Mexican boxing legend Juan Manuel Marquez will be facing undefeated American welterweight Timothy Bradley in what could be his final fight before he finally closes the curtain of his epic career.
Despite turning 39 years old this year, Marquez will enter the showdown as the favorite to win a title in a fifth different division, making him the first Mexican to pull off such feat.
Juan Manuel Marquez lands the perfect punch on the chin of Manny Pacquiao. One of the images of 2012.
Yet again, these accomplishments won't be enough to erase an infamous stigma. Mexican fighters are known for their big hearts and boundless courage to take on any challenges. But Marquez's decision not to fight his rival Manny Pacquiao for the fifth time has boxing fans doubting his true mettle.
"I'd rather stay with the memory of that 'lucky punch' that I connected on Pacquiao. It's about pride and honor, not money. That's why in that contest there was no championship at stake, only the WBO's Champion of The Decade belt."
"There are no plans [to fight after Bradley]. We'll leave this commitment first, and then see. First I want to see how I feel and if I plan continue with my career," Marquez was quoted by SB Nation regarding his intention to stay away from Pacquiao fight.
WBO President Francisco "Paco" Valcarcel said he will order a mandatory fight between Marquez and Pacquiao, if they manage to win their respective bout these coming months.
"If Marquez and Pacquiao both win, the World Boxing Organization regulations would view the Filipino as [the mandatory] challenger to Juan Manuel. Pacquiao goes against Rios for the WBO International title, while Marquez will attempt to capture the world welterweight championship of the WBO from Bradley. If both win the bout between them would be ready, but of course, the fighters have the last word," Paco was quoted by Boxing Scene.
However, many boxing analysts believed Marquez would rather retire than facing Pacquiao again. With father time catching up with him, the Mexican knew he will not possess the same speed and stamina to match Pacquiao, who confidently believed he has 2 or 3 years left in the tank.
Ultimately, Marquez will end his career boasting sweet memory of a knockout win over Pacquiao, but then again, he will also carry the infamous mark of a coward for not settling the score once and for all with the Pacman
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