Marquez signs deal to fight Pacquiao Nov. 12
Mexico's Juan Manuel Marquez Wednesday officially signed a contract to fight Manny Pacquiao for a third time Nov. 12, most likely in Las Vegas, said Todd duBoef, the president of Pacquiao's promotional company, Top Rank.
Marquez and Pacquiao fought to a 2004 draw, then battled to a split-decision won by Pacquiao in 2008. Part three of the trilogy appears destined for MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, with Pacquiao's World Boxing Organization welterweight belt on the line.
Pacquiao, considered the world's top pound-for-pound boxer, has proceeded to dominate the likes of Ricky Hatton, Oscar De La Hoya and Miguel Cotto since edging Marquez. His three consecutive unanimous decisions over Joshua Clottey, Antonio Margarito and Shane Mosley have been landslides.
Meanwhile, Marquez has lost only to the far bigger and unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Jr. since his narrow Pacquiao loss, ascending to become world lightweight champion and insisting his style will give Pacquiao fits.
A 144-pound catch weight has been agreed upon.
"I like the fight, how can you not after the first two fights?" said DuBoef, who supervised Marquez's signing at the Beverly Hills Hotel. "The thing I like best about this one is that the fans are encouraged by it.
"These guys have fought like gladiators over the course of their last 24 rounds together, and I believe we have another 12 more like that ahead of us."
Marquez will receive a guaranteed $5 million, plus an unspecified "upside" of pay-per-view sales. Pacquiao's U.S. business advisor met with Top Rank Chairman Bob Arum Tuesday, and the Filipino star boxer will likely sign his deal -- likely to be in the $20-million guaranteed neighborhood -- later this month in the Philippines.
Marquez's signing triggers what will likely be a compelling battle to televise the bout between Showtime -- which televised Pacquiao-Mosley on May 7 -- and the fighter's former home network, HBO.
Rumors abound in the industry that HBO executives were extremely displeased to lose the Pacquiao fight, ramping up pressure on HBO Sports President Ross Greenburg to land Pacquiao-Marquez.
An HBO spokesman told The Times Wednesday that Greenburg was not available to comment about the network's interest in Pacquiao-Marquez.
Showtime, which has yet to announce the number of pay-per-view buyers it drew for Pacquiao-Mosley, has proven to Arum "they can perform."
"We will evaluate whoever is providing the most assets in the publicizing and promotion of the event," Arum said Wednesday.
Arum said he won't use Pacquiao-Marquez to get other premium network fight dates, and said, "Whoever offers me dates is out. My job is to maximize the revenue for these two fighters, period."
Negotiations for Pacquiao-Marquez also included a Monday session that placed Arum and Golden Boy Chief Executive Richard Schaefer at the same table for the first time in several months, and the rivals who haven't staged a fight together in two years emerged conciliatory rather than still divisive, DuBoef said.
"It's good to have positive dialogue and not allow negative banter -- backstabbing, talking about each other to the media -- to take over," DuBoef said. "Positive interaction is encouraging. You crawl before you walk. I hope we can do business together again, we want a more healthy environment, and that brief interaction represents the first steps."
-- Lance Pugmire
Photo: Juan Manuel Marquez. Credit: Steve Marcus / Reuters