Juan Manuel Marquez: 5 Possible Opponents If Pacman Fight Falls Through

Briggs Seekins@BriggsfighttalkFeatured ColumnistJune 17, 2012

Juan Manuel Marquez: 5 Possible Opponents If Pacman Fight Falls Through

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    An ESPN report from June 16 quotes Fernando Beltran of Zanfer Promotions as stating that Manny Pacquiao, 54(38)-4(2)-2, will forsake a rematch with Timothy Bradley in favor of a fourth fight against his great rival Juan Manuel Marquez, 54(39)-6-1, this November 10 in either Las Vegas or Marquez's native Mexico.

    On a personal level, this is one of the fights I would most like to see. I believe Marquez deserved the win in both of their last two fights; Pacquiao won by split and majority decision respectively. 

    Note: I do not consider either of those decisions robberies. It's simply my own opinion that Marquez deserved to win them. But they were very close fights.

    What happened to Pacquiao against Bradley on June 9 was outright robbery. That fight was not even remotely as close as any of Marquez's fights against the Filipino Congressman.

    I had it 10 rounds to two for Pacquiao and know plenty of people who scored it 11-to-1. Scoring as generously as possible for Bradley, I still don't see how you can get better than 8-to-4 (which is what I predicted it would be). 

    After Marquez-Pacquiao III last November, most of the debate focused on the effectiveness of Marquez's punches versus the total volume landed by Pacquiao. 

    People who agree with me felt that the punches Marquez landed were much more effective scoring punches than the ones Pacquiao landed. Still, the pro-Pacquiao crowd could accurately point to a greater number of punches landed for Pacquiao. 

    Against Bradley, Pacquiao landed a lot more punches, and they were far more effective punches. Bradly was a tough, game opponent, particularly since he was fighting on an injured hoof. But he lost, clearly.

    So in my opinion, this is the far more compelling fight. Don't get me wrong. I would be interested in the Pacquiao-Bradley rematch and think Bradley will be tougher the next time.

    But I would rather see Marquez, who turns 39 in August, get one last shot at his great nemesis. Anybody who says they aren't interested in this because the two have already fought three times, I frankly have to question how much a boxing fan they truly are.

    Sandy Sadler and Willie Pep fought four times. Sugar Ray Robinson and Jake Lamotta fought five. In both cases, the sport is better for it having happened.

    Zanfer promotes Marquez and Beltran is a reliable source. Just the same, I won't truly believe this fight is going to happen until I see the official press conference announcing freshly inked contracts. 

    This is boxing, after all. What people say is going to happen often doesn't. 

    Either way, Marquez, who has a fight scheduled for July, will probably be looking to have at least one more big fight next fall. 

Zab Judah

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    Earlier this spring, there was a lot of buzz about a potential fight between Marquez and former two division world champion Zab Judah, 42(29)-7(3). Even if Marquez still ends up fighting Pacquiao in the fall, I think there's a great chance, he will take on Judah first, on his already scheduled date in July. 

    Judah is a southpaw who will give Marquez challenging rounds, which makes him a natural warm-up for Pacquiao, even if he's a much different fighter. And while this is not the super fight it would have been five or eight years ago, it's still much more compelling than your standard tune-up fight.

    I have a line I like to use about Judah: he's not as great as he was and was never as great as he thought he was. Still, he was, and still is, an elite talent.  

    If Judah is still capable of making a competitive fight with Marquez, it will actually tell us a lot about Amir Khan, who demolished Judah in five last July. A lot of people were ready to pull the plug on Judah after that.

    But he came back last March and completely exposed highly regarded, undefeated prospect Vernon Paris on NBC Fight Night, thoroughly outclassing the youngster and stopping him in nine. Given his name and resume, it was probably enough to earn him at least one more big fight.

    Juan Manuel Marquez could be that fight.  

Amir Khan

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    Amir Khan, 26(18)-2(1), is scheduled to face undefeated WBC light welterweight champion Danny Garcia in July. If he wins that one, a showdown with Marquez in November would line up nicely. 

    I had Khan winning his fight against Lamont Peterson last December 113-112, even after the two questionable point deductions by referee Joseph Cooper.

    I actually think the 25-year-old, 5'10" Khan could potentially be a tougher matchup for Marquez than Paquiao would be. With four inches of reach and a world-class jab, he could make it difficult for Marquez to deliver his legendary body attack. 

    Marquez has exceptional footwork and should be able to get the necessary angles to finesse Khan's length. But this would be the sort of generational, potentially torch-passing battle that has always made the sport of boxing compelling. 

Lamont Peterson

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    The career of Lamont Peterson, 30(15)-1-1, is somewhat up in the air at the moment, following his positive test for synthetic testosterone and the cancellation of his highly anticipated rematch with Amir Khan. 

    Like I wrote in the last slide, I had Khan winning that fight. Still, I was happy to see the D.C. native get the decision. At the time, I regarded Peterson as one of the best boxing stories of the year—a street kid saved by the sport. 

    I think there's the possibility of redemption for the 28-year-old Peterson. Nobody goes from being a homeless child to a world-class fighter without character and heart. He should get the chance to atone for his mistakes.

    His gritty, action style would make for a very compelling fight with Marquez.  

Brandon Rios

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    Last April, Brandon Rios, 30(22)-0-1, benefited from a split-decision verdict against Richard Abril that was at least as outrageous as Bradley's win over Pacquiao last week. The Cuban refugee easily outworked the hard punching, undefeated phenom.

    I had it 9-to-3 Abril on my own card. 

    That fight was broadcast as part of a Top Rank pay-per-view card featuring Marquez. The suggestion seemed to be that Rios, who has found it impossible to make weight at 135 recently, would likely move up to challenge Marquez. 

    His lackluster performance against Marquez seems to have pushed that off the table for now.

    But I could still see the fight happening. I'll give Rios some benefit of the doubt and say he took Abril lightly and didn't adequately prepare. 

    There's no excuse for that. But it's possible that we did not see Rios at his best that night.

    Even at his best, I think the ultra-aggressive Rios was made-to-order for the counter-punching wizard, Marquez. But it could be a thriller while it lasted. 

Erik Morales

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    Mexican legend Erik Morales, 52(38)-8(2), was the last fighter to legitimately beat Manny Pacquiao, taking a unanimous decision from him in 2005.

    Pacman knocked him out twice in rematches, and Morales was frankly viewed as washed up prior to his very impressive majority decision loss to Marcos Maidana last year. He followed that up by winning the WBC 140-pound strap against Pablo Cesar Cano, making him the first Mexican to win world titles in four divisions.

    Morales dropped a one-sided unanimous decision to Danny Garcia last March. He has been a nice story over the past year but truly doesn't seem to have maintained his elite status the way Marquez has.

    Still, these are two of the biggest legends from the country that loves boxing like no other. For nostalgia purposes alone, this would be a big event.