Over the past couple of days, reports have been running rampant confirming what loyal FightHype readers already knew: Juan Manuel Marquez is the frontrunner to face Manny Pacquiao in his next bout. There's just one small problem...Pacquiao doesn't really want to face Marquez for a fourth time. "He doesn't want to fight him again," a source in the Philippines informed us. Evidently, while Pacquiao has already ruled out a rematch with WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley, due to the economics of their first bout, he's also not keen on the idea of having another close, controversial bout with Marquez. In fact, according to our source, Pacquiao's preference is Miguel Cotto, who he considers to be "a safer opponent".
Although Pacquiao already defeated Cotto via 12th round TKO back in 2009, the Puerto Rican superstar is coming off of a spirited, albeit losing, effort against Floyd Mayweather in a bout that generated 1.5 million pay-per-view buys and $94 million in revenue, the second-highest grossing non-heavyweight pay-per-view fight in history. It's a fact that has Manny Pacquiao seeing dollar signs and the main reason why he has yet to "make a decision" on his opponent, instead holding out for his promoter to secure him a rematch with a man he already defeated. Unfortunately for Pacquiao, his promoter is seeing more dollar signs in a different fight, a fourth bout with Marquez. After all, their third bout reportedly generated 1.4 million pay-per-view buys (no official numbers were ever reported for revenue), and bottom line, it's already a proven fact that the combination of Pacquiao and Marquez means great business at the box office and the live gate. The combination of Pacquiao and Cotto, however, especially with both men coming off losses, is not really a financial risk that Top Rank is willing to take.
These factors have placed promoter Bob Arum in a sticky situation. He has to somehow appear to be giving his fighter what he wants while at the same time convince his fighter to actually do what he wants. How does he achieve that? By conveniently leaking information to the media to make it appear as though he's working hard to get Cotto (i.e. "Arum waiting for proposal from Cotto"), even if Cotto has no intention whatsoever of fighting Pacquiao. "Miguel Cotto isn't even thinking about Manny Pacquiao or shrinking down in weight. Why would he do that when just fought Mayweather at 154," a source close to Cotto's camp commented. It appears that Arum may be trying to trap Pacquiao in a corner, making it seem as though his other 2 options, Marquez and Bradley, will move forward with their own fight on the November 10 date if Pacquiao insist on holding out for Cotto. Once Arum makes it known that Cotto is "unwilling" to face him, that will leave Pacquiao with the very real possibility of not having a dance partner, and more importantly, not having a payday, which would not be good for a Congressman heading into another election.
Bottom line, if I were Manny Pacquiao, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting on that proposal from Miguel Cotto. If there is one, his asking price will likely far exceed the lowball offer that he'll receive from Top Rank. Whether it's November 10, December 1, or December 8, chances are, you can probably expect to see Juan Manuel Marquez standing across the ring from Manny Pacquiao one more time. But guess what? That's okay. Their first 3 fights produced fireworks, and I have no doubt that a fourth fight will be just as entertaining.