Mexican boxing superstar Juan Manuel Marquez says he has plants to retire from the ring at the end of 2012, with or without a fourth fight against Manny Pacquiao -- but he's definitely hoping to take one final shot at his Filipino rival.
"My plans are already set. This is my last year in boxing, and if the fight with Pacquiao gets done, the that's great, but I will not wait around until he chooses to do it. If we fight, fine. Otherwise, my retirement has already been decided."
It's a logical stance from a veteran fighter who realizes his age and doesn't want to go forever. In other words, it's a fairly unusual stance -- at least for now, anyway, as boxing retirement talk comes and goes with the changing of the seasons.
Marquez (53-6-1, 39 KO) lost a hotly debated majority decision to Pacquiao in November, a fight that many felt he deserved to win. And it's certainly not a majority or anything like that, but there are people who out there who truly believe Marquez should be 3-0 against Pacquiao, rather than the 0-2-1 the records state.
Either way, though, he's going to retire as Manny Pacquiao's all-time greatest rival. Over 36 rounds of action in 2004, 2008, and 2011, the two could hardly be separated on the scorecards, with the all-time tally for the official judges over three fights being Pacquiao: 1,024 vs Marquez: 1,017. It really just does not get any closer than that. It's mind-boggling how even they've been over three fights, in three very different times for each man, in three different weight classes, with nine different judges.
Marquez says he's still targeting a fight with David Diaz in April as his next outing, but the date has apparently changed from April 14 to April 21 (it started as a March 17 fight), which would conflict with Golden Boy's planned show in Mexico City featuring Abner Mares. After that, there's been persistent talk that he'll fight July 14 at Cowboys Stadium, but that appears to be more a pipe dream than anything, as there just aren't any suitable opponents for him in that type of show, or at least there don't appear to be at the moment. (Brandon Rios says he'll take it, but that might not be doable with the schedule the way it is, as Rios is expected to fight on April 14 on HBO.)