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Juan Manuel Marquez and Mike Alvarado have both had to spend a bit of time licking their wounds in recent stretches, have both spent a minute or two at least pondering the state of their career.

Where am I in the grand scheme of things?

How much of my career is in the rear-view mirror and how much time do I have left to perform on the big stages?

Both men will dispense with pondering and get to answering when they face off against each other, May 17 at the Fabulous Forum in Los Angeles, on a Top Rank card to be shown on HBO. The stakes are high merely in the context of relevance, and stature…but the import of the event grows with the knowledge that the winner of the May 17 faceoff will meet the winner of the April 12 Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley bout.

“It's a must see fight,” said Top Rank exec Carl Moretti to TSS on Thursday afternoon about the squareoff, which will be contested at a catchweight of 143 pounds, or less.

The longtime fightmaker said that he believes Marquez, the 40-year-old Mexican who was outboxed by Timothy Bradley in his last outing (October 2013), is probably thinking Alvarado has seen better days, and he will be back to counterpunching fine-form, and defeat the Coloradan, in order to secure another crack at either Bradley, or Pacman.

And Alvarado, age 33, couldn't withstand the heat in Ruslan Provodnikiv's kitchen in his last outing, in Colorado, on Oct. 19, 2013. He needs needs needs to handle Marquez, and has to hope the Mexican's reflexes have dimmed some, to really reflect an average 40 something, in order to stave off a return to the sub main event stages.

Moretti sounded in joyous and lightly combative form, as he crowed about the crowds that will be packing in to see Top Rank cards April 26, June 7 (Miguel Cotto-Sergio Martinez in NYC at MSG) and also this May promotion at the Forum. He expects all to sell out.

“Tell me about the other guys,” he said, tossing an uppercut at Golden Boy.

Marquez has been a slickster talking about another tussle with Pacman, and said that he'd like to huff the fumes of his Dec. 2012 knockout of The Congressman till the end of his days. But Moretti assured me that the Mexican is game to fight the April 26 winner, whoever that may be.

I'm guessing he'd rather Pacman's style carries the night, and the Filipino has his hand raised, setting up a fifth showdown between the rivals for the ages.

“But there's one problem…he's gotta get past Alvarado,” Moretti said, in closing.

Readers, your thoughts please. Weigh in, in our own Fabulous Forum.

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