In a few days, Manny Pacquiao's promoter, Bob Arum, will present to the Filipino boxing star a shortlist of potential opponents for his ring return in November. Most likely, the shortlist will not include Pacquiao's potential future foe, Floyd Mayweather Jr., who is still serving his 90-day jail term.
Earlier, the possibility of a Pacquiao vs. Mayweather showdown was floated in one of my articles here on B/R, but viewers are saying Mayweather won't be ready for a November fight with Pacquiao. They said the unbeaten champion will need more time to recover from his incarceration.
Without Mayweather's name in the list, Pacquiao will have to choose between Juan Manuel Marquez and Timothy Bradley to seal his fight calendar for the year.
The question is, which of these two aspiring fighters will Pacquiao choose?
In 2004, Marquez and Pacquiao fought to a controversial draw in a featherweight bout (126 pounds). Pacquiao would have won via a split decision if not for a scoring error committed by one of the judges, who scored a round at 10-7 instead of 10-6 for Pacquiao's three knockdowns of Marquez.
In 2008, at super featherweight (130 pounds), Marquez and Pacquiao clashed again in a hotly contested rematch in which Pacquiao earned a split-decision victory. Pacquiao's third-round knockdown of Marquez must have influenced the decision of the judges, as they gave the winning score to the Filipino boxing star.
To secure his third fight with the then pound-for-pound king, Marquez had to cross the Pacific Ocean and traveled to the Philippines to beg Pacquiao for another fight.
When Pacquiao fought Shane Mosley in May 2011, Marquez was at ringside with his "I beat Pacquiao Twice" T-shirts and posters to entice Pacquiao to consider another fight.
Almost four years after beating Marquez, Pacquiao reluctantly gave Marquez another chance to prove his claim as the real winner in their last two encounters.
On November 12, they fought for the third time at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nev. The fight was close and lasted 12 rounds, with Pacquiao winning on points.
Again, Marquez cried foul. He said he was again robbed (for the third time) of his rightful victory, dramatizing his claim with his premature walk-out from the ring right after the fight.
For the nth time, Marquez is once more doing what he does best with his usual media blitz by hyping the fight for more pay-per-view (PPV) numbers, which will ultimately translate to more dollars going to his bank account.
Meanwhile, Bradley is hoping to engage Pacquiao in rematch to validate his claim for superiority over the eight-division world champion.
Bradley and Pacquiao fought to a controversial split decision in Bradley's favor last June 9 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.
Because of the controversy, the World Boxing Organization (WBO) assigned five seasoned boxing judges to review the fight and to determine the real winner. After the review, all five judges came up with a unanimous decision in favor of Pacquiao.
Choosing from these two potential rematches, Arum will most likely choose Marquez over Bradley as Pacquiao's next opponent.
If the PPV numbers will be used as a basis for determining which fight is more lucrative for the promoter, it showed the Pacquiao vs. Marquez fight last year generated over 1.4 million PPV sales, way ahead of the reported 700 PPV buys generated by Bradley.
As in any sound business decision, Arum is expected to go for the fight that will give him and his fighters the most revenue—and that would be the fourth fight between Pacquiao and Marquez.