Juan Manuel Marquez is going to the International Boxing Hall of Fame someday. The Mexican star has won titles in three divisions, been in numerous action-packed fights and faced the best of his era, including Manny Pacquiao in their famed trilogy. Even though Marquez officially is 0-2-1 against Pacquiao, he deserved a much better fate. In my view (and I covered all three fights), he should be 2-0-1. (I had Marquez winning the first two fights and drawing with Pacquiao in No. 3).
But here is Marquez, coming off an excellent performance against Pacquiao in a November majority decision loss, unable to land another major fight. It's as though the top fighters played a game of musical chairs and, when the music stopped, Marquez was the one left without a seat.
Right after the loss to Pacquiao, Top Rank's Bob Arum talked about an immediate fourth fight. But that ultimately went nowhere, and now Pacquiao is set to defend his welterweight title against junior welterweight titleholder Timothy Bradley Jr. on June 9.
The other fighter Marquez had been closely linked to for a potential bout was Lamont Peterson, who owns two junior welterweight belts. Arum talked about trying to make that fight and holding it at Cowboys Stadium outside of Dallas.
Alas, that big opportunity also fell by the wayside, because Peterson elected to give Amir Khan, from whom he won the belts in December, a rematch on May 19.
With both fights failing to materialize for Marquez -- who would fight at junior welterweight or welterweight -- it has left him looking for an alternative.
If he's only going to work with Mexican promoter Fernando Beltran and Top Rank, his options are a bit limited in terms of notable fights. Probably the most interesting match would be for him to face former lightweight titlist Brandon Rios, if Rios' proposed bout with Yuriorkis Gamboa doesn't come off. (It's being negotiated for April 14 on HBO and, from what I'm told, Rios is in, but there are still issues on the Gamboa side.)
Rios struggles to make lightweight -- he missed that weight for a December fight and was stripped of his belt -- and could certainly fight Marquez at 140 pounds. Marquez-Rios would be a matchup of the ultimate star veteran against a young, hungry, rising star.
If Marquez could work with Golden Boy -- his former promoter, whom he left in order to get the third Pacquiao fight -- he has more options. A summer fight with the winner of the Feb. 25 fight between Marcos Maidana and Devon Alexander would be an interesting option, especially if it turns out to be the all-action Maidana. A similarly interesting option might be to face the winner of the May 19 fight between Lucas Matthysse and Humberto Soto, although that would mean a much longer wait for Marquez.
If I had my way, Marquez would fight the winner of the March 24 bout between junior welterweight titlist Erik Morales and youngster Danny Garcia, especially if it's Morales.
I have wanted to see Morales-Marquez for about a decade, as have many. It would pit all-time great Mexican boxers and would undoubtedly be an exciting fight (one that would also probably do well on pay-per-view). But I also want to see it because it would complete a historic round-robin, as it's the only bout that has never happened among the great foursome of Marquez, Morales, Pacquiao and Marco Antonio Barrera, who have met 12 times between them. And if Garcia beats Morales, well, Garcia-Marquez would be another fine fight matching a star veteran against a young, exciting fighter.