Dan Rafael of ESPN.com reports that on Friday, Golden Boy Promotions received an official offer from Top Rank for a fight this fall between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez.
From Rafael's report:
"Last Friday, April 22, Top Rank made a firm offer to Juan Manuel Marquez to fight Manny Pacquiao in October for his WBO 147-pound belt," Schaefer said. "Part of the deal includes a rematch provision in case Marquez would win. So Pacquiao could potentially be tied up for quite awhile."
Schaefer said the written offer to Marquez also contained financial terms, such as the guaranteed purse and the specifics of his share of the pay-per-view profits. Schaefer would not disclose those terms.
Top Rank declined to discuss the offer.
"I have no comment on anything regarding Marquez," Top Rank president Todd duBoef said. "We have said that Marquez would be one of the possible opponents for Pacquiao after the fight with Mosley if he is successful against Mosley on May 7. But I have no comment. I am concentrating on promoting a fight on May 7."
Go read the full report for more from Dan, and more comments from Richard Schaefer, including their thoughts on the fact that this means you can -- as we all have -- rule out a 2011 fight between Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Personally I've softened on Pacquiao-Marquez III over time. A year ago I thought it was a horrid mismatch not worth the time, a poaching of the boxing fanbase that would sell fights that happened in 2004 and 2008, that wouldn't look anything like the fight in 2010/11 would.
And while I still feel that way, I think it's a fight that should probably happen. Marquez wants it. Pacquiao wants it. They have history. And Marquez is, to date, the last fight to give Manny more than momentary trouble. I don't think Marquez can really fight as a welterweight, but there is a chance that Marquez simply has Manny's number, at least as much as anyone does. With Mayweather not stepping up for a fight, Pacquiao is running very low on options should he beat Shane Mosley.
If Mosley does win on May 7, for the record, a rematch will take place. The rematch is a contractual clause.
As for Golden Boy, they don't even have Marquez under contract, but Top Rank is aware that Golden Boy can match any offer that Marquez receives until next year. Top Rank also knows that Golden Boy flat out cannot match whatever this offer is to fight Pacquiao; there is no fight that Golden Boy can get Marquez that will equal the money. So this offer does not mean that Top Rank is looking to work with Golden Boy, it's most likely attorneys being attorneys because they have to be, and letting Golden Boy know what the offer is for Marquez. Schaefer says he has "no beef" with Top Rank here, and commends them for doing "the right thing."
How do you feel about Pacquiao-Marquez III at this point? I know the fight has supporters and detractors, and even some loonies who think Pacquiao has been ducking Marquez (I guess by moving up in weight and dominating good fighters), so what's your feeling on this one?