By Robert Morales
Juan Manuel Marquez has not turned his back on a third meeting with Manny Pacquiao. He made a miracle comeback in first fight, in 2004, by withstanding three knockdowns in the first round, and then coming back to win enough rounds to walk away with a twelve round draw. The 2008 rematch had Marquez screaming robbery, as the announcer read off a split decision verdict in favor of Pacquiao.
Before he resumes his hunt for a Pacquiao trilogy, Marquez must make a mandatory defense of his WBA/WBO lightweight titles against Michael Katsidis on November 27 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
"Obviously, everybody knows the fight I want is Pacquiao," Marquez said. "I feel that I had very close fights. I felt I won the first two fights with Pacquiao. First and foremost, that's the big fight. That's the one I want, but Michael Katsidis is the official No. 1 contender. He's a challenger. He deserves it."
Katsidis secured his shot at Marquez with a convincing third round knockout of previously undefeated Kevin Mitchell. Katsidis has suffered two defeats as a pro, to Joel Casamayor and Juan Diaz - and both of them have since been knocked out by Marquez. Even with those facts being presented, Marquez is not overlooking Katsidis' qualities. He considers him one of the most dangerous fighters at 135-pounds.
"He's a very dangerous fighter," Marquez said. "He's very, very dangerous. The fact that I beat the bullfighters who beat him has nothing to do with it. That's the way boxing is. Styles make fights. ... I'm not taking him for granted one second."
Robert Morales covers boxing for the Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram and BoxingScene.com