According to the promoter of WBO jr. welterweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez, a fourth fight with 8-division world champion and ring rival Manny Pacquiao is practically a done deal, but they have yet to receive a contract. "The only reason I can not guarantee the fight is because there is not a signed contract from Pacquiao before us, however, in the coming hours, we will have it," Fernando Beltran revealed during a phone conversation with Rene Umanzor of The Record earlier today. "Verbally we can announce that on December 8, we will have this fight, but nothing more because I am being conservative. I say that 95% it is closed [a done deal]."
The question is, what's the other 5%? According to our sources, Pacquiao has been extremely adamant about not wanting to face Marquez for a fourth time. It's the reason why, for weeks now, promoter Bob Arum and adviser Michael Koncz have continuously pushed back the announcement of Pacquiao's next opponent, despite the fact that he was said to be "deciding" between 3 relatively simple choices (Juan Manuel Marquez, Timothy Bradley, Miguel Cotto). Last Friday, the same day that Arum announced he had just received terms from Miguel Cotto's team about a potential rematch, Cotto himself revealed that he will instead be facing undefeated WBA regular champion Austin Trout on December 1, thus eliminating himself as one of the alleged options.
That would now leave Pacquiao with only 2 options: Timothy Bradley or Juan Manuel Marquez. In Bradley, Pacquiao has an opponent that he lost to on the scorecards, but most believe he beat, yet the low pay-per-view buys generated from their fight (reportedly as low as 700,000) means a much smaller financial reward. In Marquez, Pacquiao has an opponent that he beat on the scorecards, but many believe he actually lost to, yet their third bout was a financial success at the box office and live gate, meaning a fourth fight would be another high financial reward. In a sport where business usually comes first, one would think that the Pacquiao's choice is an easy one: Juan Manuel Marquez. And yet, days later, we still have no announcement about Pacquiao's next fight.
Again, according to our sources, Pacquiao has been extremely against the idea of facing Marquez again. So much so that, despite Cotto's recent announcement, Pacquiao has stood firm on his stance that he wants his promoter to find him another opponent who can help him generate the type of pay-per-view numbers that will get him the guaranteed purse that he's grown accustomed to. In fact, as late as Sunday, there were whispers that Top Rank was strongly considering reaching out to former welterweight and jr. welterweight champion Zab Judah, just to have a backup plan if they can't convince Pacquiao to move forward with a Marquez bout. That being said, the fact that Pacquiao's only other option appears to be not fighting at all and passing on a payday a few months before he has another election, I'd put my money on him fighting Marquez on December 8th. Of course, that brings up a whole new dillema. If he does fight on December 8th, what does that mean for Golden Boy Promotions, who currently has a hold on the MGM Grand Garden Arena for an event that has yet to be determined?