Earlier today news broke that Juan Manuel Marquez has decided to continue his boxing career after all. Almost two months after his spectacular knockout performance over former pound for pound champ Manny Pacquiao there was a huge question mark as to whether or not Marquez would continue his boxing career. Before his fourth bout with Manny Pacquiao, Marquez was leaning towards retiring, especially if he won. It appears now that Marquez has had a change of heart.
The big question now is simple, who's next? Marquez has reportedly advised his team to look for a opponent. It's expected that his return fight would be in May or June, which would add another sensational boxing event to the already stacked months of April and May. But with tons of fighters already committed to dates over the next few months it may be hard for Marquez to find a opponent. The biggest fight is yet another match with long time rival Manny Pacquiao. While the fight is bound to happen, it's likely that it won't take place until September according to promoter Bob Arum. Pacquiao himself has expressed interest in fighting again in April but it looks as though his team has convinced him to sit out until September. With that fight on hold, Marquez is likely to more forward with a bout in between.
One person that many people have expressed interest in lately is WBC lightweight champion Adrien Broner. Assuming Marquez doesn't want a tune up fight, in which Jessie Vargas has been previously mentioned, Broner may be the best candidate available. Broner has a fight scheduled against Gavin Rees on Feburary 16th. If he wins, he would most likely be available. He has expressed interest in getting the biggest fights out there and is willing to move up to 140. This may be a stretch, but it's a stretch that everyone would love to see.
With Adrien Broner being a long shot, the fight that is most likely to come together is Juan Manuel Marquez vs Timothy Bradley. Bradley hasn't fought since his controversial win over Manny Pacquiao. Rumor has it he's been looking to get back into the ring and looking for a opponent. This would be the easiest fight for Bob Arum to make, and it would solve the issue that he's been having of getting Bradley back into the ring against a big name. This fight would demand a good amount of viewers considering that both of their recent fights were victories over Pacquiao. (Obviously debatable for Bradley) If this was Vegas, and money had to be put on the table, I'd be placing my bet with Marquez-Bradley.
There are other fighters available. Marcos Maidana, the winner of Devon Alexander-Kell Brook, and dare I say the hard-hitting ever so dangerous Lucas Matthysse. All of these matches are intriguing despite the risks they pose to Marquez. However Marquez is close to the end of his career, and taking risks isn't something that he has been known to be afraid of. Assuming he wants the best fights out there to end his career, a tune up seems less likely. No matter who the opponent, one thing we can all be certain of is that Marquez always comes to fight and is one of the most exciting boxers in the sport today. His next fight will surely be a thriller to watch.