Manny Pacquiao woke up to the news yesterday that his revered Mexican rival Juan Manuel Marquez has had a change of heart and that he is now looking forward to a fifth fight with the Filipino icon.
Pacquiao admitted “that was nice to hear” but it actually meant little to him as he is focused only on one man in his General Santos City training camp.
Not even Floyd Mayweather is taking away Pacquiao’s attention nor does Marquez.
“I am focused only on Timothy Bradley,” said Pacquiao before plunging into another session of banging bodies with Lydell Rhodes, who is lending a hand to Pacquiao’s buildup for the rematch with Bradley set April 12 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Marquez, in a story that was published by the Los Angeles Times yesterday, said he is now looking forward to meet the winner of the second meeting between Pacquiao and Bradley, according to his long-time promoter Fernando Beltran.
But Marquez, 40, will have to likewise hurdle his next assignment, a May 17 slugfest with Mike Alvarado in Los Angeles.
Marquez has fought Pacquiao four times, winning just once, the last being the one that struck in everyone’s mind when he knocked out Pacquiao in the sixth round in Dec. 2012.
Marquez had earlier said that there is no point in having to face Pacquiao a fifth time because he had already proven that he is the better fighter.
But with Pacquiao a solid favorite to exact payback against Bradley, Pacquiao would have the one thing that Marquez craves for.
If Pacquiao beats Bradley, he will get the World Boxing Organization welterweight crown, a title Marquez terribly wants since taking it would make him the first Mexican puncher in history to become a five-division titleholder.
Beltran said winning a fifth crown has always been one of Marquez’s biggest obsessions.
Pacquiao’s adviser Mike Koncz echoed his boss’s sentiments but made it clear that the fighting congressman is not looking past Bradley.(Nick Giongco)