Whether you like it or not, Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez meeting yet again is basically a foregone conclusion.
Look, reasonable people can disagree on whether or not Marquez deserves another shot at doing something he couldn't do three times prior. On one hand, there is no denying that during their previous bouts, Dinamita challenged the Filipino champion like no one else in recent memory. And seeing as Pacquiao was consistently regarded as being at the top of his game during each and every match, that’s no small feat. On the other hand, if you give someone enough chances to do something, their odds of accomplishing it increase every single time.
Would a Marquez win at this point really mean as much as it would have had he done it the first time around?
Of course not.
Unfortunately, that likely won’t stop the powers that be from putting the latest incarnation of this showdown together. Pacquiao is due to face off against Timothy Bradley on June 9; however, once he’s done with that, there is really nobody else for him to fight. Literally, there are absolutely no worthy challengers out there for him outside of Floyd Mayweather Jr., who we all know won’t fight him for at least a year. At this point in his career, Manny can’t afford to go out and do battle with some deserving, no-name youngster. A recognizable deserving opponent is key to maximize revenue and, really, the recognizable part of that equation is more important than the deserving part. (Why do you think Shane Mosley keeps getting fights?)
That’s why Marquez hasn’t retired yet. He knows that, in essence, Pacquiao has to fight him. Manny knows it too. Heck, even Bob Arum knows it, though he's trying his damndest -- for the sake of maintaining leverage -- to give the impression that nothing is guaranteed at this point.
Here is what Arum had to say recently to the good folks at Boxing Scene on the matter:
“Everything is on the table,” admits Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum. “Manny has this fight with Bradley. It’s a tough fight. After the fight, as we always do we’ll confer who and when – who the opponent will be and when the next fight will be.”
“I haven’t discussed this with Manny because I never discuss future opponents when he has a fight coming up,” Arum points out. “We’ll have plenty of time after this fight, to discuss it. We’re planning a trip after the fight with his family to the state of Israel. We’ll have plenty of time to discuss it then.”
Right. Because there is so much to discuss. Say what you will about Arum, but the guy is shrewd. He knows that in order to tilt the negotiations process in his favor, to make it run smoother (for him), he has to make it seem like Marquez isn’t the only fish in the sea. The fact that he is the only fish in the sea is irrelevant – perception is everything.
But while Arum will continue to toy with Marquez and his camp in order to ultimately squeeze out the best possible deal, fans shouldn’t buy into the hype.
Pacquiao vs. Marquez IV is a foregone conclusion, whether you like it or not.