Mexican legends Juan Manuel Marquez and Erik Morales appear headed for a July showdown, long overdue. (Photos by Harry How and Al Bello/Getty Images)
Juan Manuel Marquez has narrowed his potential opponents list down to two for his July 14 return to the ring at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, but promoter Bob Arum says that one of the two named fighters is highly unlikely.
Mercito Gesta is a southpaw Filipino prospect Marquez would like to face because he's a southpaw and would help him prepare to potentially face Manny Pacquiao again later this year, but Arum notes that Gesta would be a tough sell on pay-per-view and at the gate, as he's got no real name value:
"The problem with Mercito Gesta is, how do you sell it on pay-per-view? Would he rather fight Mercito Gesta because Gesta is a lefty and he would prepare him for Pacquiao? Of course, yes. But so what? How can you pay him the purse that he wants against a Gesta, because you know and I know that it's going to be very tough for it to do business [on pay-per-view]," Arum told BoxingScene.com.
Some may have the instinct to go against Arum here, but he's right. It's a tough sell. Nobody knows Mercito Gesta. On the other hand, Top Rank did just run a pay-per-view on April 14 with Marquez against Serhiy Fedchenko, and a co-feature of Brandon Rios vs Richard Abril.
On the other other hand, that thing probably didn't do much business itself, and it's unlikely Top Rank wants to do that twice. They kind of got pigeonholed into that show, anyway, when Yuriorkis Gamboa dropped out of his HBO date with Rios.
That would leave Erik Morales, who is interested in the fight, and there have been talks between Top Rank and Golden Boy, who promote Morales, about staging it. It seems like it should happen, and right now it seems like it will. Todd duBoef and Richard Schaefer have had what both sides are calling positive discussions about putting the fight together.
Top Rank doesn't really have anyone for Marquez, and Golden Boy doesn't really have anything for Morales. We saw this happen last year with Gamboa and Daniel Ponce De Leon. When worse comes to worst, the companies will work together, if only on a one-off.
I suppose there's a chance Marquez could take short money to fight Gesta, but why would he?