LAS VEGAS, Nevada, November 14- Manny Pacquiao’s struggle to a controversial victory over Juan Manuel Marquez could nudge the Filipino boxing icon closer to a megafight showdown against unbeaten US star Floyd Mayweather.
Pacquiao stretched his win streak to 15 fights with a majority decision over Marquez on Saturday at Las Vegas, but lacked the overpowering form he had shown in seven fights since a previous controversial triumph over Marquez in 2008.
“PacMan” needed 28 stitches to close a cut over his right eye suffered in a 10th-round head-butt and had two judges who gave him the final round scored it the other way, the fight would have been scored a draw.
Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum dismissed Marquez’s talk that he might retire, saying the likely $10 million payday for a fourth fight could change his mind and that he would try to stage a fourth Marquez-Pacquiao fight next May.
Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer, said he felt Marquez deserved a rematch before the Asian southpaw faced Mayweather.
And while Pacquiao was open to a Marquez rematch, he made it clear he was also ready to face Mayweather, saying when asked about the prospect, “Let’s get it on. Let’s make the fight happen.”
Mayweather, through advisor Leonard Ellerbe, has said he wants to fight Pacquiao next May. Arum dismissed Mayweather having already set a date and site for the fight and Roach said Mayweather has no business trying to set terms.
“I’m kind of tired of Floyd. Shut up and fight or don’t,” Roach said. “He wants to dictate everything. Who is he to make the rules?
“Then he sends his gopher out to make a speech. Leonard Ellerbe, he’s a gopher. Floyd, speak up. Coming from Ellerbe, who gives a damn?”
If nothing else, the possibility of turning back to Marquez would give Arum some leverage in talks with Mayweather’s camp about terms for a long-sought fight that figures to bring each fighter about $50 million — if it happens.
Mayweather also faces an evidence hearing next month on felony charges of grand larceny, coercion and robbery from a 2010 incident with former girlfriend Josie Harris and two children. Mayweather faces up to 34 years in prison.
Just as Pacquiao’s side wants Mayweather to call out the Filipino star, Mayweather’s co-promoter, Oscar de la Hoya, told the Los Angeles Times that he basically wants to see Pacquiao call out Mayweather.
“Mayweather wants the fight. If Manny wants Floyd, there’s nothing stopping that fight from happening,” de la Hoya told the newspaper. “Pacquiao fights for the people and the people want him to step up and fight Mayweather.”
Marquez, who claims three wins over Pacquiao but was handed a draw and two losses by judges, also dropped a 12-round decision to Mayweather in 2009 after the American ended a long hiatus.
Marquez says Mayweather’s defensive style could give Pacquiao trouble, creating a fight lacking the excitement Marquez helped make.
“Commercially it will be a big fight but technically I think the style of Mayweather would get very complicated for Pacquiao,” Marquez said.
Commercially figures to be what will matter most.
After the controversial 2008 fight, Marquez begged Arum for a rematch but Arum said no, waiting for a more profitable time. Even Pacquiao agreed that was the right move, in some ways undercutting the idea for a fourth fight now.
“I don’t think the people were going to watch again right away,” Pacquiao said last Tuesday about the timing of a rematch after the 2008 fight. “Boxing is a business. You have to make money.”
Mayweather might like his chances more against Pacquiao after seeing the Filipino hero struggle for the first time since he faced Marquez in 2008, but boxing history offers a cautionary tale about such judgements.
Evander Holyfield lost to Riddick Bowe in 1995 and struggled to beat Bobby Czyz in May of 1996, helping entice Don King into booking Holyfield as a foe for Mike Tyson.
Holyfield stopped Tyson in the 11th round in late 1996 and won a 1997 rematch, the infamous “bite fight”, by disqualification after Tyson bit Holyfield’s ears twice, tearing out a chunk of flesh the first time.