Top Rank CEO Bob Arum has informed four-division beltwinner Juan Manuel Marquez that the potential opponents for his next fight include Tim Bradley, Brandon Rios or a fifth bout with archrival Manny Pacquiao, with the clash taking place likely in September.
Marquez, who turns 40 in August, is coming off December’s sixth-round stoppage of Pacquiao, after going 2-0-1 in three previous fights against the eight-division titlewinner.
Bradley is coming off June’s disputed split-decision victory over Pacquiao and is scheduled to defend his WBO welterweight crown against Ruslan Provodnikov on March 16 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., on HBO.
Rios is coming off October’s seventh-round stoppage of previously unbeaten Mike Alvarado in his junior welterweight debut. The former WBA lightweight titleholder will fight a rematch with Alvarado on March 30 at The Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas also on HBO.
“We had a great dinner, a very lovely dinner in Mexico City,” Arum said of his recent meeting with Marquez. “We drank a little too much tequila, but that’s another story. So he wanted to know, and he asked me, ‘What are my options?’ So I said, ‘You have three options, as I see it.’
“I laid them out to Marquez. I said, ‘You can fight Bradley, if Bradley beats Provodnikov. You can fight Brandon Rios, if Brandon Rios beats Alvarado. Or you can fight Manny Pacquiao again.’ So he said, ‘I understand that the money is different for me’ (depending on which fight I take).
“On March 16, Marquez will be ringside for the Bradley-Provodnikov fight. So he will be there, and he can scout Bradley and he can talk to the HBO guys, because he speaks very good English, about his impressions,” said Arum.
“Then, two weeks later, he is going to come to Vegas to see Rios and Alvarado, and he’s going to bring his wife to that fight, because, on Sunday, we’re going to all be leaving to go to the the April 6 show, and he’s coming for that.”
On April 6 from Macao, HBO2 will air the debut of Chinese junior flyweight Zou Shiming, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and three-time world amateur champion, as part of an event that will also feature flyweight beltholder Brian Viloria defending his WBA and WBO titles against Juan Francisco Estrada.
“Independently, I’m arranging for Manny Pacquiao to come with his wife, Jinkee, that weekend for that show as well on April 6. So at that particular point, Marquez will have a better idea of what he wants to do,” said Arum.
“If it’s Pacquiao, which I believe that it will be, then any kind of negotiations, we can work out (there). We can also determine how realistic it is to do the fight in either Macao or Singapore.”
Arum said a Pacquiao-Marquez fight would be in September, “but not on that Sept. 14 weekend,” he said.
If Marquez elected to fight Bradley or Rios, “that would happen in the fall.” said Arum.
“If Marquez fights one of the guys, then Pacquiao could then fight the other guy, and then we could do their fifth fight next year [2014.] That’s a possibility. The point that I’m making, since I promote all of them, (is that) my job is to lay out everything and to just let them choose,” said Arum.
“Everybody’s waiting, but that’s the only way I can do it. If I dictated to these guys, then that would cause resentment and not accomplish what I want to accomplish. Let’s say if Manny and Marquez do decide to fight, then that leaves Bradley and Rios to fight each other.”