Juan Manuel Marquez (56-7-1, 40 KOs) may be 42 years old but he has no interest in hanging his gloves up just yet. Marquez, a four-division world champion, aims to claim a world title in a fifth division before retiring.
“I would make two fights, one of preparation and retirement, and a good opponent; a champion looking for that fifth title,” said Marquez when speaking to ESPN Deportes.
A knee injury has plagued Marquez for some time and he has not been in action since he defeated Mike Alvarado in 2014 hence any return to the ring would need to be well planned.
So who are the potential opponents for Marquez?
There are plenty of options for a preparatory fight, especially in the welterweight division. As for a title fight, if Marquez can get himself ranked by the sanctioning bodies after such a long layoff then he could have some interesting options.
Should Kell Brook retain his IBF title then he would undoubtedly relish to opportunity to face someone like Marquez. It would be a great fight either in the UK or the US and could prove to be the perfect voluntary defence for Kell should he fail to secure a fight with Amir Khan. Unfortunately, for Marquez, such a fight may be a tough ask at this time in his career.
Should Thurman overcome Shaun Porter in March then a bout with the WBA champion could be an interesting, albeit tough, challenge for Marquez. However, Thurman seems very keen on unifying this year and it’s likely he will be gunning for the winner of Khan vs. Garcia II.
Arguably the best chance Marquez would have of winning a title at 147lbs would be against Danny Garcia. However, Garcia must first overcome Amir Khan in their rematch for the WBC title.
Marquez, who lost to Bradley via split decision in 2013 would see this as the perfect time to exact revenge on Bradley and snatch a fifth world title. Bradley, under the tutelage of Teddy Atlas, is claiming to be a new beast and should he overcome Pacquiao in their rubber match would prove to be a difficult task for an aging Marquez.
If Pacquiao can emerge victorious in his rubber match with Timothy Bradley then a fifth encounter with Marquez could be a big fight. Manny would love to get some payback for his 2012 loss to Marquez when he suffered a one-punch knockout loss in the sixth round. Such a match-up is definitely the pick of the bunch, however, Marquez will need to impress if he wants to tempt Pacquiao out of retirement after the Bradley fight.
It may not be a title fight but Hall of Fame trainer, Nacho Beristain, told ESPN Digital that he would love to see Marquez square off against Miguel Cotto. However, Marquez, who is trained by Beristain, would need to be in the best possible physical condition to overcome a much heavier, younger and durable opponent in Cotto.