Mexican Juan Manuel “Di-namita” Marquez is either lost in the dark or is just playing his cards right when he decided to turn down a me-gabuck fifth showdown with Filipino Manny Pacquiao for a September 14 date with World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight (147 pounds) champion Timothy Bradley Jr.
From a financial standpoint, Marquez will still rake in plenty of dough against Bradley, but the amount does not figure to match the purse he can get for another fistic tango with Pacquiao. After demolishing Pacquiao in six rounds in December, Marquez definitely deserves a raise. Being deserving of a raise is one thing; asking for the keys to heaven is another though. Marquez, who took home around $6 million in the fourth encounter, hankered for $20 million to jumpstart the negotiations for a fifth fight. Pacquiao’s camp countered with a $13 million offer, which is already a substantial increase for Marquez, but the Mexican inexplicably turned it down. It just doesn’t make any cent, err sense, right?
Not really. Believe it or not, Marquez is actually looking at the fifth showdown with Pacquiao as an investment that should not be rushed amid the promise of huge dividends.
You read it right, if Marquez’s gamble pays off, the guy stands to realize a bonanza.
Marquez is taking a smaller raise (which is still a raise whichever way you put it) in the Bradley fight in exchange for a piece of history and a bigger chip when he resumes negotiations with Pacquiao. Marquez, 55-6 with 40 knockouts, has previously held titles in the featherweight (126 pounds), super featherweight (130 pounds) and lightweight (140 pounds) divisions. A win over Bradley will make Mar-quez only the second Mexican fighter in boxing history (after Erik Morales) to win four world titles in as many weight categories.
It gets better for Marquez because he is on course to wear around his waist the WBO welterweight belt Pacquiao yield-ed to Bradley in June. As he is coming off a numbing knockout defeat, Pacquiao is not likely to contend for a world title in his next fight, which means that when the Filipino ring icon returns to the negotiating table with Marquez, he will find the table turned. Pacquiao will be the challenger and Marquez the defending world champion. Marquez will have the big stick he needs to haggle for a bigger slice of the pie.
Of course, the gamble will go haywire if Mar-quez loses to Bradley. But last time we checked, the feather-fisted Bradley was nearly sent to kingdom come by a pedestrian slugger from Russia named Ruslan Provodnikov. Before Provodnikov, Bradley almost got creamed by Pacquiao; only two blind judges saw it the other way around.
Marquez, 39, trained in Spartan-like fashion against Pacquiao and he is arguably not ready to go through the grinder in back-to-back fights. By taking Bradley, Marquez can cut himself some slack and train just enough to take out Bradley. After he gets past Bradley, Marquez can go back to his cave and train in Herculean fashion against Pac-quiao in what figures to be the Mexican’s swan song.
Oh, what if Pacquiao loses his next fight? Pacquiao’s career will be over and people will ridicule Marquez for not immediately taking the fifth fight. If this scenario takes place, Marquez will still get the last laugh. Pacquiao will never get to avenge the devastating loss and Marquez can sleep soundly knowing that in their last encounter, he knocked the daylights out of the PacMan. That still makes for a huge bonanza.
* * *
For comments, the writer can be reached at atty_eduardo@ yahoo.com.