Crammed with members of the local and international media, the famous Romanza Gym in Mexico City was a lively place this past Wednesday.
Known for years to be the spot where Mexican super star Juan Manuel Marquez trains under the guidance of longtime trainer and gym owner Nacho Beristain, Marquez has begun training camp in preparation for his upcoming battle with WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley next December.
A popular topic at hand was an obvious one, and one Marquez was prepared to discuss. The present media members and local fans in attendance wanted to hear one particular answer from the man who knocked out nemesis Manny Pacquiao last December (with a devastating counterpunch that continues to be discussed by boxing fans around the world).
It is very well known that Pacquiao is lobbying for a fifth bout with Marquez; he is obviously thrusting for revenge and evidently has begun utilizing verbal tactics to persuade his famous foe. The Filipino icon recently stated that he believes Marquez knocked him out with a “lucky punch.”
So it was just a matter of time that during the media session, as Marquez made himself available for interviews, the awaited question would be posed…“Will you fight Manny Pacquiao again?” One that Marquez answered with a smile, “Pacquiao should forget about me,” Marquez continued, “Pacquiao has been saying a lot of things, and obviously he wants me to bite the bait, but it will not happen. He wants a fifth fight, one that will not occur. I prefer to retire with the memory of that knockout, after I was robbed three times, in that last one I proved who the best was.”
When questioned if a big pay day -surely the biggest he has ever seen in his career- would entice him. The master technician and expert counterpuncher replied, “Not at all. This isn’t about money, it’s about honor. That’s why in the last fight there was no title on the line, just the WBO Champion of the Decade belt.”
Juan Manuel was then asked if he felt Pacquiao would be the same fighter against his next opponent Brandon Rios, considering the brutal manner in which Pacquiao was knocked out. “I really don’t know how much the knockout I gave him has affected him personally. We’ll find out when he steps in the ring for his next fight.”
At age 39 and a warrior of many hard fought battles, Marquez’ future is somewhat of an uncertainty as well, such that he is, at very least, considering retirement after his bout with Bradley. “I have no plans after this fight. First I have this commitment and then we will see. First I want to see how I will feel after this bout and then decide if I continue with my career.”
As for the “lucky punch” comment, Marquez had one more thing to say about it: “I prefer to have the memory of that so-called lucky punch that I landed clean and with perfect timing.”
Seems like Pacquiao will need to try harder or use other methods to lure Marquez back into the squared circle. Judging by Marquez’ comments, Manny is nowhere near in achieving that objective. Then again, despite what was said by the legendary Mexican fighter, it’s doubtful a multi-million dollar purse wouldn’t change his mind. As they often say in Marquez’ homeland: “Todo en el mundo tiene precio” (Everything in the world has a price). We’ll just have to wait and see if Marquez puts a price tag on a fifth encounter. Pacquiao too will be waiting.
And surely he won’t forget.