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After two controversial fights, the hatchet is yet to be buried between Filipino pugilistic icon Manny Pacquiao and Mexican ring warrior Juan Manuel Marquez. Both men navigated different career paths after their second clash, Pacquiao ruling the welterweight class (141-147 lbs) and Marquez, on the other hand, is dominating the lightweight (131-135 lbs) landscape. Both men became the toast of their respective divisions.

Pacquiao went on to become the top boxer of this generation, an acknowledgement that is arguably shared with Floyd Mayweather, Jr, also a top class welterweight fighter. While a fight between the two would surely settle any debates as to who is the best, it is something that is not going to happen anytime soon.

Possible Pacquiao opponents have been lined up and topping the list is Marquez, who is scheduled to fight David Diaz in July for the WBO and WBA lightweight titles. Marquez already accepted a $5-million deal by Top Rank to fight Pacquiao in November. While some rejoiced at the possibility of a Pacquiao-Marquez trilogy, others could only roll their eyes and let out a sigh of exasperation.

Gary Andrew Poole, boxing correspondent and author of Pacquiao autobiography PacMan, felt that it is high time that the Filipino boxer should revamp his choice of opponents.

“Pacquiao needs to fight younger guys,” Poole told this writer.

The same idea is mirrored by James “Smitty” Smith, a former professional boxer who is currently a boxing analyst and host of In This Corner boxing show.

“Tim Bradley. He at least would apply constant pressure, and he is young,” Smitty said when asked who would be the best opponent for Pacquiao aside from Mayweather.

But for Joe Quiambao, a former Golden Gloves champion and a matchmaker for Dibella Entertainment, a Pacquiao-Marquez trilogy is the best move for Pacquiao at this stage of his career. The Filipino-American matchmaker describes the match as the “best fight to sell to the public.”

Quiambao, who is working with WBC middleweight champion Sergio Martinez, argued that Pacquiao fighting young guns such as Bradley and newly crowned WBC welterweight champion Victor Ortiz would not generate the interest or the money that a bout with Marquez can.

"I think we have seen the best of the Pacquiao-Marquez series," says boxing analyst James Smith.

“Those are good fights and both are good fighters. But neither Bradley nor Ortiz has a strong following. The reason why the Joshua Clottey fight generated big numbers is because it was held in Cowboys Stadium. It was the first boxing match held there and it was new,” explained Quiambao.

Pacquiao fought Clottey in March 2010 and attracted more than 55,000 spectators. In November of the same year, Pacquiao battled Antonio Margarito in the same venue yet the audience headcount did not reach 50,000.  Margarito is more popular and recognizable than Clottey.

Should the Pacquiao-Marquez fight push through, Quiambao believes that it would be a very competitive matchup, even at welterweight.

“Marquez works best with fighters who come to him. If he fought an aggressive fighter like a Ricky Hatton at welter, he would have looked like a million dollars.

“i just think Pacquiao has elevated his game since the last time they fought,” Quiambao added.

For Smitty, it is the other way around.

“I think we have seen the best of that series. I think Manny has gotten bigger and even better and Marquez is slightly on the decline,” Smitty told this writer. “I really don’t see it being nearly as competitive as their first two fights.

“Marquez would be the gallant warrior that he is. But Manny would break him down and stop him in about nine rounds. Manny is not stopping the bigger guys like Clottely, Margarito and Mosley but I think he would be able to get Marquez out of there.”

Photo credits: FightNews.com, BoxRec.com

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Kenneth P. Ragpala is an award-winning sports blogger who has been covering the sport of boxing since 2008. His works have appeared in local newspapers in his home city in Cagayan de Oro and in several online publications abroad. Ragpala has written for several boxing websites, namely Fight Hype, 8 Count News, and Bleacher Report.