MANILA, Philippines – If Hall of Fame boxing trainer Freddie Roach had his way, his prized ward, Filipino fight king Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao, would not be fighting his greatest rival, Mexican boxer Juan Manuel Marquez, for the fourth time on December 8.
In an interview with Boxing Scene, Roach revealed that Marquez was not his first or even second choice for Pacquiao.
"I wanted Pacquiao to face someone else," he said. "To me, Marquez was the third choice."
The first choice, Roach said, is the much-awaited mega-fight with unbeaten American superstar Floyd Mayweather Jr. But with Mayweather only having recently been released from jail, a December bout with Pacquiao was unlikely.
His second choice was a rematch with American boxer Timothy Bradley Jr., who controversially defeated Pacquiao last June in what was one of the most unpopular decisions in recent boxing history.
"I'd like to get that Bradley rematch out of the way and redeem ourselves there, and all we need to do is get two new judges," Roach said.
But Pacquiao has explained that he does not want a rematch with Bradley since he is convinced that he won their first encounter anyway.
"I picked Juan Manuel Marquez because it would be an exciting fight... If I chose Bradley, it would be another one-sided fight," Pacquiao explained to RingTV. "I don't think the fans wanted to see me fight Bradley again."
Roach, for his part, acknowledged that a fourth encounter with Marquez makes more business sense than a Bradley rematch.
Pacquiao and Marquez's trilogy bout last November 2011 generated more than a million pay-per-view buys, while Pacquiao's fight against Bradley generated less than a million, a disappointing figure for one of top box office draws in boxing.
"Bradley sold six tickets last time, and he'll sell less this time," Roach said. "That's about the size of his audience."
"That's why we are not fighting him – there's no business. There is no money in that fight," he added.
But Roach also knows that a fight with Marquez will be more difficult, and believes that they will need a knockout in order to win the fourth bout.
"We need a knockout to win. There's no way that we’re going to win a decision this time," he said.
Pacquiao and Marquez fought to a draw in 2004, and the Filipino champion won the 2008 and 2011 rematches with controversial decisions.