MANILA – Some boxing analysts believe a fifth fight between rivals Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez is all but inevitable at this point after the Mexican legend crushed Mike Alvarado in a non-title fight last weekend.
With his unanimous decision victory, Marquez became the mandatory contender for Pacquiao's World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight belt.
Marquez refused to immediately commit to a fifth Pacquiao fight so soon after his victory, but he also did not immediately dismiss the suggestion as he had done so before.
"First, I have to rest, be with my family, and then from there, we’ll see what comes," Marquez told reporters. "I think before I make a decision about whether or not I want this fifth fight, I have to think about it real good."
Boxing analysts Jim Lampley and Max Kellerman are quite confident that the fifth chapter of the Pacquiao-Marquez saga will be written, however.
"I think all roads lead to Marquez-Pacquiao V," Lampley told Fight Hype. "Monetarily, that's what makes sense."
Pacquiao has the better head-to-head record, winning two of their four encounters, but those victories came via disputed decisions. Marquez’s lone victory was definitive, as he brutally knocked out Pacquiao when they last fought in December 2012.
Lampley says Pacquiao's and Marquez's recent performances make another fight a compelling idea again, even if it will be the fifth meeting between the future Hall-of-Famers.
"Manny looked brilliant against (Timothy) Bradley, and I thought Marquez looked amazing tonight," said Lampley.
"I think there will be more interest in it that I might have thought would be the case, because both guys have looked brilliant in their recent performances," he added.
Kellerman, for his part, told Fight Hype in a separate interview that he believes boxing fans "will see that fight."
"Who knows, even when Marquez put his lights out, it was a really competitive fight up to that point," He added. "These guys are evenly matched, and they always have been."
Pacquiao has said that no plans have been made regarding his next fight, though he was complimentary of Marquez when asked about his rival's fight.
"Halos lahat ng rounds, sa kanya," said Pacquiao. -- With a report from Francis Canlas, ABS-CBN News SOKSARGEN.