MANILA, APRIL 22, 2013 (ABS-CBN) But JMM not ruling out Pacquiao rematch!

Instead of going for a fifth bout against Manny Pacquiao, Mexican boxer Juan Manuel Marquez has chosen to challenge Timothy Bradley for the WBO welterweight crown.

Marquez, who is aiming to become a five-division champion, announced on Mexico’s The Record that he will be fighting Bradley on September 14 this year.

The Mexican boxer said he wants to lay his hands on the WBO crown, which he claims was denied from him during his third clash with Pacquiao.

[IN JUNE, 2012 Timothy Bradley won a questionable decision over Manny Pacquiao (Chris Farina/Top Rank]

"It will be a joy for me that day to fight for the welterweight championship, a title which belongs to me since 2011 but was denied in the third fight against Manny Pacquiao,” said Marquez. “Why not get what's mine?"

Although Pacquiao is also an important fight, the Mexican boxer said he has decided to “move forward.”

Marquez seemed uninterested on a fifth match with Pacquiao, especially after he defeated the Filipino via a sixth round knockout.

“Pacquiao was very important, but I look forward, not backward,” he said.

Marquez described Bradley as his “best option”.

"Choosing Bradley was not difficult… Bradley is the best welterweight and to be the best, you have to fight the best. He is an undefeated fighter, elusive, difficult, so I must work the speed,” he said.

Marquez, however, did not rule out a future fight with Pacquiao, adding that he still has two to three fights left in his career.

"I do not know if I’ll fight Pacquiao because in this sport, anything can happen,” he said. “But I have to get that fifth title first.”


Manny Pacquiao apparently caught a virus when he swallowed that huge counter right hand from Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez in December. The virus has been spreading and in a span of just four months has claimed the crowns of two hitherto formidable Filipino boxing champions.

On April 6, Brian Viloria’s six-fighting winning streak came to an end by way of a split-decision loss to Mexican Juan Francisco Estrada in Macau. Viloria was the heavy favorite to prevail owing to Estrada’s lack of big-fight experience, but the “Hawaiian Punch” ran out of steam and dropped his World Boxing Association (WBA) and World Boxing Organization (WBO) flyweight (112 pounds) titles.

A week after Viloria’s downfall, it was Nonito Donaire Jr.’s turn to get infected. Shortly after receiving his 2012 Fighter of the Year award from the prestigious Boxing Writers Association of America, Do­naire bowed to Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux in their unification battle for the WBA and WBO super bantamweight (122 pounds) championships at the Radio Music Hall in New York.

Donaire, who was simply invincible last year, looked every inch a bumbling mortal against Rigon­deaux. For a scientific boxer, Do­naire adopted the strategy of a caveman in the fight. Instead of working on cutting the ring and befuddling Rigondeaux with dazzling combinations, Donaire kept swinging for the fence. He fought like a baseball player looking for an instant homerun instead of working on the bases. The end-result? Rigondeaux counterpunched his way to a unanimous 12-round decision.

The only highlight-reel from Donaire came in the 10th round, when he floored Rigondeaux with a left hook. The punch was thrown in an awkward manner, while Donaire was trying to break free from Rigondeaux’s clutches, and paled in comparison to the premeditated, textbook left hook the “Filipino Flash” unloaded to demolish Vic Darchinyan and Jorge Arce. As a result, Rigondeaux did not feel the full brunt of the blow and was able to regain equal footing in a snap of a finger. Rigondeaux survived the remainder of the round by staying on his bicycle.

Donaire still had a chance to completely turn the tide in his favor in the last two rounds, but he came out flat or as he put it, “stupid.” Rigondeaux finished strong to seal the win.

Donaire, 31-2 with 20 knockouts, suffered his first loss after 12 years. He admitted after the fight that he did not watch enough tapes of Rigondeaux’s fights. For somebody who is known as a cerebral fighter, it comes across as perplexing that Do­naire did not bother to do his homework. Then again, it may not be about failing to buckle down to work but more of not finding time for the task. Impending fatherhood, the sudden surge in his popularity and bank account arguably put Donaire on cruise control. Donaire just had too many things on his plate going into the fight with Rigondeaux. By adopting the “swing for the fence” strategy, Donaire wanted to end the fight quickly and go back to the merriment. The poorly hatched plan, of course, backfired.

It all boils down to the virus that was unleashed when Pacquiao fell like a log against Marquez. Complacency and mixed priorities led to Pacquiao’s downfall and for some reason these negative vibes also found their way into Donaire’s system.

The good thing is that Donaire has acknowledged the mistakes he made and has vowed to correct them in his next ring outing. Depending on the outcome of the medical procedure on his shoulder, Donaire is pondering on a September return against former WBO featherweight king Juan Manuel Lopez of Puerto Rico. Unlike Rigondeaux who fights like he is trying to audition for a spot in the musical show Glee (complete with the dancing moves), Lopez (32-2, 29 knockouts) shows up in the ring with a search and destroy mentality. This early, fans are already predicting a slam-bang affair between Donaire and Lopez.

Of course, Donaire must ensure that he is already cleansed of the virus when he meets Lopez. If he fails to do this, the result will be far more damaging.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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