Philippine boxing icon Manny Pacquiao and Mexican star Juan Manuel Marquez are to fight each other for a fifth time if both men win their next fight, promoters said.
Top Rank announced that the winner of a May 17 bout between Marquez and Mike Alvarado would be the mandatory title challenger for the winner of next month’s WBO welterweight title bout between Pacquiao and undefeated American Timothy Bradley.
That could set the stage for 35-year-old southpaw Pacquiao, 55-5 with two drawn and 38 knockouts, to meet 40-year-old Marquez, 55-7 with one drawn and 40 knockouts, yet again in a rivalry that dates to 2004.
Pacquiao fought a controversial featherweight draw with Marquez in 2004, beat the Mexican in a 2008 split decision for the WBC super featherweight crown and defended the WBO welterweight title with a 2011 majority decision.
However, Marquez took a measure of revenge in 2012, knocking out the Asian star in the sixth round.
For a chance to even the score in the rivalry with Pacquiao, Marquez would have to dispatch American Mike Alvarado, 34-2 with 23 knockouts, and “Pac-Man” would have to defeat US unbeaten Bradley, 31-0 with 12 knockouts.
Bradley won a controversial split decision over Pacquiao in 2012 to take the WBO welterweight crown and defended it in October last year with a split-decision victory over Marquez.
Alvarado is coming off a loss to Russian Ruslan Provodnikov in October last year that cost him the WBO light welterweight title.
“Marquez has always been on our radar, & he is the one we always wanted to fight,” Alvarado trainer Henry Delgado said in a Twitter posting. “What a fight with such a reward — to fight the winner of Pacquiao vs Bradley.”