By Rick Reeno
On Friday, BoxingScene.com published an interview with WBO interim-junior welterweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez (54-6-1, 39KOs). The former three division champion is scheduled to return on July 14th at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The opponent is still being determined. However, Marquez is pushing to face undefeated lightweight contender Mercito Gesta (25-0-1, 13KOs) - because Marquez believes the Filipino boxer will help him prepare for a potential fourth meeting with Manny Pacquiao in November.
Marquez wants a southpaw opponent, with similar characteristics to Pacquiao, and he believes Gesta meets those requirements.
"The important thing is to face an opponent with the characteristics of Pacquiao. Gesta is a young fighter, with speed, and he meets the profile. When I find out my opponent, I will also define my sparring partners, looking for left handed boxers with speed. Gesta is good, undefeated, and meets the characteristics," Marquez told BoxingScene.com.
Top Rank's CEO Bob Arum spoke to BoxingScene.com, and while he admits Marquez would rather face Gesta, the fight is extremely difficult to make - because Marquez doesn't exactly fight for peanuts and a fight against Gesta is a tough sell on pay-per-view.
"The problem with Mercito Gesta - is how do you sell it on pay-per-view? Would he rather fight Mercito Gesta because Gesta is a lefty and he would prepare him for Pacquiao - of course, yes - but so what. How can you pay him the purse that he wants against a Gesta, because you know and I know that it's going to be very tough for it to do business [on pay-per-view]," Arum told BoxingScene.com.
"But he knows that. One thing about Juan Manuel, he's an educated guy and very, very smart."
A more realistic option is former four division champion Erik Morales (52-8, 36KOs).
Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer, who promotes Morales, has had positive discussions with Top Rank's President, Todd duBoef, about putting together a fight with Marquez.