x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Third Marquez fight in the pipeline

'We're going to send him a revised offer,' says Pacquiao's promoter Arum.

LAS VEGAS // Back to Juan Manuel Marquez for a third time? That appears to be the most likely option for Manny Pacquiao's next fight, Bob Arum said on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Arum said he issued a contract offer to Marquez two weeks ago, for a fight in November, but the Mexican had misgivings.

"There were certain items in the offer that Juan Manuel wanted to change," the Top Rank promoter said. "[Today] we're going to send him a revised offer based on the conversation that we had with him this morning."

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If things do not work out with Marquez for whatever reason - including potential scheduling conflicts for the 37-year-old - Arum would aim for Timothy Bradley or Zab Judah, neither of whom Pacquiao has fought as his list of prospective opponents dwindles.

If things do work out with Marquez, who has his eight titles in three weight divisions, it would make a trilogy and perhaps quell some unrest.

Pacquiao and Marquez fought in May 2004 and in March 2008, and both results caused debate. The first resulted in a draw during which Marquez hit the floor three times, and the second became an argued split decision in Pacquiao's favour.

Freddie Roach, Pacquiao's trainer, endorsed another Marquez fight in part to silence those remaining complaints the Mexican has regarding the previous outcomes.

Referring to the second meeting, Roach said: "I don't think there were any robberies in that fight." And cautioned: "I know how much Manny's improved since that time."

While the first two head to heads occurred in the super featherweight division, Roach said Marquez should fight Pacquiao at the latter's current welterweight poundage of 147.

Pacquiao himself continued to say he does not care whom he fights next, and he said so in response to the question he gets the most, that concerning any potential fight with the undefeated American Floyd Mayweather Jr, the issue that seems to hover over each Pacquiao fight. (The Philippines congressman did say he wants to fight Mayweather "because the people want it.")

Since March, and again last week, Pacquiao has pegged Marquez as a probable next opponent in 2011, branding the likelihood at "80 per cent" last week.

Arum said the fight could take place on November 5 or 12.

As to the question of sustaining appeal given the lopsidedness of Pacquiao's fights as on Saturday night against Shane Mosley, Arum said: "You know, people will buy it to see Manny Pacquiao because he is not dull. He is the aggressor. He is an entertaining fighter. And I believe that the people that bought the fight tonight bought it not with the expectation that Mosley would win … but because they wanted to see Manny Pacquiao.

"People are attracted to greatness, and that's why, when Tiger Woods was beating everybody, the ratings for the telecasts were out of sight, and the same for Michael Jordan. What you're dealing with is a great athlete, who is recognised all over the world, and people want to see him."

That, Arum said, holds true even though, "when you analyse everything that's out there, it's very, very difficult to get somebody who could be competitive with" Pacquiao.

 

cculpepper@thenational.ae