Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez could do it again this spring. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Juan Manuel Marquez is hoping that he can take Floyd Mayweather Jr's jail time as a blessing for himself, and land a fourth fight with Manny Pacquiao on May 5, a date that could now be open for HBO pay-per-view if Mayweather isn't able to hold the date.
Mayweather was recently sentenced to 90 days in jail in Nevada, and will report to authorities on January 6. Mayweather had the date set aside with HBO, and with the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, but the latter may not be any issue with Pacquiao vs Marquez IV (although surely the MGM would love to fill a potentially open date with this fight).
Marquez is still adamant that he will not fight Pacquiao again in Vegas, where he feels he's been given the shaft on three occasions.
The May 5 date is, of course, a huge fight date -- not just because it's Cinco de Mayo and thus tied into Mexican fight culture, but simply because it has become a yearly event weekend. Even without Mexican fighters, the first Saturday in May is now a staple for a major event -- Pacquiao vs Hatton in 2009, Mayweather vs Mosley in 2010, Pacquiao vs Mosley in 2011, etc. -- but a Mexican fighter makes it all the better.
And right now, there's no bigger Mexican star than Juan Manuel Marquez. I have no doubt that a fourth fight between the two would sell big on the weekend, or any weekend for that matter.
Whether or not the fight attracts the interest of the hardcore fans is another story, but we're not the target audience for these fights. They're looking to rope in those who can be sold the fight, and with the shockingly close nature of the November 12 bout, I think there's still a large audience out there for a fourth fight, perhaps those who haven't watched the first two fights 100 times over the years.
The only roadblocks in making this fight are probably from Marquez's side, and that's not a shot at Marquez. He's going to want to be very well compensated for the fight, and I mean north of the $5 million he was paid in November, they might not be able to get him to go to Vegas (I wouldn't bury the possibility, though), and it may all just come down to, basically, how much Marquez actually wants the fight as compared to how much Marquez isn't against the fight, so long as the terms are great for him.
If they did not go to Vegas, Texas would be the most likely destination. Like Nevada, Texas has no income taxes for fighters and promoters to worry about, and they could likely do a good crowd at the Alamodome in San Antonio or Reliant Arena in Houston. Cowboys Stadium in Arlington would surely come up in talks, too, but I'm just not certain there's a great deal of interest in going back there after so-so results with the Clottey and Margarito fights.
Of course the big reality of taking the fight out of Vegas is that money is lost. With the ability to charge a ton of money for tickets, plus the site fees the casinos can pay, gates in Vegas are huge compared to gates elsewhere. A Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather fight means a lift not just for the venue of the fight that week, but the entire city and more than just one casino. They bring huge business to Vegas and in a still-slumping economy, that means more than ever right now.
In other words, I think there has to be some way to get the fight in Vegas. Maybe instead of Nevada officials, the WBO (whose title Pacquiao holds) could appoint respected international officials. Given the money to be made, I can't imagine Keith Kizer and the NSAC fighting too many battles here; they need these fights.