The WBO plans to stick by their pre-fight talk and enforce the mandatory lightweight title defense of Juan Manuel Marquez against Michael Katsidis, reports Rick Reeno. Marquez kept his title(s) and RING Magazine world championship after losing at welterweight to Floyd Mayweather Jr. on Saturday, and Katsidis beat Vicente Escobedo to win the interim WBO lightweight title, setting up the bout with Marquez.
Prior to the fight, the WBO said that were Marquez to upset Mayweather, they would let the Mexican champion take another optional big fight without stripping him of his lightweight title, but were he to lose, they would absolutely make sure he faced the winner of Katsidis-Escobedo or give up his strap.
Marquez wants Ricky Hatton, but Hatton hasn't said anything about it yet, and Hatton also has Juan Diaz out there calling for a fight. Any of those fights -- Marquez-Hatton, Hatton-Diaz, Marquez-Katsidis -- sounds great to me. I said last night that a Marquez-Katsidis fight could be a war.
The WBO is just being consistent, which isn't always the case for any of the sanctioning bodies, but Katsidis-Escobedo was a worthy eliminator bout and Katsidis put on arguably the best total performance of his career against Escobedo. They put on a good show and Katsidis has earned his shot. If Marquez can make the Hatton fight at 140, it won't surprise me if he just vacates and takes that. Marquez-Hatton promises a lot more money than Marquez-Katsidis does, so it'd be simple business. At 36, Marquez only has so many fights left.
I'd feel bad for Katsidis, who has climbed back into the race after a devastating loss to Joel Casamayor and a bad performance against Juan Diaz last year, but it's just economics. And I do believe if Marquez can't get Hatton, he'll gladly fight Katsidis. Marquez isn't going to be suddenly afraid of anyone, and if Hatton doesn't want to do get back in the ring right now, Marquez's options are only so many. Katsidis is right there and willing.