Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Pacquiao-Marquez fourth bout looms in case of close fight

HOLLYWOOD—Tucked somewhere in the fight contract between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez is a rematch clause that sets up a unique possibility of a fourth fight between the two fierce rivals.
On a quiet day which Pacquiao spent resting with his trainers—broken only by a visit from a legendary former heavyweight king—the question that reverberated around boxing circles was whether another close decision would merit yet another clash between the Filipino ring sensation and his Mexican challenger.

“Let’s see if he has anything to show,” Pacquiao said when asked about the possibility of a fourth fight with Marquez.

Pacquiao has said he will give everything in their third match on Saturday (Sunday in Manila), raising the possibility that Marquez is in for a short night.

Pacquiao has put in a lot of extra work in training that his corner has had to restrain him the past week in a different manner: Instead of just cutting routines, they’re giving him rest days.

During Sunday’s rest day, Pacquiao heard Mass and then got a noontime visit from former undisputed heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield at the Filipino’s Palazzo residence.

Holyfield stayed for about 20 minutes, chatting with Pacquiao before leaving.

One fight at a time
Pacquiao will make his road trip to the Las Vegas fight venue on Monday, travelling with his traditional long, multi-vehicle convoy right after his final sparring rounds at the Wild Card Gym.

During a media presentation Saturday, Marquez gave the impression he was more concerned about the fight this weekend than what lay ahead, telling Filipino journalists, “First this third fight, then fourth.”

At stake when the two warriors clash on November 12 (November 13 in Manila) at the MGM Grand is Pacquiao’s World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight crown. The fight will be fought at a catch weight of 144 pounds.

Top Rank chief and Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum has said there is a short list of three names of referees for the bout, but it looks likely Tony Weeks will get the call.

Pacquiao’s future
Arum said he hadn’t talked to Pacquiao about his future plans. The veteran matchmaker earlier said the fighter the Floyd Mayweather camp was setting up for a May 2012 bout was the Mexican slugger Erik Morales.

“He won’t fight Manny Pacquiao,” Arum said of Mayweather, the undefeated American superstar.

Arum said Morales, his former ward, would likely accept the Mayweather offer despite uncertainty over its pay-per-view potential.

Arum said he would only discuss the future with Pacquiao after the Marquez bout.

“Manny has got a lot to worry about, this [fight] is not going to be easy,” Arum said. “Let him have this fight then I’ll sit and talk with him.”

Fight records
The 34-year-old Mayweather has a sterling 42-0 ring record, with 26 knockouts.  Pacquiao, 32, has a fight record of  54-3-2, with 38 knockouts.

Talks in 2009 for a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight collapsed when Mayweather insisted on extra blood tests beyond those typical for Las Vegas match-ups.

Pacquiao did not want the disruption of random testing so close to the fight and talks fell apart on what could be the top-grossing fight in boxing history.

Mayweather still faces a slander lawsuit from Pacquiao over comments made while trying to push the blood tests, the Filipino claiming that Mayweather called him a dope cheat.

Mayweather says he only questioned why Pacquiao would not take blood tests near fight night.

Two lawsuits
Mayweather took a 16-month break from boxing between a victory over Shane Mosley in May of last year and a knockout of Victor Ortiz on September 17.

Mayweather still faces two lawsuits: one, for poking a security guard in the face in a confrontation over parking tickets last November.

A December 21 evidence hearing is also set on felony and misdemeanor charges against Mayweather over an altercation with former girlfriend Josie Harris and their two children.

Mayweather faces up to 34 years in prison if convicted of striking and threatening Harris, stealing her mobile phone and threatening their children.

His attorneys have denied any wrongdoing by their client. With a report from AFP

More Pacquiao Marquez updates here.

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