If Manny Pacquiao is going to face Juan Manuel Marquez for a fifth time in September, he would be smart to add another fight at some point prior.
The former champ was once considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. Over the last year, however, he has lost some of his luster.
After losing his belt by decision in a bout against Timothy Bradley in June, he was knocked out by rival Marquez in December. This was the first time he lost to the Mexican fighter in four matches between the two.
While this result did not help Pacquiao's status as a boxer, it did pique people's interest in a fifth matchup between the two fighters.
According to Keith Idec of Boxing Scene, promoter Bob Arum recently discussed the next match:
Wherever I go, people used to ask me, 'When is Pacquiao going to fight [Floyd] Mayweather?' And now wherever I go, they say, 'When is the rematch going to happen?'
They'll wait until September to fight and it'll probably happen in Mexico or the United States. But I think in Mexico because there's no tax.
Obviously, fans will want to see one of the best rivalries of their generation continue, especially now that they know Marquez is capable of a victory. Another match will show whether or not the knockout was a fluke.
However, fighting in Mexico will not be easy for the Pac-Man. The crowd will side with his opponent, which will give Marquez a lot more energy to feed off throughout the match.
Additionally, the confidence level has to be very different for each fighter at this point. While Dinamita is coming off the best performance of his life, Pacquiao probably doubts himself right now after two tough losses.
In order to get back mentally, the Filipino fighter should set up another match in the spring. Even if it is against a weaker opponent, Pacquiao is a big enough draw to carry a pay-per-view event to make it worth his time.
More importantly, a dominant win would help him shake off any rust that he would have after a long layoff, and it will help him mentally prepare for the next match against Marquez.
Bill Dwyre of the Los Angeles Times reported that trainer Freddie Roach is the man that recommended September for his next match. He also said that Pacquiao personally wanted to have a match in April as well.
In this case, the fighter is right. He knows himself and he knows that he would be better off with a preliminary bout before getting in the ring in the fall.
Pacquiao cannot afford another loss to Marquez. It would limit his future options and likely lead to his retirement. While he can spend from now until that point training, it would be better to build up a little momentum in April or May.
There is simply too much for him to risk on one match.