|10-20-2004, 06:30 PM||#1|
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Murad confirms Marquez rematch with Pacquiao
Murad confirms Marquez rematch
By Joaquin Henson
The Philippine Star 10/21/2004
New Jersey promoter Murad Muhammad confirmed the other day that Manny Pacquiao will fight Juan Manuel Marquez in a Home Box Office (HBO) rematch for the unified world featherweight boxing championship next February in Las Vegas.
Muhammad, who flew in with Pacquiao’s business manager Rod Nazario from San Francisco early Saturday morning, clinched the HBO deal when rival promoters weren’t looking.
"This is a tough business," said Muhammad who introduced boxing to HBO in 1978. "HBO usually schedules two fights a year for its contract fighters like Oscar de la Hoya, Roy Jones, Shane Mosley, Floyd Mayweather and Arturo Gatti. With the money running out in the fourth quarter, there was a lot of jockeying to pin down an early date for next year. I managed to get ahead but it wasn’t easy."
Surprisingly, the Pacquiao-Marquez fight last May wasn’t a high rater on US cable TV, registering less than 4 percent. But Muhammad convinced HBO vice president Kery Davis to put up a substantial investment for the rematch.
"Manny will earn close to $1 Million, more than what he got ($750,000) in the first bout," said Muhammad. "We’ve agreed on a February schedule. It’ll be either on Feb. 19 or 26. The possible sites are Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand and Caesar’s Palace."
Muhammad disclosed that he had booked a July 31 pay-per-view appointment for Pacquiao with World Boxing Council superfeatherweight champion Erik Morales but cancelled because the Filipino southpaw injured his left hand during the Marquez fight. The Morales bout would’ve fetched a $1.5 Million purse for Pacquiao. Morales wound up fighting Carlos Hernandez instead.
Muhammad then turned to Marco Antonio Barrera for an HBO rematch on Nov. 27. Barrera’s agent Richard Shaefer of Golden Boy Promotions initially agreed to the rematch but backed out when Morales offered a juicier deal.
"I don’t think Barrera really wants to fight Manny again," said Muhammad. "What for? To get beaten up again? Besides, he stands to earn at least $4 Million against Morales compared to about $2 Million against Manny. So you can’t really blame him for backing out when the Morales option came up."
Barrera and Morales will fill the Nov. 27 slot, leaving Pacquiao out of the picture.
To keep Pacquiao battle-ready for Marquez, Muhammad sought out an opponent and picked from among Australia-based Gary St. Clair of Guyana, Fahsang 3-K Battery of Thailand, World Boxing Organization superbantamweight champion Joan (Little Tyson) Guzman of the Dominican Republic and an unnamed former world titleholder he described as a surprise package.
Muhammad said he is finalizing a deal with a Filipino sponsor to stage Pacquiao’s next fight here on Dec. 4. Details of the coming bout will be announced in a few days.
Last week, Pacquiao quietly slipped into town after training a month in Los Angeles. He was rumored to be unhappy with the way Muhammad has steered his career.
"Someone spread the word that I was fired," said Muhammad. "That’s ridiculous. Manny doesn’t pay me. I pay him because I get him his fights. Since I took care of Manny, he’s earned about $2 Million. That’s more than any Filipino fighter or athlete has ever earned in his life. I don’t think he came home because he’s frustrated or homesick. I was told he came back to play in a billiards tournament."
Muhammad said Pacquiao shouldn’t worry about negotiations for his next bout. "That’s my job," he continued. "A fighter should always stay in shape and not train only when he’s got a fight lined up. Take Roy Jones in his prime when I managed him. When HBO would call to ask if Roy was ready for a fight in two or three weeks, no problem. That’s how Manny should be. I’ll take care of producing the fights and he should just take care of the fighting."
Muhammad revealed the Showtime cable TV network offered Pacquiao a $500,000 purse to face Cuban Joel Casamayor. "I refused," he went on. "I didn’t want to jeopardize our relationship with HBO by going with another network. Besides, what good would it be for Manny to fight a legitimate 135-pounder? It’s not just about the money on the table. You’ve got to analyze the implications of each fight on the future."
Despite criticism from certain quarters about the way he is managing Pacquiao’s career, Muhammad said he’s not disturbed. "My contract to represent Manny exclusively worldwide doesn’t expire until a long time from now after my extension," said Muhammad. "There are lots of wannabes whispering things in Manny’s ear, claiming they can do better. I was so touched when I spoke with Rudy (Salud) recently and he told me not to give up on Manny because he’s a national hero. He’s like what Flash Elorde was to Filipinos 40 years ago. I know what Manny means to the Philippines and the Philippines is now my second home. I won’t let Manny and the Filipino people down."
The criticism zeroed in on Muhammad’s failure to land a big fight for Pacquiao after the Marquez draw. Pacquiao has fought only once this year.
Muhammad said rival promoters are circling Pacquiao like vultures trying to win his attention. "A promoter like Bob Arum makes a living by producing champions for Mexico," he said. "Arum’s goldmine is the Latino market, not the Filipino market. If he’s showing interest in Manny, it’s to protect his goldmine."
Pacquiao is arriving in Manila today from General Santos City to confer with Nazario on plans for his next fight. Muhammad was booked to return to the US last night but delayed his departure to meet with Pacquiao.
|10-20-2004, 07:33 PM||#2|
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What a Marquez/Pac rematch in Febuary!?!?!
who would have ever thought that?*rolleyes*
|10-20-2004, 11:27 PM||#3|
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|10-29-2004, 07:37 PM||#6|
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How can you believe Murad after his so many done deals that never materialized.
|11-11-2004, 12:19 AM||#8|
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|11-29-2004, 12:12 PM||#10|
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with the MAB win, now PAC can fight anyone of the 3Ms this coming FEB 05 and if he wins will have a world championship belt as a bonus....
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