There was a fair amount of grumbling in certain cynical circles when Bob Arum made the fourth Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez fight, which unfolded Dec. 8 in Las Vegas.
Been there, done that, wanna see something else, grumblers on Twitter tweeted.
But by the end of the night, everyone had to think they got their money's worth, as Pacquiao, in a shocker extraordinaire, got dropped and stopped by his rival for the ages.
It makes sense to stage another bout, the fifth between The Congressman and the Mexican counterpunching master, but Marquez has been playing hard to get. He's talked about retiring, he's talked about there being nothing more to prove against Pacquiao ... but I suspect he's trying to create extra leverage for himself. Arum has told me he takes Marquez at face value, at his word, and doesn't think Marquez is posturing. That said, the promoter told me Thursday at a presser for the April 13 Nonito Donaire-Guillermo Rigondeaux Radio City Music Hall card that he wants to hear more from Marquez about a September clash between the rivals. At BB King's, Arum told NYFightblog about his plans to chat with Marquez. "There's no hurry in trying to make the fight," he said. "But me and Marquez were supposed to meet in San Diego (Wednesday) night. He had another appointment, so he'll be in Vegas Monday, and we'll have a meeting Tuesday."
Hmm, another appointment? Marquez not playing hard to get still? Hmm.
"My feeling is both men are open to fighting each other," he continued.
And is the tentative plan still to hold that bout outside the U.S., in a place where the taxman won't help himself to as large a chunk of revenue? "It's all numbers, man," he said. How much can be generated outside the States will be compared to how much would be generated here, and then it will be clearer if it is worth it to try and save on taxes.
And, if Marquez balks, and doesn't want to fight Manny next, what is Plan B for Pacman? "My job as a promoter is to make that fight happen," Arum said. "If I can't, and I don't believe I can't, then we'll figure out alternatives. But not till I exhaust every option."