PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — If he wins his next fight, Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez must meet Filipino hero Manny ‘Pacman’ Pacquiao and nobody else.
That’s what World Boxing Council president Jose Sulaiman is saying, something he’s expected to tell over and over again when he visits Manila next month to attend a boxing convention hosted by the Games and Amusements Board at the Manila Hotel.
“If he (Manny) declines for a third time, then I think he doesn’t want to fight Marquez and we have to go our way. But I believe that Marquez and Pacquiao are willing to fight each other,” the revered boxing official was quoted as saying.
According Sulaiman, the most likely date is the first quarter of 2008, since “there are no other television dates for the rest of the year, and they cannot do without the television, because it’s a big money fight”
“So I believe that’s going to be a great opportunity at the beginning of the year,” he added.
During their first classic fight in 2004, which was not under the WBC auspices, Marquez came back from three knockdowns in the first round to salvage a draw against the Filipino ring icon.
Although falling thrice in the initial round, many still believed that the Mexican won that one.
Marquez, one of three revered Mexican fighters whom Pacquiao had met, the two others being Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales, is scheduled to defend his world title against Rocky Juarez on November 3 in Las Vegas.
Handlers of Pacquiao led by adviser Wakee Salud really wanted a Pacquiao-Morales bout. But efforts to have the fight pushed through went pfft since the Mexican was reportedly asking a very high cash prize.
A fight with Marquez, ring experts say, is definitely a sure thing at the box office, better than, say, a bout against either Humberto Soto or Edwin Valero.