by Ronnie Nathanielsz
While training relentlessly for his WBO welterweight title defense and fully focused on his June 9 showdown with undefeated junior welterweight champion Timothy Bradley, in the background is the prospect for a fourth fight with four-division world champion Juan Manuel Marquez.
Pacquiao’s adviser Michael Koncz who is with Pacquiao at his training camp in the Philippine summer capital of Baguio City told the Manila Standard that a fourth fight with Marquez “is definitely a possibility” and that he and Pacquiao have had discussions about it.
However, Koncz revealed that after “discussing the financials with some Showtime and HBO executives and then talking to Manny about it we decided it was better to do Bradley now and then entertain doing Marquez in the fall.”
He said that it would depend on whether Floyd Mayweather Jr “is available and wants to fight we’ll do Mayweather, if not we are certainly looking forward to having one final fight with Marquez.”
Koncz conceded that out of their three fights “the last one was the most controversial. We are not going to make excuses but Manny wasn’t a hundred percent in that fight.”
Marquez is scheduled to fight at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium on July 14 and although Top Rank promoter Bob Arum mentioned three possible opponents including undefeated Filipino southpaw Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta, Koncz who is close to Arum said “I believe its going to be Brandon Rios because I think Marquez is too much of a technician, too wise, too experienced with great ring generalship and a counter-puncher who gives Manny problems, so I don’t see Rios standing a chance with him.”
Pacquiao picked up the tempo of his training in Baguio on Thursday, running up-hill in the morning after trekking the flatland around Burnham Park on Wednesday and said later, it was hard.
While doing the punch-mitts with trainer Freddie Roach Pacquiao discussed strategy for the Bradley fight with Roach pointing out that Bradley, nicknamed “Desert Storm” who has a record of 28-0 with 12 knockouts was “very different from the other fighters” that Manny has faced.
Pacquiao said who said Bradley “is undefeated, he’s strong and young and we cannot underestimate him. I consider this one of my hardest fights.”
Just like his last training session at his MP Towers Gym in Manila, Pacquiao looked sharp and quick prompting Roach to remark that he was always like this when he opened camp with him.
Continuing his role as a student of the Bible and as a preacher-man, ABS-CBN reporter Dyan Castillejo said Pacquiao was scheduled to address a gathering of preachers at the main hall of the Cooyesan Hotel at 6:00 p.m