By Rick Reeno
As previously reported on Monday afternoon, WBO interim-junior welterweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez (54-6-1, 39KOs) will not return to action on July 14th at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Marquez rejected several possible opponents that were presented by Top Rank, including Brandon Rios and Erik Morales.
The Mexican veteran was mentally fixated on fighting a southpaw opponent, because he wanted to prepare himself for a possible fourth meeting with Manny Pacquiao in the fall.
Marquez wanted, preferably, a fight with undefeated Mercito Gesta.
However, Marquez was unwilling to lower his purse demand and a fight against Gesta was a hard sell for the venue and a hard sell for pay-per-view.
Top Rank's CEO Bob Arum advised BoxingScene.com that last weekend was a drop dead date to finalize Marquez's opponent for the July event.
Marquez will now return in Mexico on July 21 or July 28 - but not against Gesta who plans to fight on an ESPN televised card on July 20th.
"Here was the problem. He didn't want to fight the guys that we recommended. But he wanted big money to fight guys who are not salable. They might be good fighters, but I can't sell them. There is a limit on what I can sell. And to pay him that amount of money that he was asking for to fight Gesta, we couldn't do it. Not that it's not a good fight and not that Gesta is not a good fighter, but he's not as marketable," Arum said to BoxingScene.com.
"If he wants to fight in Mexico and [Zanfer President] Fernando [Beltran] wants to put him on a show in Mexico, that's fine - but I'm not going to burn up money by putting him on in fights that I don't believe are marketable. We had a drop dead date of last weekend. And when he rejected everybody that we wanted - we passed, he passed and that's it."
While Arum respects Marquez's decision, he does admit the Mexican veteran is possibly placing too many of his eggs in one basket by taking the position of not fighting any opponent who wasn't a southpaw - because there is no guarantee that Pacquiao defeats Timothy Bradley on June 9th and there is no guarantee that Pacquiao will agree to a fourth fight in the fall.
Regardless, Marquez stood firm on southpaw opponent to prepare for a Pacquiao fight at the end of the year.
"That's what he says. I don't believe that he doesn't think that he can beat those guys [like Rios or Morales]. He was fixated on southpaws. I'm not criticized him. He's getting in the ring and he's plotting his career and he believes that he's doing the right thing for himself," Arum said.