Are you ready for Pacquiao-Marquez 5?
How about Pacquiao-Marquez 6, 7 & 8?
Well, that’s where we are heading if the house that Bob Arum built is unable to find a new stable of 140 and 147 pounders that can challenge Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez.
Once Ruslan Provodnikov bit the dust against the unheralded Chris Algieri in a surprisingly competitive fight, the only viable opponents left for Marquez and Pacquiao have once again become each other.
And that’s why Bob Arum had better play nice with Oscar De La Hoya and end this so-called “Cold War.” Unfortunately, even if Arum and De La Hoya are able to play in the same sandbox again, a new set of issues arise where Al Haymon may be in possession of the contracts to Golden Boy Promotions’ top welterweights.
But let’s table that discussion for a moment and realize the dire straits that Arum has found himself in.
Top Rank’s biggest draw is Manny Pacquiao. Right behind him is Juan Manuel Marquez. Miguel Cotto would factor in there somewhere but he’s not chained to Arum like Marquez and Pacquiao are. The Filipino and the Mexican have engaged in some hellacious and thoroughly entertaining fights. Marquez getting oh-so-close to beating Pacquiao was good television like Wile E Coyote chasing the Road Runner. But once the coyote finally captured his prey and left it face down in the middle of the Vegas desert, the show wasn’t quite as entertaining.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a fifth fight between Marquez and Pacquiao. The narrative tree is ripe with branching storylines. Can Marquez prove that it wasn’t a lucky punch? Is Manny Pacquiao the same whirlwind of menace that he once was?
But then what?
Let’s just say Manny Pacquiao vanquishes his foe. Realistically, who do you pair him with next? Keep in mind that boxing is a business and rest assured that the pissing contest between Arum and Mayweather will continue, as Arum knows he’s behind when it comes to the PPV sales category. Pacquiao needs another marquee name. If it is not a big name, then a young talent that could realistically pose a threat. Aside from Marquez, there’s nobody for Pacquiao to fight that he a) hasn’t beaten up already or b) people care about. Look, I like Timothy Bradley, but we all know the first fight was a sham of a decision and the rematch put the controversy to rest. Not to mention that the PPV numbers were, according to Arum’s own words, “disappointing.”
On the other side of the coin, what if Marquez beats Pacquiao? Then what? Even though the series would be 2-2-1, Marquez certainly would be cool on never fighting Pacquiao again. However, I don’t think that would sit well with Arum when it comes to good business. Marquez isn’t the draw that Pacquiao is and Arum cannot afford to see the Mexican put up abysmal PPV numbers.
Provodnikov was Arum’s last hope of a real name that carried a solid buzz in boxing. But we can scratch his name off the list since he will have to work his way back up the ladder. Instead, we can anticipate some wildly entertaining HBO fights for Provodnikov against Brandon Rios or a Timothy Bradley rematch. Good for fight fans, but not great for the pay-per-view business.
There has to be a method to Arum’s madness. He’s not just making nice with Oscar De La Hoya because it is the right thing to do. Top Rank’s head honcho is going to have to milk the cow in order to get what he wants. At the top of that list is Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. Even though it doesn’t seem likely that Canelo and Pacquiao could find a proper weight to meet at, there’s always a distinct possibility that Arum and De La Hoya could find a way to make the fight happen since both of them have a common enemy in Floyd Mayweather. Knowing that “Money” will continue to laugh his way to the bank, Arum and De La Hoya could join forces as boxing’s version of the Sinister Six (except, well, there’s only two of them) in an attempt give Mayweather the middle finger salute on the cover of the Daily Bugle.
If there were any fight that could compete with Mayweather in the big business category, it would be Pacquiao-Canelo. Okay, so even if it is not likely to happen, wouldn’t it be nice to see Pacquiao fight Adrien Broner, Amir Khan or Keith Thurman? As for Marquez, showdowns with Marcos Maidana, Lucas Matthysse or Shawn Porter would carry a lot of intrigue. Assuming, obviously that De La Hoya actually has these fighters under contract. But, again, that’s an entirely different conversation that will come to light once we mine through the wreckage leftover from Richard Shaefer’s departure from Golden Boy.
Bound by a common enemy, it makes perfect sense for Arum and De La Hoya to bury the hatchet. But it might be more important for Arum at this point considering that he is at a loss when it comes to opponents for Marquez and Pacquiao that the boxing community will care about.
It’s either that, or we strap ourselves in for a best-of-11 series between and Pacquiao and Marquez.
Thanks, but no thanks.