By Keith Idec
NEW YORK — Manny Pacquiao hasn’t ruled out a fourth fight against Juan Manuel Marquez.
Pacquiao didn’t think it was wise, though, to meet Marquez a fourth time June 9, despite that at least some boxing observers believe Marquez did enough to beat Pacquiao in their third fight Nov. 12 in Las Vegas. That’s why Pacquiao approved promoter Bob Arum’s suggestion to fight undefeated WBO junior welterweight champ Timothy Bradley once it became clear that his long-awaited showdown with Floyd Mayweather Jr. wouldn’t materialize.
“There’s a chance to fight [Marquez] again, but not right now,” Pacquiao said. “I don’t think people will watch the same movie [over and over].
“For me, as a boxer, if I don’t care what the fans say, their satisfaction … it’s good to fight Marquez because you don’t get hurt, you know, it’s just many movements, not as much toe-to-toe, exchanging punches. But my concern is the fans. I don’t want to lose the trust of the people in boxing. I don’t want to lose the fans in boxing. That’s my first concern, especially at this time. There’s a lot of sports, everything, and there’s [competition].”
Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer, agreed with Pacquiao’s approach to his Mexican nemesis, who settled for a draw with Pacquiao in their May 2004 featherweight fight and lost a long-debated split decision to him in a March 2008 junior lightweight fight.
“Every time they fight it gets less exciting because we’ve already seen it,” Roach said. “The third fight was nowhere near as good as the first two. And the thing is, I think the fourth one would be the same. I just think it’s like watching a movie four times. How much more do you get out of it?
“Even though it’s a pretty good fight, counter-punchers are not the most exciting guys in the world. But I’ll tell you, [Marquez’s] power in that last fight was the best thing he did, though, so he did make some changes. But he still has that mentality as a counter-puncher, and when he hit Manny with a good shot he wouldn’t go after him, because that’s not in his nature.”
Roach also feels as though Marquez (53-6-1, 39 KOs) squandered an opportunity to upset Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KOs) in their third fight, which would’ve ruined the Pacquiao-Mayweather megafight.
“I thought Manny had the edge in the fight,” Roach said. “But I really think they blew it. I think they had the chance to win the fight, but [Marquez’s] coach told him after the eighth round, ‘You’re way ahead. Just take it easy.’ I thought that was bad advice by Nacho [Beristain].
“If my guy’s winning by a hundred rounds, I want him to win even bigger. I don’t believe in coasting and so forth. I like Nacho and he’s a good guy and he’s a great coach and he has a great fighter and all that, but they [screwed] up. The fight was there. If he had fought hard in the last four rounds, he could’ve won that fight.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for the Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.