MANILA, Philippines – It looks like the world’s most anticipated boxing match might actually take place in 2012.
While Manny Pacquiao will be up against Juan Manuel Marquez in November, his closest pound-for-pound rival, Floyd Mayweather Jr. will be put to a test against Victor Ortiz in September.
Sports Illustrated.com’s Chris Mannix said the two matches are perfect set-ups for a Pacquiao-Mayweather showdown next year.
“It sets up a May 2012 collision between two of boxing's best,” Mannix said in his column.
“These two have done this dance with each other for years but several industry insiders believe this is how it is being set up,” he added.
Mannix was referring to the endless series of negotiations between Pacquiao and Mayweather.
For the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight to remain interesting to fight fans, both boxers must post impressive victories over their respective opponents.
“Both have to win. A Pacquiao-Mayweather showdown loses a large chunk of its appeal if either fighter takes a loss this year,” said Mannix.
Mannix said Marquez will be a difficult assignment for Pacquiao. Mayweather faces a similar challenge in fighting Ortiz.
“Marquez is a nightmare matchup for Pacquiao, having fought him to a draw and a narrow decision loss in their previous two meetings,” he said.
“If Ortiz connects on the kind of shot Shane Mosley did in the second round of his fight with Mayweather last May, he has the power to close the show,” added Mannix.