By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Manny Pacquiao won’t get his wish to fight Mexico’s Juan Manuel Marquez for a fifth time, at least for now, as Marquez has signed up to fight Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley for the American’s welterweight title.
Bradley’s manager Cameron Dunkin, who told us in New York that a rematch with Pacquiao would be in the best interests of Bradley, told BoxingScene.com/Manila Standard that they had reached an agreement to fight Marquez at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas on September 14 and that “the money was good.”
Dunkin indicated however, that a few details need to be ironed out such as who enters the ring first, the billing etc and that he had spoken to Top Rank president Todd duBeof about it and was assured it would be worked out.
When we asked Pacquiao’s adviser Michael Koncz for a reaction on the supposed done deal, he was surprised. He told us “I spoke to Bob Arum at ten o’clock this morning and he never told me anything about a Marquez – Bradley fight being signed, sealed and delivered. “
At the same time Koncz revealed that he had been authorized by Pacquiao as early as last week to offer Marquez $13 million for a fifth fight and also relayed an offer of $6 million to the Bradley camp, both of which were coursed through Arum.
The non-acceptance of the excellent offers by Pacquiao to both Marquez and Bradley, who are unlikely to make that kind of money fighting each other, is baffling.
The agreement on a Marquez-Bradley fight effectively sidelined Pacquiao who, after his stunning 6th round knockout loss to Marquez last December 8 in Las Vegas had shown a keen desire to fight Marquez one more time this year.
Dunkin told us that the alternatives left for Pacquiao, who is likely to return to the ring on the second week of October in the Venetian Resort Hotel in Macau or Singapore, is a fight with Brandon “Bam, Bam” Rios or Mike Alvarado who lost his first showdown with Rios by a 7th round TKO but won the rematch in a twelve round unanimous decision.
The manager of Rios said he is working on the fight which is apparently something that Pacquiao adviser Michael Koncz prefers prior to a possible fifth fight with Marquez.
The Marquez-Bradley fight will take place on the Mexican Independence Day weekend and is expected to draw huge crowds since Marquez’ stature skyrocketed after his knockout win over Pacquiao
Pacquiao’s insistence on fighting in Macau or Singapore in order to avoid the huge 40 percent tax cut if he fought in the US, didn’t sit well with Marquez who was not sure that the pay-per-view income would be as substantial as if they had agreed to fight in Las Vegas.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum assured BoxingScene/Manila Standard, in an interview after the Marquez victory, that he would insist on Marquez and Pacquiao undergoing random drug tests amidst speculation that Marquez’ sensational KO was the result of non-natural methods with suspicion being fueled by the presence of Angel "Memo" Heredia, known for peddling performance enhancing drugs in the past, in the Marquez training camp.
LA Times Lance Pugmire reports that Marquez has agreed to subject himself to random drug tests to be conducted by the Voluntary Anti Doping Association while training in Mexico.
However, his strength and conditioning coach Heredia said that Marquez would be subject to random drug tests by the US Anti Doping Agency.