HOLLYWOOD—The guy carrying Juan Manuel Marquez’ paycheck for his third fight against Manny Pacquiao had some papers for the Mexican to sign.
“Get that away from me,” Marquez said. “You can have the money, just give me the win.”
Ricardo Jimenez, the Top Rank publicist assigned to tail Marquez for the duration of the fight period, replayed the scene for Filipino journalists Sunday, just before they embarked on the road trip from Las Vegas, and gave them a behind-the-scenes look at the Mexican’s camp post-fight.
Jimenez painted a picture of a frustrated Marquez, whose retirement plans may not be the only one standing in the way of a fourth installment between the two warriors who have fought 36 rounds and still cannot definitively say who won.
The crafty Marquez offers Pacquiao an impressively wily opponent with terrific counterpunching skills and accuracy and more importantly, a puzzle the volume-punching pound-for-pound king can’t seem to unlock.
“After 36 rounds, [Pacquiao] still can’t figure [Marquez] out,” said Jimenez. “He never will.”
Pacquiao won a majority decision Saturday at the MGM Grand’s Garden Arena, a result that drew deafening boos from the huge Mexican throng that watched the fight live—largely because both fighters fought several either-or rounds that was vulnerable to interpretation.
The decision opened up a possibility for a fourth fight between the rivals, despite pronouncements by Marquez that he was retiring because the decision left a sour taste in his mouth.
Top Rank chief Bob Arum doesn’t think Marquez is retiring, but even given such an optimistic scenario, the fourth fight may not happen. While Pacquiao is amenable to giving his rival a fourth fight, Marquez is no longer as keen.
“What for?” Marquez answered Jimenez when he was broached the question. “There’s no way I can beat him.”
Jimenez said Marquez felt he fought a perfect fight after weeks of hard preparation and still did not get the nod of the judges.
“If I can’t beat him the way I fought tonight, there’s no way I can beat him,” Marquez said.
Noted analyst Emanuel Steward said Marquez’ mistake during the fight was to fall back to his counterpunching ways in a championship fight in front of judges noted to favor aggressive fighters.
“Marquez did not fight like he wanted to take the championship,” Steward said after the fight. “That was a big mistake.” /Inquirer