Manny Pacquiao gears up for a $1-M fight versus Marquez

21.12.03 - By Dennis Principe: SUBIC BAY, PHILIPPINES – Despite looming tax woes in the United States, contractual debate with promoter Murad Muhammad and an imminent tug-of-war owing to a salacious HBO television offer, it will be a Merry Christmas after all for Filipino world champion Manny Pacquiao.

This as the universally recognized Featherweight king Pacquiao revealed that his handlers have already finalized a deal that will earn for him a cool 1-million dollar purse by challenging reigning WBA/IBF champion Juan Manuel Marquez of Mexico in a 12-round title encounter tentatively set sometime in March. The 25-year old Pacquiao gave this disclosure the other night in an informal conversation while the General Santos City-native champion was attending the successful Philippine junior lightweight title defense of his younger brother Bobby Pacquiao versus Renato Inal at the Subic Sports Complex in Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

According to Pacquiao, he is scheduled to leave for the United States on December 26 to sign the dotted line and make official his 12-round championship match against Marquez.

Pacquiao will be accompanied by business manager Rod Nazario to formalize the deal with Top Rank Inc., the promotional outfit of Marquez.

“I’m now focusing on Marquez because he’s the one with the biggest offer for me right now at $1-million. It’s only a matter of signing the contract” divulged Pacquiao with obvious glee.

Pacquiao said he is expecting another tough outing versus Marquez, a wily 30-year-old veteran whose explosive record of 42-2, 33 via knockout earned for him the moniker “Dinamita”.

“it’s hard to be overconfident eventhough many believes the Marquez fight is much easier than the (Marco Antonio) Barrera match. I’ll just do my best and prepare myself well for this match” added Pacquiao.

Pacquiao may be facing tax problems after Nazario recently admitted that they still have to pay for taxes they incurred during the last four of Pacquiao’s five outings in the United States since 2001.

Nazario though assured that all the said payments are safely deposited in a US bank and that he has already hired an American accountant to settle their tax obligations.

The camp of the Filipino champion are also in a quandary as to whether to consider a television proposal with cable TV giant HBO that has reportedly dangled a juicy six-fight $25-million deal.

Pacquiao is already tied with Murad’s M&M Promotions after they agreed on a 2 ½ promotional contract worth 2.65 million dollars late last year.

Though Pacquiao defeated Barrera on November 16 in San Antonio, Texas, it was just hyped as a “People’s championship” and not officially sanctioned by any of the prestigious world boxing organizations such as the WBC, WBA or the IBF.

Defeating Marquez will cement Pacquiao’s claim as a legitimate world Featherweight champion and secure for him the distinction of being the first Asian boxer to win world titles in three different divisions.

Before annexing the IBF superbantamweight crown, Pacquiao reigned as WBC flyweight champion by crushing Thai world champion Chatchai Sasakul in the 8th round on December 4, 1998 in Bangkok, Thailand.

On the other hand, the Mexico City-born Marquez won the IBF belt by stopping compatriot and five-time world champion Manuel Medina in the 7th round February of this year in Las Vegas.

Marquez added the WBA tiara to his IBF belt when he scored a 7th round technical decision victory over American Derrick Gainer on November 1, 2003 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Article posted on 21.12.2003

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