COMMENTARY | You don't get to be a four-division world champ and future first-ballot Hall of Famer by being weak-willed and wishy-washy.
Juan Manuel Marquez, Pacquiao conqueror and Mexican legend, has proven himself to be every bit as stubborn outside the ring as he is skilled inside it.
Marquez's refusal to grant Manny Pacquiao a rematch after last December's face-first knockout of the Filipino icon has surely vexed more than a few people in Team Pacquiao and within Top Rank Promotions.
When cash-cow Manny wants something, the general reaction has been to move heaven and earth to give it to him. Even opponents tend to double over and give in when the eight-division world champ really, really wants something. Frankly, since Pacquiao became an international economic force with his move up in weight, the man hasn't heard the word "no" too often in a professional setting.
So, Marquez's insistence on closing the chapter on his rivalry with Pacquiao has to be exceptionally frustrating, especially since a fifth Marquez bout is really the only doable big fight that makes sense for Manny after his upcoming Brandon Rios clash.
Not only would Pacquiao like to avenge his most embarrassing defeat, but, in many ways, he needs this bit of redemption to regain his main-stage mojo in the eyes of the fans. Beating Rios decisively on November 23 will go a long way toward removing himself from the "damaged goods" category, but only a win over Marquez will get him back to where he was before his KO loss.
But Marquez remains steadfast in his refusal to face Pacquiao. Not knowing the inner workings of the Mexico City native's mind, the reason for this refusal has to be left open to interpretation. Perhaps he feels that he was cheated in his first three bouts with Pacquiao and wants to close the book on things now that he achieved this one big, decisive victory. Perhaps, upon securing this tremendous win, he just wants to leave things well enough alone.
Whatever the case, Marquez apparently refused to seriously entertain talks for a part five with Manny and was, instead, hustled off into his upcoming bout with WBO welterweight titlist and fellow Pacquiao victor Timothy Bradley on October 12.
On the surface, Bradley-Marquez could turn out to be a mess of a bout, stylistically, with the awkward Bradley hard-charging calculated counter-puncher Marquez, and neither really being able to hurt the other. Distributed via HBO pay-per-view, it could also be a hard sell in a fall boxing season already sporting three other PPV cards in a ten-week period.
Bradley vs. Marquez on PPV begs the question, at least in this writer's mind, if this isn't a bit of a punishment and defrocking by promoter of both fighters, Bob Arum.
Set up for failure in what could be an ugly stylistic matchup, both fighters could come away from this bout in a worse position in terms of marketability. This would also mean that both would have significantly less bargaining power if/when Team Pacquiao comes calling for a future bout.
Last year, it was widely reported that Bradley may have fallen out of favor with Arum after some harsh words he had for the aged promoter in the wake of his dubious decision victory over Pacquiao. Since then, hatchets seem to have been buried, but one never can tell in the world of big-time prizefighting.
Marquez, with a loss, poor showing, and poor buy rate (or any combination of the three), will be stuck with Pacquiao as his only option for a big money fight. And, presumably, he'd have to come to Arum and Team Pacquiao, sombrero in hand, and take whatever will be offered.
However, if this scenario is true, the last laugh may be at Arum's expense.
A Bradley bout, in Marquez's eyes, is a legacy fight -- an effort to be the first Mexican fighter to win world titles in five different weight classes. Win, lose, or draw, retirement may be the next move for the soon-to-be 40-year-old Mexican legend. This will leave Arum and Team Pacquiao holding the bag and searching in vain for another viable main-stage opponent.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and as Editor-in-Chief of The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing. For breaking news, additional analysis, and assorted crazy commentary, follow him on Facebook, @TheBoxingTribune or on Twitter, @BoxingBTBC.
Sources: Boxingscene, ESPN, Bad Left Hook
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