In the aftermath of November’s disputed majority decision loss to WBO welterweight beltholder Manny Pacquiao, a bitterly disappointed WBA/WBO lightweight beltholder, Juan Manuel Marquez, stood at the podium during the post-fight press conference at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
It was the third fight between Marquez (53-6-1, 39 knockouts) and Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KOs), who had earlier battled to a draw and a split-decision win for Pacquiao in May of 2004 and March of 2008, respectively.
Although floored three times in the first round of their initial meeting, and once in the third round of their second, Marquez believes that he won all three fights against Pacquiao, hence, his bewilderment and utter dejection following their third.
So Marquez basically vowed that he had participated in the final fight of his illustrious career.
“I’m frustrated right now. Very frustrated. Honestly, I don’t know what I have to do to change the mind of the judges. I think I won this fight more clearly than the other two. I don’t know what happened. What do I need to do?” said Marquez.
“The best judge, for me, is the audience and they responded sensationally for me. I want the judge to score the fight the way it is happening. Everybody knows what happened. I think I won this fight more clearly. I really believe I need to drop him and they’d put him back up and give him the fight. It is the result of this fight that makes me think of retirement.”
But Marquez, 38, has decided to return to the ring on April 14, when he meets Ukrainian Sergei Fedchenko (30-1, 13 KOs) for the WBO’s interim junior welterweight belt from New Mexico City Arena in Mexico City as part of a split-site, pay per view card that is being produced by Top Rank and distributed by HBO Pay Per View.
Pacquiao, meanwhile, will defend his crown against RING No. 8-rated pound-for-pound and WBO junior welterweight titleholder Tim Bradley (28-0, 12 KOs) on June 9.
The Marquez-Fedchenko undercard will also feature RING No 1-rated lightweight Brandon Rios (29-0-1, 22 KOs) against Richard Abril (17-2-1, 8 KOs) from the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas for the vacant WBA lightweight belt that once belonged to Rios.
In victory over their opponents, Marquez and Rios could meet on July 14 at The Dallas Cowboys Stadium, according to Top Rank Inc. CEO Bob Arum.
Arum is among those who marvels at Marquez’s staying power.
“That impresses me because he’s a professional. He’s a true, true professional and a very smart man, and he knows what he’s about,” said Arum.
“He knows that all of the complaining once the judges have rendered their decision, doesn’t change the result. So now you pick yourself up, and you continue your career, and I sort of suspect that the best is yet to come in Juan Manuel’s career.”
But during a conference call on Wednesday, Marquez stated, repeatedly, just to make it clear, that Pacquiao is the main reason he returned to the sport.