Friday, September 14, 2012
Updated: September 17, 5:55 PM ET
Fourth Pacquiao-Marquez fight set
By Dan Rafael
LAS VEGAS -- The deal is done.
Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez, already with a storied three-fight series against each other in the books, will fight for the fourth time, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said Friday.
They will meet Dec. 8 (HBO PPV) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, site of their epic first and third fights.
Pacquiao picked Marquez over welterweight titlist Timothy Bradley Jr., who claimed his belt with a controversial split-decision win against Pacquiao on June 9. Marquez, Bradley and Miguel Cotto were all candidates to face Pacquiao. Then Cotto, Pacquiao's preferred opponent, made a deal to fight junior middleweight titlist Austin Trout on Dec. 1 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Pacquiao picked Marquez because the money was bigger, Arum told ESPN.com on Friday.
Arum said he is guaranteeing Pacquiao $23 million for the fight. Had he faced Bradley again, it would have been "considerably less," according to Arum, who declined to reveal the figure.
"Because the economics for the Marquez fight were so much greater than for a Bradley rematch, that is what Manny decided to do," Arum said. "It's so much greater because of the support Marquez has from the Hispanic community. Look at the past numbers. When Pacquiao fought Marquez (in November), it sold close to 1.3 million pay-per-view. Bradley was about 900,000. That's a big difference. Plus, the gate goes from probably $8 million to $12 million."
Freddie Roach, Pacquiao's trainer, said once Cotto turned down an offer, he preferred for Pacquiao to fight Bradley again.
"Manny knew I would prefer Bradley," Roach said. "I think the money was a huge factor. Bradley doesn't bring the people Marquez does. But I would have rather had revenge for that bad decision in June."
Arum said Pacquiao was on a plane from the Philippines to Los Angeles to kick off a media tour for the fight beginning Monday in Beverly Hills. They will move to New York to meet the media on Wednesday followed by a trip to Mexico City on Friday. In addition, Arum said they would spend Thursday at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn., for a series of television appearances promoting the bout.
Roach said because of the controversial nature of the three previous fights between Pacquiao and Marquez, especially their fight in November, that Pacquiao would start out "down three rounds on the scorecards. Judges are human. They know what happened before. Maybe the judges will be thinking Marquez was robbed last time and they're human, and they will give Marquez the benefit of the doubt.
"But Manny picked Marquez, and that's who we will get ready for. It's about time we have a good knockout anyway."
The fight has been in the works for the past few days. It came to a head Tuesday when Arum met with Michael Koncz, Pacquiao's adviser, face-to-face at the Wynn Las Vegas following the final news conference promoting Arum's big card on Saturday night headlined by the Sergio Martinez-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. middleweight championship fight.
"We had to work it out, work out the money and then (Marquez promoter) Fernando (Beltran) had to close with Marquez because he had only talked generally with Marquez about the deal," Arum said. "But we couldn't close anything until Marquez got here (Thursday)."
Arum said the fight will be contested at welterweight -- 147 pounds maximum with no catch weight. Marquez (54-6-1, 39 KOs), who holds a junior welterweight title, will move up to welterweight for the nontitle fight.
"There is no sanctioning organization title involved," Arum said. "We're going to give that money to charity."
Marquez, who has won titles in four divisions (126, 130, 135 and 140) has fought above the 140-pound junior welterweight limit twice -- a lopsided loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2009, and a world title fight against Pacquiao when they met in November.
Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KOs), boxing's only eight-division champion, won that fight on a controversial majority decision to go up 2-0-1 in their rivalry, which began in 2004 when they fought to a thrilling draw in a featherweight championship fight. The rematch was a 2008 junior lightweight championship fight that Pacquiao won on a split decision.