Just when it looked like Shane Mosley was a sure thing to face Manny Pacquiao next, the shadow of a doubt has come crawling into the equation.
Team Pacquiao’s decision to move the date of his next bout to May 7th, on the traditional fight weekend following the Cinco de Mayo Mexican holiday, has created some speculation that Juan Manuel Marquez is still very much in the picture of possible opponents.
According to senior members of Pacquiao’s team, the list of candidates for his next contest has been whittled down to three: Mosley, Marquez, and Andre Berto.
While Mosley has been regarded as the front runner and much media attention has been paid to whether he is a worthy opponent after having looked sub-par in his last two outing (in a loss against Floyd Mayweather and a draw with Sergio Mora), nobody on Team Pacquiao, including promoter Bob Arum, has ever confirmed Mosley’s preferred-opponent status.
Then, this last Friday on ESPN Deportes’ Golpe a Golpe show with co-host Juan Manuel Marquez, the 3-division champ from Mexico City who has fought Pacquiao twice to close, controversial decisions (one draw, one loss), would confirm that he was, also, scheduled to fight that same Cinco de Mayo weekend.
When his co-host brought up the fact that Pacquiao would be fighting the day of May 7th too, Marquez grinned and said, “Yes, that’s a very Mexican day.”
Marquez would follow that statement up with talk of who should fight Pacquiao next, stating that Berto should be Manny’s choice over Mosley.
It had been reported that Golden Boy, Marquez’s promoter, had been talking with Bob Arum and Top Rank about a possible deal to fight Pacquiao, but that the talks ended when Marquez wanted too fat of a deal.
Of course, though, this was just the reported story.
Could the negative media attention around a Mosley fight have discouraged Team Pacquiao from taking a bout with yet another veteran fighter coming off a tough loss?
Time will tell whether Marquez’s sly grin and cryptic statement have any substance or meaning to them. But the fact of the matter is that the Cinco de Mayo weekend has long been a traditional fight weekend for Mexican and Mexican-American fight fans with heavy traffic to Las Vegas to see the likes of Marquez, Chavez, Barrera, Morales, etc.
If Pacquiao were to fight on May 7th, against someone other than Marquez, he would likely be going head to head with a heavily stacked card featuring Mexican stars and he’d surely lose some buys from the Mexican fan base he has cultivated for the last several years. This doesn’t seem to be the type of shrewd decision that Team Pacquiao has been known for in the recent past.
Also, since Marquez and Pacquiao are both HBO fighters, it’s unlikely that the network would encourage simultaneous clashes. Unless they somehow share the bill on May 7th, circumstantial evidence sure points to Marquez now being the front runner in the Pacquiao sweepstakes.
So, could we be in for Pacquiao-Marquez part 3?
Let the debates begin.