By Chris Robinson
As he heads into another high-profile matchup, Mexico City’s Juan Manuel Marquez seems to understand that he will be forever linked to his rival Manny Pacquiao.
Marquez’s match with WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley is one of the most anticipated events of the year, as he is set to meet the Palm Springs native inside of the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas in an HBO pay per view showdown on Saturday night.
Marquez’s stock is at an all-time high following his knockout over Pacquiao this past December in their fourth encounter. In another wild fight, Marquez suffered a knockdown of his own and absorbed some big punches before landing a picturesque counter-right hand in the closing seconds of the sixth round to knock Pacquiao unconscious.
Pacquiao is lined up with a Nov. 23 bout with rugged former champion Brandon Rios in Macau, China, but it’s only natural to wonder if Marquez would be intrigued by a fifth fight with the Filipino star given how excellent their previous four contests were.
Asked if he has any interest at all in another meeting with Pacquiao, Marquez seemed a bit disinterested.
“I’m fighting Next Saturday,” Marquez stated earlier this week while speaking to various members of the press. “Pacquiao will fight in November. I need to wait.
“I think the chapter with Pacquiao is closed,” Marquez later added.
Marquez was asked if he could still find it within himself to turn down another Pacquiao fight, even if a huge financial incentive was included.
“The money is important in life, but the most important thing for me is the honor, the pride,” Marquez explained. “Everybody knows what happened in those four fights. I want to keep that great moment all my life.”
Marquez affirmed that one of the key reasons he is willing to walk away from his saga with Pacquiao is because of just how definitive his victory was.
Prior to his knockout victory over Pacquiao, Marquez fought Manny to a split-draw in their first meeting and ended up losing a split-decision and then a majority-decision to him in following bouts. All three fights were extremely competitive and a case could be made for each man deserving to win each match.
“I want to say something [that is] most important for me,” Marquez stated. “If I won the fight [by] a close decision, [I would] give the fifth fight. Sign the contract after the fight. But I won the great victory for me.”
As for the challenge Pacquiao faces in Rios, Marquez feels his former foe will find a way to emerge triumphant.
“Maybe Pacquiao will win the fight, because Pacquiao has more experience [than] Rios,” Marquez said. “Rios is a very strong fighter, but I think Pacquiao will win the fight.”