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Waiting for Manny Pacquiao: Juan Manuel Marquez Passes on Zab Judah

By Geno McGahee

On May 7th, Manny Pacquiao will take on Shane Mosley on pay per view and there will be one very interested onlooker that isn’t Floyd Mayweather, JR. Juan Manuel Marquez, 52-5-1, 38 KO’s, the current WBA/WBO Lightweight Champion is coming off his victory over Michael Katsidis in November and now waits for the winner with a unofficial guarantee that he is next. This is bad news for Zab “Super” Judah, 41-6, 28 KO’s, the current IBF Light Welterweight Champion. He and Marquez were to meet in July but, as of now, the fight is off.

Marquez has been picking his spots. He was set to face Erik Morales and then pulled out, and with good reason. Morales, as spent as he is, still has a great chin and heart, as shown in his scrap with Marcos Maidana and although Marquez most likely would have won, it would have been a close and ugly fight. That’s not good if you’re trying to put yourself into the running for a shot at Manny. Katsidis made sense…a powerful brawler with little skill that gets knocked out well. Marquez looked like a million bucks and is now ready to take on Pacquiao to finish the trilogy.

On May 8th, 2004, Marquez would meet Pacquiao at featherweight. The “PacMan” would pounce early, dropping Marquez three times in the first round, but the storm would be weathered and Marquez would win the majority of the rounds, but settle for a draw. Had it not been for the disastrous first round, Marquez would have won that fight.

The debate went on for years and in 2008, the two would meet up again, and it would be another very close and debatable fight. Pacquiao would eke by via split decision, and may have lost that one as well had it not been for a knockdown of Marquez. The record is 0-1-1 in favor of Pacquiao, but if you talk to Manny fans, we have a 2-0 and if you talk to Marquez fans, you have 2-0 in his favor. There is plenty of room for debate and it just appears that Marquez has Manny’s number.

We can all forget about Floyd Mayweather, JR. He will not fight Pacquiao. I am sure that we will see him in the ring again, in another heavily manipulated situation where he has the deck stacked in his favor, but he will not take on a real test. Floyd is smart enough to find fights that look good on the surface but upon closer inspection, are far from competitive. The only fights for Floyd are Manny and Sergio Martinez and neither phone will ring with a challenge any time soon.

So if Floyd is out, then Marquez is the logical choice. Even though Victor Ortiz did well against Andre Berto, he was stunned regularly and was dropped several times and if Berto can accomplish that, then Manny will make quick work of you. Manny will never have an issue with aggressor. He eats them up. Look at Ricky Hatton or Miguel Cotto. The aggressor walks into the minefield with Manny. You need to be a boxer with grit in order to beat him, and a boxer with grit is exactly what Marquez is.

Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez III could be the farewell for both men. Manny, as well as he’s currently doing in training and as focused as he is, may not have the interest in the sport anymore. There may be no more kingdoms left to conquer. Marquez is 37 years old and he’s had 58 fights. He wants one last hoorah and this is it and what better way to cap a career then to defeat Manny Pacquiao?

Sugar Shane Mosley is in the role of the spoiler, determined to turn boxing upside down and beat the man that most agree with pound him into submission on May 7th. The saying “every great champion has at least one great fight left in him” is the hope here and he may give Manny and the fans more than they bargain for, but the bad news for Sugar Shane is that he is being taken very seriously by Team Pacquiao. They are not as dismissive as the boxing writers and fans are.

Expect a Pacquiao win. If Mosley gets the jitters fighting Floyd, then a huge puncher like Pacquiao will certainly have him in a shell. We may see some exciting things early, but the recent career of Mosley doesn’t suggest that he’s currently in the same league as Pacquiao. On paper, it’s a mismatch.

Marquez awaits Pacquiao and if and when he wins, expect that fight to materialize and the question will be: Can Marquez hold him off for a third time? Morales eventually broke under the pressure, and Marquez, at 37, may just do the same, but since Floyd isn’t coming out to play, it’s the best matchup for Pacquiao should he defeat Mosley next month.

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