Arum is Marquez’s No. 1 endorser vs Pacquiao III

By Alex P. Vidal/ PNS

Before he left the Philippines last March 22, Top Rank CEO Bob Arum gave boxing fans something to worry about: that Rep. Manny Pacquiao may still not be facing Floyd Mayweather Jr. after wrapping up his commitment versus Sugar Shane Mosley on May 7 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.

In fact, Arum, 79, became the number one endorser of a possible Pacquiao vs Juan Manuel Marquez trilogy.

Only the dotted lines have reportedly remained unmarked for the Pacquiao-Marquez III pending the outcome of the Pacquiao-Mosley fisticuffs and Pacquiao’s willingness to tangle once more with the most dangerous fighter he has ever faced.

It was reported that Arum had arrived in the country for a three-day visit to his most prized ward in a high-altitude training camp in Baguio City. Arum may have brought up the Marquez deal in his meeting with Pacquiao as a “contingency” measure in the event Mayweather, 34, remains elusive post-Mosley war, sources said.

Pacquiao had been declaring he was leaving the selection of his opponents to his promoter “while my job is to fight anyone of them.” However, sources said Pacquiao may decide to dodge Marquez—if he has a choice.

PLENTY OF TROUBLE

Marquez (52-5, 38 KO’s) was the only fighter who gave Pacquiao plenty of trouble in their two previous showdowns—first on May 8, 2004 (12-round draw) and on March 15, 2008 (12-round split decision win for Pacquiao).

Marquez had insisted he won the rematch held at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino despite being decked for a mandatory eight count in the third canto. Like Mosley, Marquez pursued Pacquiao’s promoter and personally begged to give him another chance to prove his mettle against the popular Filipino speedster.

Arum has made a categorical statement that if Mayweather (41-0, 25 KO’s) will not yet surface in their radar after the Mosley (46-6, 39 KO’s) fight, “Pacquiao might settle” for the 37-year-old Mexican gladiator who currently holds the world 135-lb crown.

Since Pacquiao (52-3-2, 38 KO’s) now campaigns in the 147-lb division, Arum hinted that the Filipino and Mexican protagonists might agree to fight in a “catch weight”.

In the event of a Mosley upset win over the much-adored Filipino ring titan, the proposed Pacquiao-Marquez may still push through since the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight remains in the doldrums.

Both Mosley and Marquez have been defeated on points by the unbeaten Mayweather.

Mosley, 39, admitted that he is the underdog against Pacquiao “but I love this role and this will motivate me to prove my worth,” he said in the recent Las Vegas leg of the fight’s thee-city press conference.