Tungod, Inabanga, Bohol – A few years back, when Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao and Juan Manuel “Dinamita” Marquez were still campaigning south of 135 lbs, the mere mention of either fighter’s name in a possible clash with then welterweight giants Antonio “Loaded Hands” Margarito and Miguel Angel “Junito” Cotto would have been considered an utterly stupid idea. It would have merited total lashing and lambasting from know-it-all wanna-be boxing experts in various boxing forums. Both Pacquiao and Marquez would have been considered as major underdogs – little kids playing with the big boys.
But apparently, this is no longer the case. Largely due to Pacquiao’s sterling rise in the divisional ranks, Margarito, the bigger and naturally stronger guy, is expected to climb the ring as the huge underdog to Pacquiao – something nobody would have ever thought before Pacquiao decided to campaign in the heavier weight classes. The Pinoy boxing icon didn’t only achieve it with relative ease… he also did it in style! David Diaz, Ricky Hatton, Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto, and Joshua Clottey, in that order, couldn’t handle Pacquiao’s complete boxing repertoire and ended up playing the role of punching bags.
Juan Manuel Marquez, the only fighter in recent memory who has given Pacquiao fits tried to follow his nemesis’ footsteps by taking on the flamboyant “Pretty Boy” Floyd Mayweather Jr in a catchweight match within the welterweight range. Mayweather weighed in two pounds over the agreed weight limit, even amplifying his already sizeable advantage. Marquez agreed to fight on, with additional cash considerations and eventually lost via lopsided decision.
After a recent clinical victory over a much younger and strong contender in Juan Diaz, Marquez might once again find himself in a familiar territory. Seeking a trilogy with Pacquiao and with the Pinoy’s scheduled faceoff with Margarito almost set in stone, Marquez could arrange a bout against newly crowned super welterweight champion Miguel Angel Cotto later this year. Both Marquez and Cotto want another shot at Pacquiao, but the boxing world seems to dismiss their chances. Some argue that Marquez won’t last the distance against Pacquiao in the heavier weight class. There isn’t much confidence in Cotto either, especially with the pillar-to-post beating he received from Pacquiao still fresh in our memories.
Nevertheless, their recent championship victories against respective solid challengers are a step in the right direction towards the Pacquiao destination. There is one more thing they still need to do, though, to make a legitimate case for a rematch – take on each other for the right to be the frontrunner in the next Manny Pacquiao sweepstakes. Marquez isn’t getting any younger, but if he ekes out a victory over Cotto, he would dramatically improve his stock for a possible third dance with the dreaded Mexicutioner. He might lose badly to Pacquiao, but for sure he will laugh his way to the bank and enjoy his retirement with lots of money. Cotto, for his part, beefs up his chances if he convincingly beats the guy Pacquiao almost lost to.
All this is possible. “Can it be done?” and “At what weight class?” are the only questions that remain to be answered… and oh by the way, let me add “Do you want it?” to the list, too.
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