It appears boxing star Manny Pacquiao is set to meet Juan Manuel Marquez… (Gabriel Bouys / AFP/Getty…)
Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez, heroes in their boxing-rabid home countries and world champions who have staged two prior classics in the ring, took a significant step toward their trilogy Tuesday.
Mexico's Marquez has verbally agreed to all the key points of a contract that guarantees $5 million and secures a catch-weight limit of 144 pounds for an expected pay-per-view welterweight title bout against Filipino superstar Pacquiao to be fought Nov. 12 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank told The Times.
Marquez and his attorney spent Tuesday reviewing the contract at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Top Rank President Todd duBoef said, and a signing was expected by Wednesday.
Pacquiao's U.S. business advisor Michael Koncz met with Arum on Tuesday night, with Arum saying his star fighter will likely sign his deal by the end of the month in the Philippines.
Arum said he met Monday in Los Angeles with Marquez's promoter Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy Promotions "on various issues," and "they [Golden Boy] released their objections … we have to adjust certain things. I'm not permitted to go into details."
Top Rank and Golden Boy have been locked in a bitter rivalry over a two-year span during which the companies haven't staged a fight together.
Arum said Monday's meeting ended "in a burst of goodwill, with handshakes," and added he expects the promoters to renew working together in the future. Pacquiao-Marquez will be promoted by Top Rank.
The Pacquiao bout's guarantee and pay-per-view "upside," along with a Top Rank guarantee of $10 million for a rematch if Marquez wins in November, was a steep fee to match.
Schaefer declined to comment about the Marquez situation Tuesday.
Marquez, who will turn 38 in August, has longed for this legacy fight.
In 2004, Marquez (52-5-1, 38 knockouts) recovered from three first-round knockdowns to rally and score a draw against Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 KOs). In 2008, they fought to a super-featherweight split-decision Pacquiao won, thanks to judge Tom Miller's 114-113 scorecard.
Marquez last defended his lightweight belt in November, and he's scheduled a July 2 tune-up bout in Mexico City against former lightweight champion David Diaz of Chicago.