The fight between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez is almost a done deal following Bob Arum's confirmation the contract has been signed by Marquez, which means Oscar de la Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions failed to match Arum's offer.
However, the long-awaited trilogy may not happen after all if Marquez fails to win in his tune-up fight with David Diaz on July 2 in Mexico City, according to Dan Rafael of ESPN.
The deal permits Juan Manuel Marquez to have a tune-up fight on or before July 17, and if he loses, he won't be able to face Pacquiao on Nov. 12 as scheduled.
"He's going to do that fight, and if he loses, he's out," Arum said.
Although Arum has yet to present the contract to Pacquiao for his approval, it is presumed the fighting congressman will go along with Arum's plan.
For boxing fans who have forgotten the events that led to the upcoming trilogy, here are 10 things you need to know about the fight.
The first fight between Pacquiao and Marquez took place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in May 2004, which ended in a draw despite three knockdowns suffered by Marquez in the first round. In this fight, Marquez retained his WBA/IBF Featherweight titles.
The second fight took place at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas in March 2008. Marquez lost his Super Featherweight Championship to Pacquiao via a split decision. In this fight, Pacquiao knocked down Marquez in the third round, which proved to be the clincher in the decision.
Asked about the possibility of a third fight, Pacquiao said afterward, "I don't think so, this business is over", as he plans to move up to the lightweight division.
Since losing to Pacquiao in 2008, Marquez has embarked on a long and unrelenting campaign to have one last crack at the pound-for-pound king. He even traveled to Manila to get Pacquiao's blessings. Marquez said he was cheated in the scoreboards in both fights, and to settle the issue, a third fight should be made.
Barring unforeseen events, Marquez's burning desire to face Pacquiao for the third time will finally happen on Nov. 12 provided he beats Diaz, who lost to Pacquiao in 2008 via TKO.
The fight will take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, the same venue where they fought in 2004 to a draw.
Pacquiao and Marquez will meet at a contract weight of 144 pounds. Marquez is moving from 135 while Pacquiao will make some adjustments below the welterweight limit of 147. Marquez has once moved up to the welterweight limit in 2009 to face Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
He lost the fight as Mayweather came in two pounds over the agreed weight and was slapped with a $600,000 penalty. It was a lopsided fight in favor of Mayweather.
The fight will be handled by Marquez's promotional outfit, although Arum said Top Rank will help. This clearly shows Marquez has finally severed ties with Golden Boy Promotions, as he opted not to renew his expired contract. However, Golden Boy still has an option to match any offer from a third party until Feb. 12.
Fight Media Coverage
The fight will be definitely be on pay-per-view but no decision has been made on which network will cover the event. Pacquio's last fight was covered by CBS-Showtime while Marquez-Mayweather fight was on HBO. Arum said. "Who is going to give us the best platform to promote the fight will get the fight."
Although Marquez has not formally announced his retirement plans, it is possible he will continue fighting beyond his next fight. At 37, he has a few more years before finally retiring for good.
Pacquiao's Next Foe
What happens if Marquez fails to win over David Diaz? Who will Pacquiao fight next? Arum mentioned two names—Zab Judah and Tim Bradley. But Arum later said "Neither are likely".
Still, the question remains—who will Pacquiao fight next?