Juan Manuel Marquez has been rumored to be heading into a showdown with junior welterweight titleholder Lamont Peterson, in what would be sort of a "Manny Pacquiao Eliminator," but the 38-year-old Mexican superstar tells notifight.com (via BoxingScene.com) that he won't go into anything without a contractual guarantee that a win nets him a fourth fight with Pacquiao:
"Before I accept an agreement, it must include a fight against Pacquiao. Otherwise I will not sign it. I will not serve as a stepping stone for others," Marquez said.
Marquez (53-6-1, 39 KO) probably would be in the ring against Pacquiao again on June 9, but he basically talked his way out of that one by refusing to fight in Nevada, where the fight is worth by far the most money at the gate, and now it's kind of hard to figure his angle. He says he wants to fight on, but his tone is shifting a lot. Sometimes he says he's looking for any good fight, and a fight with Peterson is a good one, and sometimes it appears to be all about Pacquiao.
Bob Arum and Top Rank would be kind of crazy to sign off on a guaranteed November date with Pacquiao for a Marquez vs Peterson fight, to be honest. Right now I don't personally really believe that a Pacquiao vs Floyd Mayweather fight is likely for November, despite Arum saying he wants it to happen.
But things can change very quickly. Maybe there will be a day in July when both sides suddenly see eye-to-eye, and that fight is made. You can't really risk that to contractually guarantee Juan Manuel Marquez or Lamont Peterson a date with Pacquiao, who is likely nearing the end of his ring career, too, at age 33 and with a political career taking up more of his time and energy.
I'm not saying Marquez doesn't deserve a fourth fight with Pacquiao, or even that he doesn't deserve the guarantee that he gets it for taking a risk against Peterson. After all, it was Bob Arum's floated idea to have, perhaps, Pacquiao face Timothy Bradley, and Marquez vs Peterson, with the winners meeting later this year. And Juan Manuel Marquez is still 0-2 fighting over 135 pounds, so a fight with Peterson is, indeed, a risky proposition. Marquez could sit around and take tune-ups and just wait for Pacquiao later this year as easily as he could fight Peterson for the chance.
I'm just saying that it's a big gamble by Top Rank if they sign off on all of that, unless they're flatly saying they aren't interested in making the Mayweather fight for November.
The best they could really do for Marquez here is, I guess, guaranteeing him the Pacquiao fight with a win over Peterson, but with a clause that gives them an out if they can make the Mayweather fight. Marquez may not accept that, anyway -- he's a proud guy and doesn't feel he should take a backseat to anyone.
The notifight.com report also continues to suggest that Cowboys Stadium is a possible venue for a Marquez vs Peterson fight, but that's a fantasy. If it were to be held in Texas, there are several good venues (Houston's Reliant Arena is emerging as a top fight arena), but that isn't one of them. I seriously can't imagine them getting over 20,000 at the very most in there, and the place looked far too big for the 30-40K that Pacquiao brought in for fights with Joshua Clottey and Antonio Margarito.