Las Vegas – Manny Pacquiao says he welcomes another fight with Juan Manuel Marquez, one that would put them into an elite class of boxing champions who have met five times in the ring.
“I am going to rest and come back to fight,” said Pacquiao, whose face was swollen and red after getting knocked out Saturday by Marquez in the fourth installment of their epic boxing rivalry.
Asked in the ring after the fight if he would fight Marquez again, Pacquiao replied, “I would go for a fifth.”
Marquez registered an emphatic victory by rallying to floor Pacquiao with a thundering right hand with just one second remaining in the sixth round at the sold out MGM Grand Garden arena.
Mexico's Marquez was non-committal when asked if wanted to face Pacquiao again.
“Right now in my future I don't know what is coming but I am going to rest and I am going to celebrate with my family and my friends in Mexico,” Marquez said.
“I am just thinking of the celebration rather than who I am going to fight next.”
Gene Tunney and Harry Greb fought five times between 1922 and 1925 and Sugar Ray Robinson and Jake LaMotta had six fights between 1942-1951.
Filipino Pacquiao lost the non-title welterweight bout in stunning fashion despite throwing 256 total punches to 246 for Marquez.
Pacquiao connected on 94 punches, almost twice as many as Marquez who connected on 52 punches.
The two have now fought 42 total rounds over four fights, spanning eight years. Pacquiao still leads their rivalry 2-1-1.
But neither is getting any younger. Pacquiao, who earned about $25 million, turns 34 on December 17 and Marquez is 39. Marquez collected about $5 million.
A fifth fight is still a long way off. Earlier in the week Pacquiao said he wouldn't go for a fifth fight and his trainer Freddie Roach said if Pac-Man lost this fight he would sit him down and tell him to think about retirement.
Marquez, who survived a fifth round knocked down and fought with a broken nose for the last few rounds, would certainly command a higher price if he were to agree to a fifth fight.
Pacquiao said Marquez deserved the win and that he had no regrets about going for the knockout even though it probably cost him the victory.
All three judges, John Keane, Steve Weisfeld and Adalaide Byrd, had Pacquiao ahead by a point on their scorecards.
“I want to congratulate Juan Manuel,” Pacquiao said. “I have no excuses. It was a good fight and he deserved the victory.
“I think boxing fans who watched us were winners too.
“I would like to thank you for your prayers and assure you that I am fine. I am looking forward to a nice rest and then I will be back to fight.”
Pacquiao is committed to fighting into 2013 but not after that. He could also fight Tim Bradley, who beat Pacquiao earlier this year. Or he could look to Floyd Mayweather who might now be willing to step up to the plate if he feels Pacquiao's skills are deteriorating.
Pacquiao did not attend the post fight news conference after suffering his second consecutive loss for the first time in his career. He was taken to a nearby hospital as a “precaution”, said his camp. He was treated and released after spending an hour getting checked by doctors.
Pacquiao then returned to his Las Vegas hotel where he watched a replay of the fight, joking to the others in the room, “Spoiler alert. I don't think you are going to like how this ends.” – Sapa-AFP