By Keith Idec
Promoter Bob Arum and his team at Top Rank Inc. are still awaiting word from Juan Manuel Marquez regarding his preferred opponent on July 14.
Arum wants the Mexican legend to box Brandon Rios in a pay-per-view main event at Cowboys Stadium that night. Marquez would prefer to face a left-handed opponent to better prepare him for a possible November bout against Manny Pacquiao, who won a much-maligned majority decision against Marquez on Nov. 12 in Las Vegas.
Marquez’s southpaw options appear limited, though, particularly for an HBO-caliber pay-per-view main event. Arum had preliminary discussions with Kathy Duva, whose Totowa, N.J.-based Main Events co-promotes Zab Judah, but Judah wanted more money than Arum was willing to offer and probably priced himself out of a fight for Marquez’s WBO junior welterweight title.
Arum would much rather make a Marquez-Rios fight anyway, despite that the vast majority of boxing fans and media thought Richard Abril beat Rios in an April 14 bout Rios (30-0-1, 22 KOs) won by split decision in Las Vegas. Rios is right-handed, but Arum promotes Marquez and Rios, which would lead Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KOs) toward facing another opponent represented by Top Rank, assuming the heavily favored Filipino superstar beats Timothy Bradley (28-0, 12 KOs, 1 NC) on June 9 in Las Vegas.
Marquez is expected to inform Arum by the end of this week whether he wants to fight Rios or someone else July 14. Fernando Beltran, Marquez’s co-promoter, and Nacho Beristain, Marquez’s trainer, are expected to help Marquez pick his opponent.
Marquez has a history of making unconventional choices on opponents. After his first fight with Pacquiao, a 12-round draw in May 2004, Marquez infamously turned down $750,000 for a rematch and eventually accepted a $30,000 purse to box Chris John in John’s native Indonesia.
John (47-0-2, 22 KOs) beat Marquez by unanimous decision in their March 2006 bout and took his WBA featherweight title. It took Marquez another two years following that costly loss to get Pacquiao back in the ring for a March 2008 rematch in Las Vegas.
Marquez fought a southpaw prior to his last fight against Pacquiao, but he knocked out overmatched Colombian Likar Ramos (24-4, 18 KOs) in the first round July 16 in Cancun, Mexico. The 38-year-old Marquez (54-6-1, 39 KOs) most recently defeated Ukraine’s Sergiy Fedchenko (30-2, 13 KOs) by unanimous decision to win the WBO’s interim 140-pound title April 14 in Mexico City.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.