COMMENTARY | Juan Manuel Marquez will be 40 years old in August of next year and is entering into his twentieth year as a professional fighter. After scoring the victory of his career via sixth round knockout of arch-rival Manny Pacquiao in December, the temptation is there to hang up the gloves and go out on top. After all, the four-division world titlist and future hall of famer from Mexico City has nothing left to prove. His legacy is well-defined and, hopefully, there's enough money in the bank to live comfortably for the rest of his life.
However, should Marquez decide to continue with his career, there are plenty of people already planning each and every one of his steps.
Marquez's promoter of record, Fernando Beltran recently told the media that his fighter's future is well mapped-out if Marquez opts to keep fighting for at least one more year.
"Marquez is the one who will decide whether he fights," Beltran told Boxingscene. "We are thinking about serious opponents, someone who would make for a good fight. Jessie Vargas and Vyacheslav Senchenko have been mentioned [for us and] for Pacquiao, and perhaps they will allow us choose [the opponent] first."
Aiming for a proposed April 20 (or April 13) date, it's also possible that Marquez's return could be part of a split-site pay-per-view with Manny Pacquiao fighting from Manila, The Philippines as the other half of the co-main event.
Neither rumored opponent is much of a danger to upset Marquez (or Pacquiao), but that's kind of the point. Realistically, Top Rank Promotions could put Marquez and Pacquiao in the ring together in April and they'd likely pick up right where they left off. But this will be billed as a "tune up" fight for both legendary figures and it'll serve as a way to cash-in one last time before possibly losing the loser of Pacquiao-Marquez V to retirement.
Vyacheslav Senchenko (33-1, 22 KOs), a former WBA welterweight titlist from the Ukraine, is best known for his recent knockout win over a comeback-minded Ricky Hatton last November. Seven months earlier, in April, Senchenko was stopped in nine rounds by the light-hitting Paulie Malignaggi. Prior to that, Senchenko had defended his WBA belt three times, against unspectacular opposition, in a title reign that lasted just under three and a half years.
Jessie Vargas (21-0, 9 KOs) is a 23-year-old welterweight prospect from Las Vegas, just starting to step up his level of opposition. Recent efforts have resulted in wins over Josesito Lopez, Steve Forbes, and Lanardo Tyner.
Reports have also mentioned veteran former champ, Humberto Soto, and Brandon Rios as possible foes for Manny Pacquiao in April.
Obviously, nothing has been signed yet and all of this is still very much at the rumor stage. It's not even known if Marquez will continue with his career, although a relatively easy pay day in April and a blockbuster, possibly eight-digit payout against Pacquiao later in the year could very well convince the Mexican to keep fighting for at least one more year.
In many ways, Pacquiao's loss to Marquez was a godsend for promoter, Bob Arum and his promotional firm, Top Rank. Just as the Filipino's list of potential opponents had shrunk to just one or two fairly unmarketable options, the face-first knockout loss has created a market for yet another Pacquiao-Marquez clash. The shocking loss has also given Team Pacquiao full permission to ease up a bit and take an easier bout-- something that would've been ripped to shreds by the media had such a thing been proposed back when Manny was riding high.
But all of this depends on Juan Manuel Marquez.
The smart thing to do would be to quit while on top and focus on broadcasting and his other endeavors. The smart money is on a Marquez return, though. Everyone knows this and that's why the wheels are already in motion for an interesting 2013.
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.
Miguel Rivera and Rafael Soto, Pacquiao, Marquez Return Details Discussed By Beltran, Boxingscene