Manny Pacquiao's Next Fight Must Be Against Juan Manuel Marquez

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistMarch 7, 2013

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - SEPTEMBER 17:  (L-R) Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez stand onstage to face the media cameras during the Manny Pacquiao v Juan Manuel Marquez - Press Conference at Beverly Hills Hotel on September 17, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

When boxing legend Manny Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KOs) steps in the ring again, it must be for a fifth installment in his epic feud with Juan Manuel Marquez (55-6-1, 40 KOs).

Pacquiao knows just how much he lost when he was knocked out in the sixth round of the duo’s fight in December—not just fiscally in terms of other superfights he lost out on, but also in terms of the way his legacy will be looked upon going forward—and he must avenge the loss by taking on the challenge once again.

This would be the fifth fight between Pac-Man and Marquez (Pacquiao is 2-1-1 against his long-time foe), and this rivalry has blossomed into one of the greatest of all time.

While this isn’t the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao superfight that almost every boxing fan in the world wanted, the fifth installment of the Pac-Man vs. JMM battle would only further divide the supporters and critics of the Filipino star.

That much publicity over another chapter in this battle would also draw plenty of money for both men, and with Marquez holding all the leverage because of his victory, it’s clear that the only option is to work together for the biggest payday possible.

Marquez’s promoter Fernando Beltran told Boxing Scene about how much money the fighter deserves and who he has to fight to get that purse:

I believe he deserves [at least $10 million or more]. We have to make a decision by April [on his next fight] and then we'll make the announcement on who he will fight in September. However, putting Marquez and Pacquiao together is the only combination that produces an attractive financial figure for Juan Manuel.

The main issue—besides money—for both Pacquiao and Marquez in selecting their next challenger is their age and how much time they feel they have left in the sport.

At 34 and 39 years old respectively, Pac-Man and Marquez have seen their best days pass and are looking for the biggest paychecks at this point in their careers. The most possible money to be made from a fight this year would be from the fifth bout between these two legends.

As much as some boxing fans didn’t want to see this war a fourth time, adding another chapter to this story will cement it as one of the top five greatest rivalries in boxing history.

While Pacquiao may have tarnished his legacy with his performances lately (decision loss to Timothy Bradley and KO loss to JMM in his last two fights), having the opportunity to avenge the defeat and end the long-term feud once and for all would help vindicate his career.

It’s very clear that this fight is the only real option for either man.