LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - The immediate prospect of a long awaited mega-fight between American Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao seemed to recede after the Filipino’s controversial majority decision over Juan Manuel Marquez at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Pacquiao had been widely expected to win his third fight against the Mexican in convincing style but the nail-biting outcome, ruled by one of the three judges as a draw, persuaded his trainer to consider a fourth meeting between the fighters.
Freddie Roach, a shrewd tactician who has been uncannily accurate with his fight predictions, had forecast a Pacquiao victory well inside the distance on Saturday and he was amazed to be so far off the mark.
“I was very surprised,” Pacquiao’s trainer said. “I had predicted my fighter would win in six rounds and I was way off. It was a very competitive fight and it could have gone either way.
“I thought Manny edged it out in the last two rounds. It was the kind of fight I don’t want to do again but I think we have to.
“He (Marquez) has given us problems three times now and he is very good at what he does. I do think he deserves a re-match first.”
Pacquiao, who clinched his 15th successive win by beating Marquez on Saturday, was happy to take on the Mexican for a fourth time while he also laid down the gauntlet to Mayweather.
Asked if he would consider a fourth bout with Marquez, the Filipino southpaw replied: “Any time, any time. I am a fighter and my job is to fight in the ring.”
As for Mayweather, he said: “Well, let’s get it on. Make the fight happen and let’s give the people a good fight.”
A duel between the defense-minded Mayweather and the aggressive Pacquiao, the two biggest drawcards of their generation, would decide the mythical title of the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter.
Five-division world champion Mayweather had been expected to meet Pacquiao last year until negotiations collapsed over the American’s demand for random drug testing.
American Shane Mosley then stepped in to take the Filipino’s place but he was outclassed by Mayweather in a non-title welterweight bout.
Mayweather improved his perfect professional record to 42-0 by claiming the WBC welterweight title from compatriot Victor Ortiz in September and Roach has long eyed the chance for Pacquiao to take on the unbeaten American.
“I hope that fight does happen,” the bespectacled Roach told Reuters. “I think it would be the best fight in the world and I would love to see it.
“Mayweather is a very good defensive fighter and he’s a very good counter puncher. It’s not an easy fight, I know that, but I look forward to challenges and he is the biggest challenge out there for us.”
Marquez, who was outclassed by Mayweather over 12 rounds in a non-title welterweight bout two years ago, felt Pacquiao would struggle against the American.
“Commercially speaking it would be a huge fight but boxing is about styles and the style of Mayweather will get very complicated for Pacquiao,” the Mexican said.
Pacquiao, however, has won world titles in an unprecedented eight weight divisions to cement his status in the eyes of many as the best pound-for-pound boxer.
Editing by Rex Gowar