Manny Pacquiao’s fourth fight versus Juan Manuel Marquez is significant for a lot of reasons, but perhaps none moreso than the impact it will have on his possible Dream Match versus Floyd Mayweather Jr. You will recall, he and Mayweather have been going back and forth regarding a potential fight since 2010. However, for all the talk, their showdown never really felt like it could realistically happen until just a few weeks ago.
In September, right around the time he announced that he would be fighting Marquez, Pacquiao also extended a pretty huge olive branch to his undefeated arch rival. After the pair struggled to come up with a fair purse split and drug-testing guidelines that they could both agree on for the better part of two years, Pacquiao realized that somebody had to make a concession. Once he realized that, this ultimately wound up happening (via Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports:):
Pacquiao agreed Thursday during appearances on two separate television shows on ESPN to give Mayweather a 55-45 advantage on a financial split should they fight, as the public has been demanding since late 2009. A match between them is expected to be the most lucrative bout in boxing history.
The other major hurdle blocking the fight between the two men regarded by many as the two best in the world was Mayweather's demand for Olympic-style drug testing. Initially, Pacquiao balked at the testing. He has since changed his stance and has said repeatedly over the last year he would fully comply with the tests, just as Shane Mosley, Victor Ortiz and Miguel Cotto have done in Mayweather's last three fights.
That decision to give Mayweather 55 percent of the split was huge. Huge. Unfortunately, it didn't (and still doesn’t) mean that a super fight is imminent.
One thing still stands in the way: Marquez.
After three consecutive failed attempts at victory, Marquez is coming for blood on this go-round. He will leave every little bit of himself on the canvas this December and, given the success he’s had against the Filipino champ in the past, his ability to do damage should not be taken lightly. If he is ultimately able to avenge his past losses and actually beat Pacquiao, that will kill any and all reason to have a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight.
Plain and simple – Manny has to emerge victorious in order to pass Go, collect $200 and get a golden ticket to fight his undefeated arch rival. If he doesn’t, this thing won’t happen.
There is going to be a lot on the line when Pacquiao and Marquez meet for the final time. Pride. Respect. Potential retirement. The way each fighter’s career is going to be viewed once they retire.
And, of course, a $100+ million fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Could the stakes possibly be any higher? (Hint: No.)