Juan Manuel Marquez to Fight Manny Pacquiao 'Dead Ringer' | Is the Real PacMan Next?Written by Lee Cleveland
According to BoxRec, the legendary Juan Manuel Marquez (54-6-1, 39 KO) is fighting a relatively unknown Filipino named Al Sabaupan on July 21st in Mexico.
The bout will be contested at jr welterweight (140 lbs) and Marquez's WBO title will be at stake.
Coincidentally, Sabaupan bears an uncanny resemblance to Marquez's longtime Filipino foe, Manny Pacquiao. Coincidentally, it was a year ago this week Marquez KO'd a hand-picked tune-up named Lukar Ramos in less than a round in Mexico. And coincidentally, Ramos then, like Sabaupan today, was an untested southpaw.
Does Marquez vs Sabaupan all but confirm Pacquiao vs Marquez IV in November?
"The itch to fight the legendary Pacquiao remains strong for Juan Manuel and I believe that he will settle for a PacMan dead ringer," said Saved by the Bell Promotions president Elmer Anuran, who handles Sabaupan's career. (Source: Sports Inquirer)
Looking for an Opponent
Fresh off his win against Serhiy Fedchenko in April, no fewer than five fighters had been rumored to be fighting Marquez. The most likely candidate was Brandon Rios until he a) failed to make weight for the second consectutive time in the Marquez vs Fedchenko co-main event and b) was the recipient of a very unpopular, seemingly undeserved decision on the same night.
Despite getting the win, Rios' credibility, at least temporaily, has been bruised and Team Marquez wisely sought other options.
So with rising, young Filipino sensation Mercito Gesta, Lamont Peterson and Zab Judah seemingly available for talks, for what other reason would a fighter of Juan Manuel Marquez's caliber and stature agree to fight an unproven, little-known southpaw... unless that southpaw is a tune-up for another higher-profile southpaw later this year.
The most likely candidates are southpaws Manny Pacquiao and, perhaps, IBF Jr Welterweight titleholder Zab Judah. And although Gesta is also a southpaw and seemingly qualified for such an assignment, many believe he lacks the name recognition to help sell and legitimize a big pay-per-view.
Pacquiao vs Marquez IV?
Last Novmeber, Juan Manuel Marquez fought brilliantly and surprised most fight fans and ringside experts by giving Manny Pacquiao everything he could handle in what was their third meeting. He consistently won the exchanges on the inside and seemingly landed the harder, more effective, more eye-catching shots for twelve solid rounds of action.
Although most fans in attendance believed Marquez deserved victory, Manny Pacquiao retained the WBO Welterweight title via controversial majority decision in a close bout in which PunchStats favored the Filipino incumbent.
Since the unsettling outcome of Pacquiao vs Marquez III, Team Marquez and Top Rank Promoter Bob Arum have been campaigning for one more fight between the two icons.
Arum, who promotes both men, recently told BoxingScene Pacquiao "fought a very close, controversial fight with Marquez that some people felt Marquez won."
But what about Pacquiao vs Bradley II? Don't the fans want Manny exact revenge?
According the Bob Arum, who also promotes Tim Bradley, the answer is a resounding 'No!' In the aftermath of Pacquiao vs Bradley, the 81 year old Ivy League graduate had some strong words for The Las Vegas Sun.
Pictured: Top Rank Founder Bob Arum
"I don't want to do a rematch. This fight was a one-sided fight. If it had been scored properly, 10-2 or 9-3 [in rounds], who would be asking for a rematch? – Nobody. Just because these officials screwed up, that doesn't justify a rematch."
However, Arum confirmed with BoxingScene Pacquiao vs Marquez IV wasn't a done deal yet stating, "I can't make any plans for Manny until I meet with him (Pacquiao) when he comes back. I will meet with him and we'll decide (about staging the fight) either in the United States or Mexico or some place else. We'll sit down and have an intelligent discussion."
A Stumbling Block?
If Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez meet again in November, neither fighter will have a title if the bout is contested at welterweight (147 lbs). In order for a world title to be at stake, Manny would have move back down to Jr Welterweight (140 lbs) where Marquez carries a WBO strap. Since Manny Pacquiao weighed a full 147lbs for his bout with Tim Bradley earlier this month and has fought as a welterweight for nearly four years, he's not likely to move back down to 140lbs.
However, given the status and reputation of both men and their epic rivalry, is a world title really required to make Pacquiao vs Marquez IV a massive, international spectacle?
Courtesy of Chris Farina, Top Rank
Who is Al Sabaupan?
The 5'7" Sabaupan, who turns 24 next month, is rated No. 109 in the Jr Welterweight division by BoxRec and sports a respectable record of 19-1-1, 14 KOs. Aside for bearing a close resemblance to Manny Pacquiao, Sabaupan, who is also Filipino, is fresh off a first round knockout of Feddie Martinez (then 10-7-1) earlier this week.
Little more is known about the young southpaw other than most of his bouts appear to have been contested at lightweight (135 lbs) and that he has yet to fight a 'name' opponent.
He suffered his only loss, a ninth round stoppage in April, to the formidable Marvin Quintero (then 24-3). Heading into that bout, an IBF Lightweight Title Eliminator, Sabaupan was ranked No. 4 as a lightweight by the IBF while Quintero entered as the IBF No. 6, WBO No. 6, and WBA No. 15 in the same division.
Will Juan Manuel Marquez, who turns 39 in August, take the 24 year Filipino to school next month?
Lee is Managing Editor of FightSaga.com, a student of the Sweet Science and longtime boxing fan.
A gym rat in the 1990s, Lee was trained by 1976 Olympic Silver Medalist Charles Mooney and several retired seasoned pros. He was also a sparring partner for former WBA Super Middleweight Champion Steve Little who upset Michael Nunn for the WBA Super Middleweight Title in '94.
Lee created FightSaga.com to honor and preserve boxing's rich heritage, chronicle the achievements of top fighters, celebrate the legacy of big fights and provide a fun, educational experience for fight fans.