Idec: Marquez is Pacquiao's only real option for 2012 now that Mayweather's out of the mix
It's starting to feel as though the long-awaited Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Manny Pacquiao fight isn't meant to be.
Just when it appeared earnest efforts were underway to finally make boxing's biggest fight a reality in 2012, Mayweather was sentenced last week to 90 days in Clark County Detention Center in Nevada. He received a six-month suspended sentence following a plea bargain on a domestic violence charge stemming from a September 2010 incident involving Josie Harris, the mother of three of his children.
Mayweather was ordered to report to jail Jan. 6. Assuming Mayweather's incarceration begins on that date and he serves 90 days, an early April release wouldn't leave Mayweather enough time to properly promote such an enormous event and also take two months to properly train for a June fight against Pacquiao.
The undefeated five-division champion's predicament has left Pacquiao to consider other opponents for his next fight, tentatively scheduled for sometime in June. The Filipino superstar has plans to meet next week in Los Angeles with promoter Bob Arum, who's expected to present Pacquiao with three alternatives.
If Pacquiao genuinely is interested in doing what's right, he'll choose a fourth fight against Juan Manuel Marquez. It's the only challenge other than the Mayweather showdown Pacquiao should seek after yet another inconclusive fight against his Mexican nemesis on Nov. 12 in Las Vegas.
The third Pacquiao-Marquez match, much like their first two fights, could've gone either way. Pacquiao, who settled for a draw with Marquez in May 2004 and defeated him by split decision in March 2008, won the 12-round welterweight title bout by majority decision.
Marquez's performance that night left us to doubt how well Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KOs) would fare against Mayweather (42-0, 26 KOs), a far faster counterpuncher who dominated Marquez (53-6-1, 39 KOs) in their September 2009 fight in Las Vegas. That, however, is a matter for another day.
For now, Pacquiao's options are Marquez, undefeated junior welterweight champ Timothy Bradley (28-0, 12 KOs, 1 NC) and a completely unnecessary rematch against Miguel Cotto (37-2, 30 KOs), whom Pacquiao stopped in the 12th round of their welterweight title fight in November 2009.
Marquez deserves that fourth fight with Pacquiao, especially since Mayweather is unavailable, at least temporarily. Then again, Marquez hasn't always gotten what he deserves when it pertains to Pacquiao.
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