Jon Saraceno, USA TODAY Sports
LAS VEGAS - Someone say, "Pacquiao-Marquez V"?
Lots of folks are, including 50 Cent. "I don't know about the rest of you guys, but I'd like to see them do it again," said the hip-hop star, now a boxing promoter. "I'm still in shock."
So was much of the world after Juan Manuel Marquez's dramatic and devastating one-punch knockout of Manny Pacquiao guaranteed the bout as a fight of the year candidate.
"Yes, I would like to fight him again," Pacquiao told USA TODAY Sports on Sunday from his hotel suite overlooking the Strip. "It depends upon Bob Arum."
Arum, CEO of Top Rank promotions, immediately pounded the promotional drums for a fourth rematch after the bout. But Mike Koncz, Pacquiao's adviser, told USA TODAY Sports he was in no hurry to cut a deal after his fighter re-established his box-office appeal. "It depends upon negotiations," Koncz said, adding Pacquiao could fight Brandon Rios if Arum doesn't make an acceptable offer.
A potential fifth fight, which could be held in April, is marketable for Top Rank and HBO pay-per-view because of the wild toe-to-toe action in Pacquiao-Marquez IV.
"There's nothing to sell again - it's bigger by a multiple factor," Top Rank President Todd DuBoef told USA TODAY Sports on Sunday. "I've had people from all over the world say, 'I've got to see it again.'"
Despite being drilled to the canvas with one second left in the sixth round, Pacquiao re-energized his career with the defeat after louder-than-whisper doubts that he was frayed at the edges. Additionally, the latest outcome was the most thrilling in the fighters' three previous ring encounters.
"They thought the old Manny Pacquiao was gone," said Pacquiao, who played chess until early Sunday morning after making the wrong move in the ring and being checkmated by the sharp counterpuncher. "They saw differently last night."
Marquez was far more circumspect. But there is little doubt that a fifth fight against his longtime adversary is his most financially lucrative bout. At 39, it probably does not make fistic financial sense to challenge welterweight champion Timothy Bradley, who upset Pacquiao with a debated split-decision win in June.
"I don't know what's next," Marquez said. "I am going home to rest and celebrate with my family and friends in Mexico. I am thinking more about celebrating than I am who I will fight next."
Pressed about whether he is receptive for a fifth meeting with his archrival, Marquez refused to be cornered. "Right now, I am not thinking about any fight," he said.
At this juncture, any potential discussion of either man fighting unbeaten welterweight king Floyd Mayweather Jr. appears to be an afterthought. There is no indication that the champion in self-imposed boxing exile wants to fight either man anytime soon.
A potential Marquez-Mayweather fight is not a crowd-pleaser because of their largely defensive-oriented styles. Al Haymon, Mayweather's chief adviser, did not return a call Sunday from USA TODAY Sports.
Pacquiao-Marquez V appears to make the most sense for the principal parties, if they can agree on all the particulars, including purse and site.
Koncz said he would prefer a fifth bout be held outside the USA because of tax implications, which he expects to be at a rate of 42% next year. He wants to explore venues in Mexico, Singapore and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
Arum prefers to host fights in Las Vegas, where the supply-demand equation means he can charge more for tickets, even if he sells fewer. The average cost of a ticket for Pacquiao-Marquez IV was nearly $700.
"Manny has a tremendous following in Mexico. I'm sure (Arum) is not going to be happy about that, but we have a co-promotional contract," Koncz said. "One side can override the other, providing it is in the best interests of the promotion."