By Keith Idec
Juan Manuel Marquez wouldn’t say much about the possibility of boxing Brandon Rios this summer.
The Mexican icon made it as clear as possible, however, that the only reason he decided not to retire was to chase a fourth fight against Manny Pacquiao. Marquez admitted he contemplated retirement following another narrow, controversial loss to Pacquiao on Nov. 12 in Las Vegas, but he ultimately agreed to oppose Ukraine’s Sergey Fedchenko on April 14 in Mexico City for the interim WBO junior welterweight title.
“I want the rematch with Manny,” Marquez said. “I came back to this point because I want the rematch.”
Marquez (53-6-1, 39 KOs) had to wait 3½ years for his third fight against Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KOs) after losing a split decision to the Filipino superstar in March 2008. The 38-year-old Marquez probably won’t have to wait nearly that long for a fourth fight because it’ll be Pacquiao’s most attractive alternative if he defeats Timothy Bradley (28-0, 12 KOs, 1 NC) on June 9 and cannot land an ever-elusive fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Promoter Bob Arum acknowledged on the same conference call that Marquez “deserves” a fourth fight against Pacquiao and said he would focus on making Pacquiao-Marquez IV if Mayweather wasn’t a realistic option later this year.
Arum added that he didn’t try to make another Pacquiao-Marquez match immediately because he “got the sense that [Pacquiao] was willing to fight a rematch with Juan Manuel, but not as his next fight.”
Marquez might risk a fourth crack at Pacquiao by accepting a July 14 fight against Rios at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, but he would be favored over Rios (29-0-1, 22 KOs). A Marquez-Rios fight is dependent upon Rios overcoming Cuba’s Richard Abril (17-2-1, 8 KOs) on April 14 in Las Vegas and Marquez defeating Fedchenko (30-1, 13 KOs) that night in a split-site, pay-per-view doubleheader.
“The most important thing for me is April 14,” Marquez said. He reiterated, though, that “I think I won that last fight [against Pacquiao], but I want to demonstrate who won and I’m looking for the rematch.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.