Manny Pacquiao’s anticipated return to the ring in September 2013 could end up being the fifth installment of his rivalry with Juan Manuel Marquez.
Pacquiao’s proposed return-to-the-ring timetable coincides with Mexico’s Independence Day weekend, which sets the stage for Marquez-Pacquiao V, according to Alfredo Berrios of ESPNDeportes.com.
Marquez knocked Pacquiao out in the sixth round of the fourth fight between the two storied fighters on Dec. 8, 2012. He caught Pacman with a strong right that knocked the Filipino fighter to the mat.
The punch shocked the sports-entertainment world and ended one of the longest-standing rivalries in the sport.
Or so we thought.
Frank Sternburg, a spokesman for Top Rank promotions, said (according to Berrios) the economic success of the previous fight makes another fight in the series a “no-brainer.”
Marquez’s team seems to be on board as well despite recent speculation that Pacquiao has developed early signs of Parkinson’s disease.
Filipino neurologist Dr. Rustico Jimenez said that the 34-year-old southpaw may be showing early signs of the nervous-system disorder following his knockout by Marquez, according to an ESPN report.
"Logically, we will find what's most lucrative for him, in order to be an important fight," Fernando Beltran, Marquez’s representative, said, according to Berrios. "Juan Manuel Marquez and myself are gentlemen and we know that Pacquiao gave us an opportunity, and he didn't have to, and most probably we will give it to him."
Pacquiao was never treated by Jiminez, but will reportedly be evaluated as a precaution at a Las Vegas Cleveland Clinic in order to make sure he is fit to fight in his return, Sternburg said in the ESPN Deportes article.
The fourth fight between Dinamita and Pacman was supposed to be their last. Marquez could walk away owning the decisive win in the series, but it would certainly be an honorable act of sportsmanship if he decides to step back into the ring with Pacquiao.