I wrote this piece based on learning that Mayweather was targeting a March fight with Matthew Hatton and Pacquiao was going after Yuri Foreman's WBA 154lb title, which turned out to be erroneous and speculative. The fight is now being pushed ahead to March 13. If the fight is made, this article is moot. If the fight falls through, it carries much more weight. Regardless, give it a read. Pacquiao and Marquez will eventually come up in talks; here is my explanation of why it doesn't matter...yet.
Due to the possible delay of the proposed mega-fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr., there has been talk of Yuri Foreman stepping into Mayweather’s place. Some in the boxing world are clamoring for a third, and deciding fight between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez. You may remember that Pacquiao and Marquez fought to a questionable draw in 2004. Judge Burt Clements admitted after the fight that his scorecard was tallied incorrectly, and that his first round should have been scored 10-6 in favor of Pacquiao, who scored three knockdowns in the round. The extra point awarded to Marquez made his score 113-113, and made the fight a draw, as the other two judges each had a different man winning the fight.
The two men met again in 2008, this time in the Super Featherweight division. Many that watched the fight felt Pacquiao was awarded a karmic split decision, as he appeared to lose a majority of the rounds, but won on Duane Ford and Tom Miller’s scorecards. Why not get in the ring for a third time and settle the score once and for all? Plainly stated, body chemistry and the natural growth that comes with age may have caused Pacquiao to move up from the 130-pound division. Trainer Freddie Roach stated that Pacquiao was having difficulty making weight and was moving up to Lightweight after eight fights at Super Featherweight.
Since the second Pacquiao – Marquez fight, Manny Pacquiao’s travels may very well be the most documented in recent boxing history, as he has torn a hole through the Lightweight, Jr. Welterweight, and Welterweight divisions. The entire world is seemingly watching and has fallen in love with the ‘Manny Pacquiao Story’.
Juan Manuel Marquez’s rise through the divisions went well, but pales in comparison. He knocked out arguably the two best Lightweights, in a slightly-past-his-prime Joel Casamayor, and Juan Diaz. He made a failed attempt to move up to the Welterweight division, albeit with a catch-weight of 144 lbs, and lost to Floyd Mayweather Jr. Mayweather infamously failed to come in at the contractual weight limit and was forced to pay a hefty ransom for his negligence. Mayweather was $600,000 lighter in the wallet, but enjoyed the advantage of not draining himself to make weight.
With a Congressional run, and a Mayweather fight reportedly put off until September, Pacquiao now eyes a March fight date. Reportedly first on his radar is a record eighth world championship; the WBA belt that is currently wrapped around the waist of Yuri Foreman. Foreman won his version of the 154-pound championship from Daniel Santos on the same night Manny Pacquiao ripped the 147-pound WBO belt from Miguel Cotto’s waist. Roach says preparing Pacquiao for Foreman would take less time than preparations for Mayweather, and would still allow time for Pacquiao’s political aspirations. Team Pacquiao is looking hard at a March 1 fight date, which is conveniently just before Pacquiao’s campaign will begin.
As I said earlier, some are asking why Pacquiao is not entertaining the possibility of a rubber match with Juan Manuel Marquez. A third fight between Pacquiao and Marquez does make sense, but also looks like a giant waste of time, when placed under a microscope. Most obviously, Marquez is currently in negotiations with Ricky Hatton for a big comeback fight in England. More importantly, Marquez failed miserably in his only attempt at Welterweight. He looked chubby, slow, and only managed to hit Mayweather with 12 percent of his punches, according to ‘Compubox’. On the other hand, Pacquiao may have looked better than he ever has in his two trips to the Welterweight division.
As a consequence of Marquez’s epic fail in the Welterweight division, a third fight between Pacquiao and Marquez belongs at Lightweight or a catch-weight between 135 and 140. Unfortunately, it is highly unlikely that Pacquiao could effectively drop back down to Lightweight, so we may just be spitting in the wind in the end.
While some people say Pacquiao – Marquez III is the next most important fight for Pacquiao; I say it is quite far down the totem pole. Since the fight with Mayweather may not get made, the next best thing is a fight with Shane Mosley. Mosley, however, fights January 30 against youngster Andre Berto (WBC Champion) and will be pressed for time in making a March fight date.
With a Mayweather fight possibly set back, a Mosley fight a long shot, and Joshua Clottey a Pay-Per-View dead end, we are down to Paul Williams or Yuri Foreman. Paul Williams is 6’2” and is like a kid with chicken-pox for shorter Welterweights, so we can throw his name out right away. While Yuri Foreman should prove to be just a traffic cone in the road for Pacquiao, I would much rather see Pacquiao chase down history and go after his eighth world title than destroy a chubby, over matched Marquez. We are also left with the possibility that Pacquiao will have peaked as a Welterweight, and maybe…just maybe, will be over matched as a Junior Middleweight.
Marquez has proven to be the fiercest of Pacquiao foes to date. If Pacquiao ever does take a third fight with Marquez, it should be done at a weight at which Marquez is competitive, out of respect for the man that twice gave him fits.