By Keith Idec
NEW YORK — Bob Arum seemingly has become more comfortable with the thought of Juan Manuel Marquez facing someone other than Manny Pacquiao in his next fight.
Marquez remains committed to the stance that he doesn’t want to oppose Pacquiao for the fifth time because he won their fourth fight so convincingly Dec. 8 in Las Vegas, where he knocked Pacquiao unconscious with a right hand in the sixth round.
The Mexican legend’s dilemma, of course, is that he would earn much more for Marquez-Pacquiao V than for any other fight. The four-division champion is 39, too, and would weaken his bargaining position if he loses to another fighter before agreeing to box Pacquiao again.
“That is up to Juan Manuel Marquez,” Arum said after a press conference Wednesday to promote the Nonito Donaire-Guillermo Rigondeaux 122-pound championship unification fight Saturday night at Radio City Music Hall. “He’s an extraordinarily intelligent man. He knows where he’s coming from and he has to make a decision for his career that suits him.
“It’s not like [he is] some dumb-ass guy. He has a degree in accounting. He understands things, so if he decides he doesn’t want to fight Pacquiao, there are plenty of guys for Pacquiao to fight and then there’s other guys for Marquez to fight.”
The always-colorful, Hall-of-Fame promoter was playfully reminded that anyone with an accounting degree should know to pick Pacquiao. Arum indicated, though, that Marquez (55-6-1, 40 KOs) just might be serious about boxing someone else, and not just holding out for more money to give Pacquiao a shot at redemption.
“Sometimes money is not the be-all and end-all, even though it’s a professional sport,” said Arum, whose company, Top Rank Inc., promotes Pacquiao and Marquez. “He’s not dumb. He knows he can make the most money fighting Pacquiao, but he may feel that he wants to fight somebody else and the Pacquiao fight will always be there.”
Regardless, Arum added that Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 KOs) will return in “September or October” and that his next fight will take place in “Macau or Singapore.” Arum mentioned Timothy Bradley (30-0, 12 KOs, 1 NC), who “beat” Pacquiao by a widely disputed split decision 10 months ago in Las Vegas, and Mike Alvarado (34-1, 23 KOs) as potential Pacquiao opponents if a fifth Marquez meeting doesn’t materialize.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.