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After the fight, Marquez said he’d like to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr., who was rated the No. 1 fighter in the world when he unexpectedly retired in June. Mayweather has a large tax debt and is widely expected to return, though it’s not likely he’d have much interest in fighting Marquez.
Promoter Oscar De La Hoya said he fully expected Mayweather to return and said he’d work to arrange a Mayweather-Marquez fight or a Mayweather-Shane Mosley match. But he took a little jab at the man who defeated him in 2007 and said he doubted Mayweather would be up to the challenge.
“He will be back, absolutely,” De La Hoya said of Mayweather. “He will be back. If he wants to fight a Shane Mosley or a Juan Manuel Marquez, or any of our other fighters, they’re right here waiting for him.
“Juan Manuel is a dangerous, dangerous fighter for Mayweather, and I don’t see him taking it because he is so dangerous. Just like he won’t take Mosley. Absolutely, I have no doubt he is [looking for safe fights].”
The ring wasn’t a safe place to be Saturday, which hasn’t always been the case in recent years. But executives at HBO, which televises the lion’s share of the sport’s major matches, insist they no longer are interested in giving stars easy victories.
About eight hours before the broadcast kicked off on Saturday, HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg said he had learned his lesson and that the company was going to insist that the promoters provide only quality, competitive matches.
“We’re standing firm,” said Greenburg, who has come under heavy media attack in recent years because of the large number of mismatches that have appeared on the network.
But all three HBO shows in 2009 have been compelling, and next week’s “Boxing After Dark” show in San Jose, Calif., headlined by James Kirkland and Joel Julio, is another quality card.
Marquez, one of the most entertaining fighters of his generation, said he’s happy to oblige with those kinds of shows.
“I only want to fight the best guys,” Marquez said. “Mayweather, [Ricky] Hatton, [Manny] Pacquiao, whoever it is, those are the fights I want. These are the kinds of fights the people want. You heard them tonight. These are the kinds of fights we should give them.”
Greenburg might win Man of the Year if he can fill the final 10 months of the year with the kinds of shows HBO has aired already. And if Diaz keeps fighting the way he has, he may yet fulfill his dream of getting elected to a political office.
Marquez may not win any elections or popularity contests, but all he does is put on compelling shows and, more often than not, comes out on top.
He said he wants to fight at least two more times in 2009, if not more, which is only great news for the sport.
It’s looking like 2009 is going to be the sport’s best year in a long time.