Eight-division world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao has chosen Mexican counter-puncher Juan Manuel Marquez for his scheduled December 8 fight, Pacquiao's adviser Michael Koncz told Ronnie Nathanielsz of Philboxing and Manila Standard Thursday.
Pacquiao chose Marquez from a shortlist presented by his promoter Bob Arum during his recent visit to the Philippines. Aside from Marquez, the two other names in the list include Palm Springs boxing star Timothy Bradley and Puerto Rican ring idol Miguel Cotto.
Pacquiao will be facing Marquez for the fourth time since they clashed for the first time more than eight years ago.
In 2004, Marquez and Pacquiao fought to a controversial draw in a featherweight bout ( 126 pounds ). Pacquiao would have won via a split decision if not for a scoring error committed by one of the judges, who scored a round at 10-7 instead of 10-6 for Pacquiao's three knockdowns of Marquez.
In 2008, at super featherweight (130 pounds), Marquez and Pacquiao clashed again in a hotly contested rematch in which Pacquiao earned a split-decision victory. Pacquiao's third-round knockdown of Marquez must have influenced the decision of the judges, as they gave the winning score to the Filipino boxing star.
In 2011, Pacquiao and Marquez fought for the third time at a catch weight of 144 pounds in which Marquez lost again via majority decision. But Marquez protested, claiming he was robbed of his victory for the third time.
Marquez campaigned hard for another lucrative fight with Pacquiao but as Arum was on the verge of signing him up again with the Filipino ring icon, Marquez reportedly upped his asking price which prompted Arum to explore a possible rematch with Miguel Cotto.
But Cotto has declined Arum’s offer for rematch as the Puerto Rican chose welterweight Austin Trout to see action with him at the Madison Square Garden in New York on December 1.
Pacquiao, who lost to Bradley in a controversial judges' decision last June 9 in Las Vegas, has an option to face Bradley in a rematch.
But Arum said a Bradley rematch will not generate as much pay-per-view (PPV) revenue compared to a Marquez fight which is estimated to surpass the PPV numbers of their trilogy bout last year.
Unbeaten WBC welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather did not make it to the shortlist of opponents for Pacquiao's next fight due to his incarceration. But Arum said Mayweather may be ready to face the Filipino boxing superstar early next year.
Pacquiao and Marquez, together with their entourage are scheduled to meet at the Beverly Hotel in Los Angeles Tuesday for the kick off ceremonies of their press tour to promote the December 8 fight.