By Miguel Rivera
Win or lose, Juan Manuel Marquez will have another title opportunity waiting for him. On December 8th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Marquez will move up to the welterweight division to challenge Manny Pacquiao for a fourth time. Last week, the WBO vacated Marquez's junior welterweight title and ordered Brandon Rios and Ruslan Provodnikov to fight for the vacant belt.
According to World Boxing Organization President Francisco "Paco" Valcarcel, Marquez will retain the priveledges of a WBO "super champion" and he does have the option - regardless of the Pacquiao outcome - to receive a direct shot at the WBO 140-pound title - and the WBO has already set down an 80-20 split in favor of Marquez, if he decides to reclaim his old belt.
"Right now he has the fight against Pacquiao and if he wins, then he will fight the best there is at welterweight. It could be [Timothy] Bradley or even a fifth fight against Pacquiao. So the title will remain inactive. The title has not defended since he won it against Fedchenko [in April]. Therefore, the determination was to vacate the title," Paco said.
"We've been in conversations with handlers of Juan Manuel Marquez, with his promoter Fernando Beltran, and the people who represent them, and we recognize that Marquez is an elite fighter. We must remember that Marquez is a [WBO] "super champion" and if he wants to fight the junior welterweight champion, we would name him as mandatory challenger. The purse bid would be 80 to 20 in favor of Juan Manuel because of the [high number] of purses that he earned [in his career]. So there is no financial harm [to Marquez] and [at the same time] we would have an active title."