerous’ fight. Nacho ‘does not want’ it for Marquez. There are ‘other options’ available (yet this is the only one really being discussed).
It sounds like, once we get past all the posturing, Pacquiao and Marquez are on course for a fifth matchup. Then again, what with this being boxing and all, who knows. The bout that makes the most sense isn’t always the one that ends up getting made.