Chapter five in the Manny Pacquiao v Juan Manuel Marquez series - mooted for November 23 in Macau - is not yet a done deal, but should be wrapped up by the end of June, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said yesterday.
Arum, who was speaking at a press conference for tomorrow's Featherweight Fury bill at Venetian's CotaiArena, said Marquez was one of the "preferred opponents" Pacquiao would face if the Filipino superstar was to return to Macau after his phenomenal success in last November's Clash In Cotai when he defeated American Brandon Rios.
Organisers have had to change the dates for the proposed fight twice already after it was learned that singing star Celine Dion had a concert at the CotaiArena on November 8. Arum had also tried to set November 15 as the date but a UFC pay-per-view event had booked the venue the same day.
Arum said he would have a clearer picture as to whether they would sign Marquez when the 40-year-old Mexican, who knocked out Pacquiao in six rounds in December 2012 in their last encounter, attends next Saturday's middleweight World Boxing Council title fight between Puerto Rico's Miguel Cotto and Argentinian hero Sergio Martinez at Madison Square Garden in New York.
"Marquez is coming to New York for the fight so at that point I will be able to talk with him and see what his plans are," said Arum.
Marquez, who is coming off a victory against American Mike Alvarado recently, is still undecided as to whether he will fight Pacquiao a fifth time. Pacquiao's record against Marquez is 2-1-1.
So far the Marquez-Pacquiao fight has been opposed by Marquez's trainer, Nacho Beristain, who says his protégé has nothing to prove.
Arum has confirmed that Argentinian star, Luis Carlos Abregu, Britain's Amir Khan and Russia's Ruslan Provodnikov were also possible opponents for Pacquiao, who recently signed an extended two-year contract with Top Rank that will probably see his career wind up in 2016.