After his dominant win over Juan Diaz Sunday, Juan Manuel Marquez proved he is still the best in the lightweight division.
He may have lost a step or two, but against the best in the division, Marquez at 36 years old is still the man to beat. He is the best power counterpunching fighter right now – all weight classes included.
His two memorable fights with Manny Pacquiao were close enough for others to salivate for a third bout.
Marquez himself is chasing Pacquiao like a jilted suitor, moving up in weight to face Floyd Mayweather Jr last year in the hope of luring Pacquiao into a trilogy that could match his brother Rafael’s own scintillating series with Israel Vasquez.
Marquez no doubt gave Manny the fits when they fought first at the super bantamweight and later at the super featherweight classes.
Manny has since moved on and may make his debut at super welterweight later in the year if the fight with Antonio Margarito pushes through.
For a third Pacquiao-Marquez fight to happen, the Mexican lightweight champion will have to move up in weight and hope that Pacaquiao runs out of opponents in the welterweight division or if Mayweather finally decides he is not fighting the Filipino boxing icon.
But he cannot accuse Manny of dodging him like Manny does to Mayweather.
Manny offered him an immediate rematch after their first fight (2004) but he declined over purse dispute. He finally got one in 2008 in which he lost by a close split decision.
Unlike his countrymen Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales who refused to fight him while they were in their prime, Manny took the challenge.
Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy Promotions knows better than accusing Manny of dodging Marquez.
Manny never backed down from competition.
Granting Marquez gets another crack at Pacquiao at the welterweight level, he won’t last the distance.
Marquez is an aged fighter at 36 and turning 37 next month. Adding up 12 pounds to match Manny’s bulk at welterweight will further slow him down just as he was a pathetic slow fighter against Mayweather.
Against Diaz Sunday, he was a bit dragging his feet and his bounce was noticeably slower.
He will make an easy target for Manny, who never lost his sprightly legs and even added more intangibles to his already vast arsenal.
Manny took the best punches of Miguel Cotto and Joshua Clottey, both legitimate heavy handed welterweights, and never came close to being knocked down. Pacquiao continues to improve in every fight ever since he took Freddie Roach as his coach.
Marquez is one of those unfortunate fighters who didn’t get the breaks because there were others who made splashes ahead of him.
But that should not be taken against him. Marquez deserves to be nominated to the Hall of Fame after he retires.
He is better off cleaning up the lightweight ranks and landing in the Hall of Fame rather than risk a first stoppage loss to Pacquiao at welterweight. Marquez has nothing left to prove against Manny. For his own sake, Marquez should stop dreaming of a third fight against the Filipino.