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.