NEW YORK — RING No. 5-rated pound-for-pound and WBO/WBA lightweight beltholder Juan Manuel Marquez hinted that he would likely retire if he can not secure a fourth bout against RING’s No. 1 pound-for-pound and WBO welterweight beltholder Manny Pacquiao.
The 38-year-old Marquez (53-6-1, 39 KOs) is coming off a controversial majority decision loss to Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KOs) on Nov. 12 in defense of Pacquiao’s welterweight belt.
It was the third meeting between the two, who had earlier battled to a draw and a split-decision win for Pacquiao in May of 2004 and March of 2008, respectively.
Pacquiao is reportedly considering a fourth matchup against Marquez, or could attempt to renew the twice-failed negotiations for a bout against RING No. 2-rated pound-for-pound and WBC welterweight beltholder Floyd Mayweather Jr. (42-0, 26 KOs) or perhaps one opposite RING No. 8-rated pound-for-pound and WBO junior welterweight titleholder Tim Bradley (28-0, 12 KOs).
“If Manny Pacquiao wants the fourth fight, I want that fourth fight,” said Marquez, who is in New York to attend Saturday night’s HBO Pay Per View-televised card at Madison Square Garden whose main event features RING No. 1-rated junior middleweight and WBA beltholder Miguel Cotto against ex-titleholder Antonio Margarito. “But if Pacquiao don’t want to fight with me, maybe I will re-think my future.”
Marquez discounted potential bouts opposite RING No. 7-rated junior welterweight and WBC titleholder Erik Morales (52-7, 36 KOs) or RING No. 1-rated lightweight Brandon Rios (28-0-1, 21 KOs), who is expected to rise into the junior welterweight ranks following Saturday night’s clash with John Murray (31-1, 18 KOs) on the Cotto-Margarito undercard.
“I don’t like the fight with Erik Morales, I don’t want the fight with Brandon Rios,” said Marquez, who believes that he won all three fights against Pacquiao.
“I want to fight with the best fighters. And if Manny Pacquiao says no, then maybe then I will re-think my career. A lot of people think that I’m going out a winner. I think the same. My team thinks the same. The people are the best judges for me.”
Rios lost his WBA title and $20,000 to Murray on Friday night when he failed to make the contracted 135-pound weight limit after three tries on the scale, an infraction that costs Rios his title in accordance with WBA rules.
Rios weighed 146.4 pounds at a 9 a.m. weigh-in on Saturday, in agreement with a deal with Murray’s camp that allows their fight to go on, with only Murray having a chance to win the vacated crown in victory.
“Brandon Rios lost the belt on the scales,” said Marquez, who said that he has since spoken to Rios. “Brandon Rios is a good fighter. I don’t know what happened to him.”
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com