After months of speculation and lot of flip-flopping, it appears as though Manny Pacquiao has finally decided on who his next opponent will be. Rather than engaging in a meaningless, totally unnecessary second showdown versus Timothy Bradley, the Filipino champion is instead opting for a fourth showdown against his arch rival – Juan Manuel Marquez.
Over the past few months Pacquiao and his Top Rank team have gone back and forth on who they should square off against next more times than anyone would care to count. Even though the options were narrowed down to Marquez, Bradley and Miguel Cotto very early in the proceedings, the process of actually selecting one of those three guys seemingly took forever.
Initially, it appeared as though Bradley would get the nod for a rematch. Then, Marquez looked to be the odds-on favorite. A couple of weeks ago it was Cotto’s turn. And now, apparently, Marquez is the lucky winner.
"We are hopeful we can work out deals with both guys and come to terms for a fight on Dec. 8," Arum told Yahoo! Sports on Monday.
While it’s mildly troubling that no deal has been worked out (just because it leaves room for negotiations to fall apart), fans have to revel in the fact that an opponent has finally been decided upon. Marquez is a veteran in the business, so it’s unlikely that he’ll squander away what will likely be his final big payday just for the sake of making a point.
If this deal ultimately comes together, the motivation for all involved will be clear: money. Pacquiao-Marquez III sales dwarfed Pacquiao-Bradley sales – something that Arum has cited on numerous occasions over the past few months.
All in all, this is the smartest play for all involved. Marquez will get one final shot at victory; Pacquiao will get to prove to one and all that he is definitively better than his rival.
Presuming everything works out, this fight will take place on Dec. 8 of this year.
(Kudos Yahoo! Sports)