RING lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez could face feather-fisted junior welterweight Cesar Rene Cuenca, of Argentina, on April 21 in his native Mexico City, his co-promoter, Fernando Beltran, told RingTV.com on Wednesday.
Marquez (53-6-1, 39 knockouts) was eying a shot at IBF/WBA junior welterweight titleholder Lamont Peterson and his fourth belt over as many different weight classes until Peterson opted for a rematch with Amir Khan, leaving Marquez without a lucrative fight in the forseeable future.
Marquez-Peterson was to be part of a tournament format proposed by Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, with the winner to face either Manny Pacquiao or Tim Bradley depending on the result of their June 9 bout in Las Vegas.
But Beltran, president of Zanfer Promotions, said Cuenca (42-0, 1 KO) has replaced Peterson as the next potential bout for Marquez.
“Absolutely, he [Cuenca] is the No. 1 option right now. We’re negotiating. We’re looking at that right now,” said Beltran. “We have to get together with [Top Rank Inc. President] Todd duBoef. Todd and myself, we’re going to decide. But right now, we’re looking at it.”
BoxingScene.com reported that Marquez-Cuenca could be for the WBO’s junior welterweight belt currently held by Bradley, should Bradley vacate it as a result of rising to challenge for Pacquiao’s WBO welterweight crown.
“Juan will definitely be fighting in Mexico,” said Beltran. “And we’re looking forward to fighting for the WBO title.”
Marquez’s last fight was a majority decision loss to Pacquiao in November, the third in a trilogy that includes a draw and another split-decision loss for Marquez.
In victory over Cuenca, Marquez still hopes to face the winner of Pacquiao-Bradley, with his preferance being a fourth bout with Pacquiao.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org