Close to 20,000 fans partisan to four-division titlewinner Juan Manuel Marquez greeted their Mexican hero along with eight-division beltwinner Manny Pacquiao on Friday at the new, state-of-the-art Ciudad de Mexico Stadium in Mexico City, where the fighters promoted their upcoming fourth bout.
Having lost by disputed majority decision in November to Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 knockouts), with whom he has also battled to a draw and lost by split-decision, Marquez (54-6-1, 39 KOs) has vowed to “be better than ever” when they clash, yet again, on Dec. 8 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on HBO Pay Per View.
Marquez, who turned 39 in August, was so upset following the last bout with Pacquiao that he nearly retired. Instead, he rebounded with April’s unanimous decision over Sergei Fedchenko for the WBO’s junior welterweight belt — a feat he accomplished in the first-ever boxing event to be held at Ciudad de Mexico.
While Marquez was lustily cheered and received a standing ovation on Friday as he re-iterated his promise to go after a knock out”, Pacquiao was roundly booed during the third and final stop of a three-city promotional press tour that began in Los Angeles on Monday and visited New York on Wednesday.
“I am going to beat Manny again,” said Marquez,”and it will be by knockout.”
Pacquiao has chosen to face Marquez over a return bout with Tim Bradley (29-0, 12 KOs), whose controversial split decision in June dethroned Pacquiao as the WBO’s 147-pound titleholder and ended his 15-bout winning streak that included eight stoppages.
PACQUIAO ‘I WANT TO FIGHT FLOYD MAYWEATHER NEXT’
On Thursday, Pacquiao said he is willing to take the lower half of a 45-55 split to make a bout with Floyd Mayweather should he get beyond Marquez.
Negotiations between Mayweather and Pacquiao have also failed over the notion of drug testing, which has been contractually mandated by Mayweather for his past three victories over Victor Ortiz, Shane Mosley and Miguel Cotto.
But on Thursday, during the ESPN interview, Pacquiao said that he would agree to full, random drug testing “No problem. Whatever he wants…no problem. Even the the night of the fight, no problem.”
Pacquiao was even more emphatic about Mayweather on Friday in Mexico, when asked.
“I will accept a 45 percent-55 percent split with Floyd Mayweather. He can have top billing. He can have his choice of entering the ring first or second,” said Pacquiao.
“He can have his choice of being introduced first or second. He can even wear my trunks if it gets him into the ring with me. I want to fight Floyd Mayweather next.”
Not so fast, said Marquez.
“People can ask Manny about Floyd Mayweather next all they want,” said Marquez. “But Manny has to fight me first.”
Pacquiao, nevertheless, has an ongoing lawsuit against Mayweather accusing him of defamation, alleging that Mayweather continues to imply publicly that Pacquiao’s success over eight weight classes is the result of having used performance-enhancing drugs.
This week, a federal judge ordered Mayweather to pay $114,000 for failing to appear in the Pacquiao case.
PACQUIAO’S NOT CONCERNED ABOUT THE JUDGES, EYES KO OF MARQUEZ
Marquez has said he would rather not have Nevada-based judges for the fourth bout, but Pacquiao has no problem with them, despite the disputed loss to Bradley in Las Vegas.
“I have no problem with Nevada judges. It’s a commission issue,” said Pacquiao. “And when you fight under commission rules, you accept Commission rules, including who they assign as judges. I know what I have to do in the ring on December 8. I want to eliminate all doubts. I want a knockout victory.”
Photos by Rafael Soto, Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com