Lem Satterfield of BoxingScene.com has a report today that involves the contract situation for Juan Manuel Marquez, and the chance of a third fight between Marquez and his rival, Manny Pacquiao.
To sum it up, Marquez's contract is, according to Richard Schaefer, "nearing its end," and speculation is very high that the Mexican star is all but a free agent. Schaefer says Golden Boy has a 30-day window in the contract to re-sign Marquez after it expires, and reserves the right to match any offer from another promoter until February 27, 2012.
Schaefer also has told Marquez that he's trying to talk to Top Rank about making the fight with Pacquiao, which is the 37-year-old Marquez's chief concern. He knows he's nearing the end of his career and desperately wants the fight with Pacquiao, a man he's faced twice in two razor-thin, action-packed epics.
But Todd DuBoef of Top Rank says there has been no discussion between he and Schaefer since "November or December," when Marquez was in the running to be Pacquiao's May opponent, a spot that ultimately went to Shane Mosley, a fighter who left Golden Boy Promotions entirely to make the Pacquiao fight. Ever since that deal went down, speculation has been rampant, and you could even say it has been assumed that Marquez would do exactly as Mosley did, leave Golden Boy and do a one-fight deal (likely with a rematch clause) with Top Rank.
Schaefer also says that Zanfer Promotions in Mexico, which works closely with Top Rank and co-promotes fighters with the American company, has already approached Marquez and says they can get the fight done. Signing with Zanfer would essentially be signing with Top Rank, for all intents and purposes. Top Rank and Zanfer co-promote Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Humberto Soto and Jorge Arce, among others.
The 2012 deal may not really mean much. Honestly, Golden Boy doesn't have a whole lot to lose by just letting Marquez walk if that's his desire. Since they have a piece of all Pacquiao fights, they'd still make a few bucks on a fight between Pacquiao and Marquez, and realistically, there is no hope on the horizon that the two companies will start working together again thanks to the Nonito Donaire situation. Marquez is aging and doesn't sound like he's looking to stick around forever, but rather wants to cash out on the biggest money fight available to him. At 37, does he really have the upside or years of significant fights remaining to make it worth Golden Boy's money to match offers from other promoters? He seemingly made his intentions pretty clear when he balked at what most felt would be an easy fight for good money against Erik Morales, leaving Golden Boy to restructure plans for their April 9 HBO PPV. There's quite obviously only one fight on Marquez's mind, and it's Manny Pacquiao.
So really, what's the point of keeping him? He's not going to be a long-term player. Even if he sticks around longer than he should, he's at an age and has had the type of career that makes him very risky to physically break down very soon. All he wants is to fight Manny Pacquiao, and Golden Boy isn't going to be able to give him that opportunity, and they know it. And unless Marquez is just crowing about the Pacquiao fight and doesn't actually want it -- which I don't think is the case at all -- Golden Boy doesn't even have many worthwhile fights for him. The biggest idea they have had left for Marquez is a fight with Amir Khan at 140 pounds, and if Marquez is going to be fighting over his best weight at his age, why not make it 147 and make more money in a much bigger fight?
It's no knock on Golden Boy when I say this, but they should let Marquez go fight the fight that he wants. He's earned that.