It looks as if Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez could be returning to the ring in April, though not against each other. In an article from the Manila Bulletin, Bob Arum says that the two rivals could square off with separate foes on a doubleheader-style bill, a tease of what could come later if the pair does indeed have a rematch in the fall.
Here is an excerpt from the Manila Bulletin:
Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum told the Bulletin on Wednesday that Pacquaio has already indicated his desire to return to the ring in April following the sixth-round knockout to Marquez last year in Las Vegas.
“While I was on vacation (in Cape Town, South Africa), (Pacquiao adviser) Michael (Koncz) reached out to (Top Rank matchmaker) Bruce Trampler, saying they want to fight in April,” said Arum from his Las Vegas residence.
Arum said Fernando Beltran of Zanfer Promotions is due to meet with Marquez about the possibility of him and Pacquiao appearing in a double-header against separate foes.
Arum said the proposed double main event should serve as a teaser to a planned slambang September showdown between Pacquiao and Marquez, saying it will be held during the height of the celebration of Mexican Independence.
“This is a more important celebration among Mexicans compared to the Cinco de Mayo (festivities),” said the 81-year-old Arum.
Arum has been known to make some pretty grand statements (frankly, all promoters have) so this should be taken with a big grain of salt. Having two of the sport's best-known fighters on the same card in two different fights is an awfully ambitious thing to do. The reason is that each man could draw his own strong gate. Promoters are typically not crazy about stacking cards because if, say, Pacquiao could sellout the MGM Grand by himself, why put another big name on the undercard when that other big name could fill up a different place by himself?
Golden Boy recently put Canelo Alvarez on the Floyd Mayweather Jr. - Miguel Cotto undercard against Shane Mosley in a move that goes against that line of thinking. They had Canelo fight Mosley in the MGM Grand, same location as the main event. This was different than when Canelo fought Alfonso Gomez on the pay-per-view undercard of Mayweather - Victor Ortiz. Canelo actually faced Gomez at the Staples Center in front of his own large crowd that night while the rest of the televised card was in the MGM Grand. In other words, two stars drawing two separate big gates equals more money. Therefore, I think it's wise to take a "wait and see" approach to this whole scenario.
Another issue for Pacquiao is the fact that he is currently on a medical suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for 120 days. He is totally banned from any contact (sparring, for example) for 90 days. However, the suspension would be finished by the third week of April, just before this proposed card would take place.
Personally, I would be surprised if this happens. For one, with Mayweather coming back on May 4 it only leaves two weeks between this card and his. That would be very close together for two competing pay-per-views that each cost a good sum of money for the consumer.
Marquez has also said that he is considering retirement. It would truly be a great way for the Mexican great to end his career but, happy endings in boxing are seldom seen. The monetary lure of a fifth fight with Pacquiao may be too much to dismiss, regardless of how well he has managed his money up to this point.
And, finally, there is Pacquiao. Will he return so quickly after being knocked unconscious? And against whom?
The next month or so will be very interesting in shaping the boxing landscape for the coming year.