While the world seemingly waits in earnest for a possible for a possible bout between superstars Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, the two fighters continue their never-ending stream of warm-up matches.
Next on the tune-up docket for Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KO) is a fourth bout against Juan Manuel Marquez (54-6-1, 39 KO) on Dec. 8 in Las Vegas.
The two men last met last November, where Pacquiao came away with a controversial split-decision victory as fans booed the decision after the fight. The match was the third straight thriller of what was ostensibly a great trilogy in both fighters' careers.
However, by choosing to fight Marquez a fourth time, Pacquiao set himself up in an unfortunate no-win situation.
When Mayweather advisor Leonard Ellerbe told the Los Angeles Times' Lance Pugmire that "no one cares" about Pacquiao-Marquez IV, he wasn't wrong. The fight will sell because of the Pacman's name value, but absolutely no one was clamoring for a revival of this rivalry.
Though each bout has been highly contested, there reaches a saturation point where you can no longer sell the two names atop the marquee. Fighting Marquez a fourth time is essentially the equivalent to the continued success of the Saw film franchise. You watch because of familiarity and branding, but leave wholly unsatisfied.
On the other hand, there would have been plenty of excitement about a possible Timothy Bradley rematch. By all accounts, Pacquiao was robbed in their first fight in June, losing in one of the more controversial split decisions in recent memory, and the bout made Bradley a household name.
Not only would Pacquiao-Bradley II give both fighters an opportunity to atone for the result of the first bout, it would also satiate the boxing world's desire for a top-tier bout.
More importantly, it would give Pacquiao the opportunity to reclaim his WBO welterweight championship in time for a possible match against Mayweather in May or June of 2013. In a time where the sport is simply treading water until this fight happens, Pacquiao missed an opportunity to create even more potential buzz.
Instead, we will simply get a retread of a fight we've seen three times previously. If the Filipino star comes out and wins, it's what he was supposed to do and we will simply move on with our lives. A loss, though, would be quite devastating and would siphon most of the hype out of the potential Mayweather bout.
Quite frankly, by choosing Marquez over Bradley, Pacquiao did boxing a disservice and put himself in a no-win situation when he sets foot in the ring on Dec. 8.
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