MANILA, Philippines - A prince in Dubai is reportedly putting up $15 million to lure Juan Manuel Marquez to fight World Boxing Federation junior welterweight champion Zolani Marali in the expensive city famous for its high-rise buildings and skyscrapers.
Mexican newspaper The Record said the unidentified prince has made a written offer for Marquez, who stunned the world with a big knockout win over Manny Pacquiao last Dec. 8, to face the South African champion in March.
But the plan may not really prosper, according to Marquezâ€™ chief trainer, Nacho Beristain, because the 39-year-old boxer has not been in training since winning the biggest fight of his life.
â€œI think that (March) is not enough time for Juan to fight, because he is usually prepared very well and he knows he cannot go into a fight with little preparation,â€ Beristain was quoted as saying.
â€œSo, I donâ€™t think anything will happen during that date,â€ he told Rene Umanzor of The Record.
However, Beristain said Marquez could be ready to fight by April. His promoter, Fernando Beltran of Zanfer, is working with Bob Arum of Top Rank for a Marquez fight on that month.
Arum is also trying to put up a Pacquiao comeback in April and theyâ€™re eyeing a venue outside of the United States like Macau, Singapore, Abu Dhabi or Dubai.
This early, there are calls for Pacquiao and Marquez to do a fifth fight in September.
Beristain said WBF president Howard Goldberg informed him of the written offer from Dubai.
â€œIt has a formal offer of $15 million (for Marquez) to fight in Dubai but Bob Arum and Fernando Beltran have the priority,â€ said the 72-year-old trainer of Mexican champions.
But even if nothing comes out of the Dubai offer, Marquez can and will certainly use it as a leverage in his negotiations for a fifth fight with Pacquiao.
The Mexican counterpuncher, who drew with and lost twice to Pacquiao in their first three meetings, was guaranteed $6 million for the fourth fight, and Pacquiao $23 million.
Marquez will ask for more this time, and may not settle for anything less than $10 million, especially if the prince in Dubai truly offered him $15 million for one fight.