Manny Pacquiao: Should Juan Manuel Marquez Pull a Mosley and Leave Golden Boy?
Juan Manuel Marquez could be packing his bags soon.
The talented Mexican fighter could reportedly be leaving Golden Boy Promotions so he could have a chance at facing Manny Pacquiao, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The move would be identical to that of Shane Mosley, who also split with Oscar De La Hoya's promotional company so he could get a shot at boxing's pound-for-pound champion. That will become a reality on May 7, when Mosley and Pacquiao face off at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Marquez didn't confirm the move, and there's still stipulations involved with his contract, but the move goes back to the continuing feud between promoter Bob Arum and Golden Boy. The two rivals haven't worked on a fight together since 2009, and the comments continue to be heated between both sides.
On the surface, this is an easy decision for Marquez, but when you continue reading the article, there are potential sticking points that could create problems for him. My question: Should he follow in Mosley's footsteps and go his own way, or should he stick around? Take your passion out of the equation, and tell me what you think.
Here are five reasons he should leave and five why he should stay:
Reason No.5 to Leave: They're Messing with Your Career
If I'm Marquez and I'm watching the petty feud going on between Arum and Golden Boy, I'm thinking, "OK, who knows when, and if, this will be resolved. The longer this goes on, though, this means I could miss out on some other great opportunities for great fights and big time paydays."
If they want to keep fighting, that's their choice, but Marquez also has the right to make a living and make the most money he can.
Reason No.5 to Stay: This Could Turn Uglier
If Marquez makes a hasty decision and doesn't read the fine print, this could cause him more problems than necessary.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Golden Boy Promotions retains the rights to match the best offer that Marquez gets from an opposing promoter through Feb.27, 2012.
"I'm not going to take any of that Top Rank (stuff) any longer," Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer (pictured) told the paper. "Anyone who interferes with Juan, he'll pay for it and pay for it dearly."
"The truth will come out. There will be lawsuits and depositions, and people will have to decide if they want to commit perjury. Juan Manuel is not a liar and he's told us he's been approached."
Which would you rather do: Spend time in the gym training, or with lawyers having to prepare to testify in a ridiculous trial?
Reason No.4 to Leave: The Challenge of It
Marquez has had an amazing career and he has nothing to prove really.
He'll likely be a Hall of Famer someday. Right now, he has a career record of 52-5-1, with 38 knockouts. Three of his five losses have been to incredibly talented fighters like Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Freddie Norwood.
The Pacquiao loss? That's debatable. Judges scored their 2008 fight 112-115, 115-112 and 113-114. Their first fight was a draw.
So if he's got the chance to get one more crack at Pacquiao, why not go for it? Any competitor, and truly great athlete, wants to challenge themselves. Marquez can't make Pacquiao fight him, but he can give himself that opportunity and make it available. Better to try, then have fans wonder if you're ducking Manny or not.
Reason No.4 to Stay: Order It to Happen
When you're a young pup, cutting your teeth and just trying to get experience and grow as a pro, you take whatever fight comes your way.
Marquez, however, is one of the elite boxers in the sport. He can have his pick, and he can also turn down a fight if he desires. I'm curious what would happen if he told Oscar De La Hoya or Richard Schaefer to put aside their disagreements and make the Pacquiao fight happen.
In the mean time, consider: He could remain a free agent, get another payday from Golden Boy with a mid-level fighter, then wait and see if a Pacquiao fight could happen by year's end. If it doesn't, the stipulation with Golden Boy being able to match another promoter's offer will expire by next February.
Reason No.3 to Leave: Good for the Sport
There's still no guarantee that Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. will ever fight.
A third fight between Pacquiao and Marquez would be a great alternative and something that fans would enjoy. Their first two fights were highly entertaining and competitive, and this would create plenty of buzz, especially since Pacquiao has such a huge fan following and Marquez would attract the large Hispanic fanbase that loves the sport.
Contrary to what Bob Arum said recently in USA Today, I think Americans don't care if a fighter can speak English or not. If he stands in there and isn't afraid to fight, that's all that matters. Marquez fits that description.
Reason No.3 to Stay: Not the Same Buzz
I think a third fight between Pacquiao and Marquez would garner plenty of attention, but it wouldn't have the same buzz compared to if they did this three years ago.
Right after their 2008 rematch, they should have hammered out a third fight for that fall. Instead, Marquez fought Joel Casamayor, still a talented opponent, but not on Pacquiao's level. Even if he would have stuck with the Casamayor fight, Marquez could have come back and fought Manny a third time in early 2009.
Micky Ward and Arturo Gatti held the imagination of fight fans, and eventually average sports fans, in 2002 and 2003 because they fought all three fights in order.
Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera, on the other hand, had two years between their second and third fights, but that was OK, because that feud remained a topic of conversation and fans kept demanding that the fight happen since the first two fights had debatable outcomes.
Reason No.2 to Leave: Cash in While You Can
In any contact sport, especially boxing, your body can only take so much pounding before it wears out and you can't compete anymore.
Marquez isn't showing signs of dramatic decline and should capitalize on what time he has left to fight at a high level. All it takes is one night, and one opponent, to make him look old real quick and hang it up for good. Until then, he should maximize his health and the opportunity for the best paydays available.
Oscar De La Hoya was the master at this, and was still banking long after he was in his prime.
Reason No.2 to Stay: Don't Get Roped in
In the Los Angeles Times article, Golden Boy matchmaker Eric Gomez claims that Top Rank is using Pacquiao as bait to make mega-fights.
Mosley, Marquez, junior welterweight champ Timothy Bradley and welterweight champ Andre Berto were mentioned as those who've been roped in.
"They're dangling Pacquiao in front of everybody," Gary Shaw, Bradley's veteran promoter, says in the article. "It'll be the first time I've ever seen a fighter box four guys in one night."
Reason No.1 to Leave: Manny's Toughest Test
Of all the fighters Manny Pacquiao has faced, none have been tougher for him than Marquez.
Sure, Erik Morales won their first fight, but Pacquiao came back and won the next two fights decisively. Pacquiao walked through Oscar De La Hoya, knocked out Ricky Hatton, whupped Antonio Margarito, took down Miguel Cotto and embarrassed Marco Antonio Barrera.
Marquez, though, is different. What's even better: Not only do fight fans know this. Manny does, too.
Reason No.1 to Stay: Demand What Floyd Has
It seems ridiculous, but I like the desire for the sport's integrity to remain intact. If I'm Marquez, I'd demand what Floyd Mayweather Jr. has that Pacquiao submit to Olympic style blood tests two weeks before the fight. I'd hope he would agree to the same.
Then to sweeten the pot, I'd also see if Pacquiao would agree, fighter-to-fighter: If either one is reportedly caught cheating, they would have to make a public apology then pay the other fighter an extra $1 million.
If that can't be agreed on, that would raise red flags. Don't you think?
I think this decision is an easy one, but it needs to be done with smarts.
If I'm Marquez, I remain a free agent, finish out the year and get another payday or two from Golden Boy Promotions against mid-level competition. Maybe even take a shot against a rising star, and top fighter like Andre Berto.
Get through this year with a victory or two, and then one minute after the Feb.27, 2012, deadline passes, I secure a third Pacquiao fight.