Mexico’s Juan Manuel Marquez has bypassed an immediate fifth fight against Manny Pacquiao to instead square off with world welterweight champion Timothy Bradley of Palm Springs.
Calling the planned fight at Las Vegas Thomas and Mack Center on Sept. 14 – Mexican Independence Day weekend – “signed and sealed,” promoter Bob Arum assessed, “Marquez wanted to fight Bradley and Bradley wanted to fight Marquez.”
The big element that complicated a fifth Marquez-Pacquiao fight after Marquez stunningly knocked out Pacquiao in December was Pacquiao’s insistence to stage his next bout in Singapore or Macau, China, where he could avoid a 40% tax of his purse, Arum said.
“Marquez-Pacquiao in the U.S. would generate incredible riches, but Marquez isn’t convinced Marquez-Pacquiao in Asia will result in the pay-per-view money being as strong,” Arum said.
Marquez (55-6-1, 40 knockouts) will turn 40 in August. After enduring some speculation that his sensational knockout of Pacquiao was enhanced by non-natural methods in the last fight, he has agreed to submit random drug tests to the Nevada-based Voluntary Anti-Doping Assn. while in training in Mexico, Arum said.
[Updated, 6:25 p.m. April 23: Marquez’s conditioning coach, Angel “Memo” Heredia, said later Tuesday that Marquez will be subject to test by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.]
He will also have the opportunity to collect a belt from an undefeated Bradley, who was given a questionable decision over Pacquiao in 2012, then survived a 12th-round knockdown to edge Russia’s Ruslan Provodnikov last month at Home Depot Center in Carson.
Should Marquez win, he will then have the chance to inspect how pay-per-view sales are from Pacquiao’s fall fight against either Mike Alvarado or Oxnard’s Brandon Rios at the Singapore or Macau locale.
Arum said Pacquiao, a congressman in the Philippines, is currently focused on the May elections that involve his candidate wife, Jinkee, and will choose Alvarado or Rios after the votes are in.
“Maybe Manny can show that fights from Asia do not affect the pay-per-view,” Arum said. “We’ll have his fight on a Sunday morning over there, airing it Saturday night in the U.S., like we did the ‘Thrilla in Manila.’
“The problem is knowing if we can get the same publicity in Asia as we do in the U.S. But we’ll charter planes and get discounted hotel rooms to make this an affordable trip for the press. Then we can alleviate the impact. It’s a new world over there now.”
By booking Marquez-Bradley on Sept. 14 on HBO pay-per-view, Arum effectively thumbed his nose at his former fighter and adversary, Floyd Mayweather Jr., who has tentatively planned to fight again on that same night pending the outcome of his May 4 bout against Robert Guerrero.
“The chance of Floyd having that fight on Sept. 14 is remote,” Arum said. “Plus, it’s a Mexican holiday and Marquez is Mexico’s favorite fighter. There’s no magic on that date for say a Mayweather fight against Devon Alexander.”
Arum said his commitment to Sept. 14 for Marquez-Bradley would change, however, if Mayweather were to fight Mexico’s young star, super-welterweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.
“If he fought ‘Canelo’ Sept. 14, then it’d be stupid for me to go head to head, and we’d probably move the date,” Arum said. “But I think the chances of that happening are remote. Mayweather has to beat Guerrero. My guys have no fights in front of them.
“Things have a way of working out.”