Sunday, Aug. 1, 2010 | 1:04 a.m.
There are a lot of fighters out there who would love to face Juan Manuel Marquez this year.
The only problem for Marquez is none of them are named Manny Pacquiao.
Marquez (50-5-1, 37 KO) turned in a dominant performance Saturday at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, earning a unanimous decision over Juan Diaz by scores of 118-110, 117-111 and 116-112.
Inside the ring following the fight and during the press conference after, Marquez pleaded his case for a third meeting with Pacquiao. The two fought to a draw in 2004 before Marquez dropped a split decision to the Filipino fighter in 2008.
“My No. 1 priority has always been Manny Pacquiao,” said Marquez through translator Oscar De La Hoya. “I want to fight Manny Pacquiao.”
Marquez’s challenge will likely not garner any response from Pacquiao or his representatives at Top Rank.
After failing to sign on Floyd Mayweather Jr. as Pacquiao’s next opponent, Top Rank CEO Bob Arum recently announced Pacquiao would be fighting Antonio Margarito in a venue to be announced on Nov. 13.
According to Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer, Marquez hasn’t given up on the almost non-existent possibility a fight with Pacquiao could be made and won’t agree to another opponent until he does.
While Schaefer says he believes Pacquiao might be up for a trilogy with Marquez, he doesn’t think Arum will let it happen.
“No, there’s no sense in it,” said Schaefer, when asked if he planned on contacting Arum about making the fight. “I know what he’ll say. We all know it.
“I know the MGM would love to host a Pacquiao vs. Marquez fight. I think even Pacquiao would love it. But Bob likes to do everything in house.”
If there’s anyone who understands how bad Marquez wants a shot at Pacquiao, it’s the other fighters his size under the Golden Boy Promotions banner.
Junior welterweight title holder Amir Khan, lightweight world champion Michael Katsidis and former junior lightweight world champion Robert Guerrero would all love to be next in line for Marquez.
During Saturday’s post-fight press conference, Katsidis even raised his hand and asked Marquez if he’d be willing to defend his lightweight titles against him.
“It’s up to my promoter,” answered Marquez. “I have to respect the fact that Katsidis is the No. 1 challenger. So, if the Pacquiao fight doesn’t happen, I would defend my titles with honor.”
Out of all the possibilities Marquez has, it appears the most likely to occur is a 140-pound meeting with Khan.
Should Marquez take Khan’s junior welterweight belt, he would become the first Mexican fighter to ever win world titles in four different weight classes.
“There are a lot of possibilities he has in front of him — the doors are wide open,” De La Hoya said. “One of the challenges is to move to 140 pounds and become the first Mexican in boxing history to win four titles in four divisions. Everything is possible.”
Although a trilogy with Pacquiao seems far-fetched as of now, it still appears the 36-year-old Marquez has plenty left in the tank to take on big fights.
He may not have stopped Diaz on Saturday as he did in the ninth round of their first fight in February 2009, but he was actually more impressive in the rematch.
If he continues to give performances like that, Schaefer said, perhaps a third meeting with Pacquiao isn’t out of the question in 2011.
“I think if he would move up and fight Khan and let’s say Marquez wins that fight, then you could have a Pacquiao vs. Marquez,” Schaefer said.