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PACQUIAO WATCH: MANNY RUNNING OUT OF MONEY FIGHTS


PhilBoxing.com


WITH Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera sipping tequila into the sunset, Manny Pacquiao is fast running out of iconic foes in the super featherweight division.

Just a couple of years ago, the super featherweight class was the hottest and most talent-laden division in boxing.

The only recognizable name left in the horizon is current World Boxing Council super featherweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez with whom Manny fought to a 12-round controversial draw in 2004.

No thanks to his victory over Barrera which resuscitated Marquez' career and made him somewhat saleable again after his debacle in Indonesia.

True, there is Joan Guzman who holds the one of the alphabet soup belts in the division. Pretender and World Boxing Association champ Edwin Valero of Venezuela is trying to lure Manny into a brawl. Humberto Soto, also promoted by Top Rank's Bob Arum, is waiting in the wings. And Indonesia's International Boxing Federation titlist Chris John is a probable opponent.

All of them, however, will hardly make a dent on the cash register if they fight a boxer not named Manny Pacquiao. Yes, even against each other.

Look at the Marquez-Soto fight. It is not even on pay-per-view (PPV) anymore. In fact, rumors have it that the bout, originally scheduled for September, was moved to November 3 because top honchos of HBO believed it won't sell.

Bereft of exciting fighters in the caliber of Pacquiao who brings total entertainment to the table every time he fights, boxing world is trying to cash in on Manny's recent victory over Barrera.

A Pacquiao-Marquez fight will be a good follow-up bout for Manny.

But at 33 years old, Marquez is no longer spring chicken. He will demand, as he is reportedly demanding now, equal if not bigger purse to fight Manny in a highly anticipated rematch to settle an old score between them.

After seeing Manny outbox Barrera into retirement, Team Marquez knows it will be dealing with a much improved Pacquiao atop the ring. Many said Manny was not at his fighting best when he fought Barrera which Marquez's camp surely has noted carefully.

Team Pacquiao, on the other hand, knows Manny will, in all likelihood, invade the 135-pound class sooner or later.

The Diazes (Juan, Julio and David) hold lineal belts in this division with Juan "The Baby Bull" Diaz being the bigger draw.

Juan Diaz is a 24-year old undefeated champion who conquered Filipino slugger Randy Suico in nine rounds. David Diaz was the fighter who finally sent a washed-up two-time Pacquiao knock out victim Erik Morales to retirement. Julio Diaz is a lanky lightweight with suspect chin having lost three fights (two of them by knockout) while winning 34 (25 via KO).

A fight with any of them will elicit quite a considerable interest if only to see how Manny will fare in the division.

Money-wise, Manny fighting any of them is fairly good for the box office should Marquez price himself again out of competition. (Marquez was offered $900,000 for a rematch with Pacquiao but declined it and instead fought Chris John for a mandatory $30,000 title purse. He lost that one.)

Team Pacquiao, however, should also carefully plot the Filipino southpaw's next fights as Manny is not getting any younger. Manny has a good two years or five fights left before he turns 30. And if Team Pacquiao wants him to finally say goodbye to boxing at age 33, as Barrera and Morales did while at the same time earning his retirement fund, an 'easy' fight in between major bouts is not entirely a bad proposition ? money-wise.

After all, Manny deserves a break once in a while.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Edwin G. Espejo.


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