HOLLYWOOD— Chances are Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr. won’t happen in the near future.
With Pacquiao’s harrowing knockout loss to Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez here Saturday night (Sunday in Manila), the Filipino ring superstar not only lost his bargaining clout for a much-anticipated showdown with the unbeaten American, he also needs to whip himself into shape for his next outing.
And getting back at Marquez is Pacquiao’s priority now if the Mexican, who will turn 40 next year, agrees to a fifth bout where he is expected to get a bigger payday than the guaranteed $6 million for Pacquiao-Marquez IV.
Although Pacquiao, who was guaranteed $25 million, said he wants to fight again in April, his trainer Freddie Roach believes the Filipino should not rush things up.
According to the five-time Trainer of the Year, the priority is for his prized ward to take a complete rest for six months.
Roach said during the postfight press conference he would wait for a medical report on Pacquiao’s condition so he would know where to proceed.
He said he also needed to confer with Pacquiao to find out what his future plans were.
Pacquiao is committed to fighting into 2013 but not after that.
He could also fight Tim Bradley, who beat Pacquiao earlier this year. Or he could get lucky and seal a showdown with Mayweather who might now be willing to step up to the plate if he feels Pacquiao’s skills are deteriorating.
While Pacquiao claimed he was in one of the best shapes of his career, Marquez, who trained earlier and longer, showed the Filipino champ, at 33, was not as tough as before.
Marquez knocked down Pacquiao in the third round with a looping right shot to the face which the Filipino used to shrug off in the past.
Pacquiao did come back with fury in the fifth round and bloodied Marquez’s face. He was actually going for the kill when the Mexican nailed him with a right straight that sent him to Dreamland, face down, with a second left in the third round.
Pacquiao did not attend the post fight news conference after suffering his second consecutive loss for the first time in his career. He was taken to a nearby hospital as a “precaution,” said his camp.
He was treated and released after spending an hour getting checked by doctors.
What bigger guys like Antonio Margarito, Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosley, Miguel Cotto and Joshua Clottey failed to do, Marquez accomplished.
The worse scenario Team Pacquiao was bracing for was a close fight, with the officials tending to be sympathetic to Marquez.
Instead, Filipinos and boxing fans all over the world got the shock of their lives.
Pacquiao said he would be back to fight again.
But it is not that simple, boxing analysts said.
He will need ample rest, an impressive victory on his next bout to recover lost ground.
But the probability of a projected $200-million showdown with Mayweather is out of sight, at the moment, the same analysts said.
On the horizon is a fifth bout with Marquez or, maybe, a battle with rising star Brandon Rios.
The record for the longest rivalry in the sport is the six fights between Sugar Ray Robinson and Jake LaMotta in 1942-1951. Gene Tunney and Harry Grebb fought five times between 1922 and 1925. With reports from AFP