Numerous reports have indicated that lightweight world champion Juan Manuel Marquez is negotiating a four-fight deal with Golden Boy Promotions, a turn of events that really could change a lot of what we might have expected for the rest of the boxing year.
Fightnews.com says that the names of Robert Guerrero and Zab Judah have come up during the talks. A few weeks ago, Judah himself said that he'd like to fight Marquez. That bout would send Marquez up to 140 pounds, where Judah now holds an alphabet strap. It seems like there have been at least plenty of "feelers" sent out about that fight, and I'll admit that it intrigues me.
The biggest piece of news here, though, is that if Marquez does sign the new deal with Golden Boy, it says something very clear. It says he's decided that a third fight with Manny Pacquiao isn't that important to him, and that he's either moved on from the grip that rivalry has seemed to have on him over the years, or he simply believes it's no longer a logical fight. I'm not saying it would tell us that Marquez is "scared" of Pacquiao, I'm suggesting it would indicate that Marquez, who has 12 rounds of miserable experience fighting over 135 pounds, knows he's no welterweight, and that Pacquiao-Marquez in 2011 is not the same as Pacquiao-Marquez was in 2008 or 2004. It's not the worst decision, if that were the case.
Marquez is 37 years old. If he wants the Pacquiao fight, I still think Golden Boy should go ahead and wish him well, and let him ride off into that sunset. But if he's decided he can do without it, then Golden Boy is probably the home for him. They need a marquee star, and Marquez is one of the biggest stars in the sport today. They can get him good and winnable fights at 135 and 140, and frankly (and harshly) speaking, they also know the value he might have as a name opponent on his way out.
I've reached the point personally where even though I still see it as a physical mismatch, Pacquiao-Marquez III seems like a fight that should happen assuming they both really want it. Part of that is because of the fringe loonies who insist Pacquiao is terrified of Marquez and is somehow ducking the lightweight champion, even though Floyd Mayweather Jr. was ripped to shreds for fighting the same lightweight champion at welterweight. Part of it is just because it's been a great rivalry.
But if Marquez doesn't want it anymore, then I also commend him for, you know, being realistic. If you know Marquez's ego (I don't mean "ego" as a knock), you know how bitter a pill it would be for him to even quietly and personally accept that a Pacquiao fight is now out of his reach.
We'll let you know if anything changes, but for now it does appear that Marquez will be staying under the Golden Boy banner, with some interesting possibilities there. What of Pacquiao's tentatively scheduled November date? Andre Berto just got a boost, assuming he survives Victor Ortiz on April 16. But other than that and maybe rematching Miguel Cotto (who would almost surely avoid facing Antonio Margarito this summer in that case), it's slim pickings out there. YOU HEAR THAT, FLOYD? EVERYONE WOULD LIKE YOU TO FIGHT MANNY PACQUIAO IN NOVEMBER. BIG MONEY, FLOYD. YOU CAN BET IT ALL ON THE BULLS *NEXT* SEASON.