RING lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez‘s next opponent will be light-hitting junior welterweight Cesar Rene Cuenca on April 14 at New Mexico City Arena in Mexico City, Marquez’s co-promoter, Fernando Beltran said on Tuesday.
The fight will be for the WBO’s interim junior welterweight belt, meaning that if Marquez (53-6-1, 39 knockouts) wins, he would become the second Mexican to earn a fourth belt over as many weight divisions, a mark first achieved by Erik Morales when he scored a 10th-round TKO over Pablo Cesar Cano for the vacant WBC junior welterweight belt in September.
“Everything is set, and we’re going to announce it on March 22. We’re going to make a huge press conference. We’re ready to go, and Juan is very excited,” said Beltran of Marquez, who last fought in Mexico City with a second-round stoppage of Jose Luis Montes in November of 1994. “It’s been 18 years since Juan Manuel last fought in Mexico City, so we’re very excited about it.”
Cuenca has one of the more unusual records in professional boxing; he is undeafeated over 42 bouts but has only one win by knockout.
Should Marquez win the title, Beltran said he could land on the same card as RING No. 3-rated junior featherweight Nonito Donaire on July 14 at either the Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, or the Alamodome in San Antonio, in accordance with a proposal by Top Rank CEO, Bob Arum.
“After Cuenca, we’re planning for him to fight in Texas if everything goes okay,” said Beltran, president of Zanfer Promotions.
“We would love to fight … Mercito Gesta or probably Brandon Rios, who knows? Brandon Rios could be a possibility. Why not? We have not spoken to anyone about that yet.”
Marquez’s last fight was a majority decision loss to Manny 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, at some point, to face the winner of Pacquiao-Bradley, with his preferance being a fourth bout with Pacquiao.
BELTRAN EYES ORLANDO SALIDO’S FUTURE
Salido-Lopez II was a rematch of a bout in April, when Salido (38-11-2, 26 KOs) dethroned Lopez (31-2, 28 KOs) as WBO featherweight beltholder by eighth-round knockout.
Beltran would next like to match Salido against Marquez’s younger brother, former titleholder Rafael Marquez (40-7, 36 KOs), who was stopped in the eighth round by Lopez in November of 2010.
“Rafael Marquez is fighting on May 5 or May 12,” said Beltran, “and probably after that, if all goes okay, that would be a matchmaker’s dream to put Rafael Marquez against Orlando Salido.”
Another consideration, said Beltran, is unbeaten Miguel “Mikey” Garcia (28-0, 24 KOs), another Top Rank-promoted fighter who scored a seventh-round knockout of Bernabe Concepcion (29-6-1, 15 KOs) on the undercard of Salido-Lopez II.
“Mikey Garcia is in our plans, and I think that would be a great fight and that he is a great prospect-in-progress,” said Beltran. “[Manager] Cameron Dunkin handles Mikey Garcia and Nonito Donaire. If he gave us Nonito Donaire, we would take that fight right away. That would also be a promoters’ dream match.“
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Photo / Peter Amador-Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com