Filipino boxing sensation Manny Pacquiao is close to finalizing his next fight against Juan Manuel Marquez, after deciding against a rematch with welterweight Timothy Bradley.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the bout will take place on Dec. 8 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
It will be the fourth match between the two combatants, with the quick-hitting southpaw Pacquiao winning their last two matches and a draw in their first meeting. A press conference formally announcing the fight could take place as early as Tuesday.
In his last meeting with Marquez, Pacquio squeaked out a decision with the crowd booing as the scores were read, and the reaction clearly stayed with the 33-year-old Pacquiao.
"Manny is the consummate entertainer and showman who cares about his fans," Pacquiao manager Michael Koncz said to the LA Times. "He heard the boos after his last fight with Marquez. He has a lot of fans in Mexico and loves them. He wants to bring those fans back."
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Punch totals later showed Pacquiao landed more shots overall and more power punches.
Many thought Pacquiao's next fight would be a rematch against Bradley, who won a controversial decision for the WBO world welterweight title on June 9. Even after the loss was announced, Pacquiao remained calm, and later a committee reviewed the fight and said Pacquio should have been declared the victor.
The loss was only the fourth in Pacquiao's career and his first since 2005, when Erik Morales won a unanimous decision for the vacant WBC international and IBA super featherweight titles.
Pacquiao was unsure whether Marquez or Bradley would be his next opponent, but renowned promoter Bob Arum showed him the pay-per-view stats from his last fight with Marquez were nearly double the ratings.
Pacquiao, who won a Congressional seat in his native Philippines in 2010, typically exerts his ceaseless will and power on his opponents, but has had some trouble with Marquez's counterpunching abilities.
"I don't like that fight, it's just always very difficult and no matter what I tell Manny, he's tempted to go back to his old way, which isn't working," trainer Freddie Roach said. "I'm debating what to tell him. I'm thinking, just to be very aggressive the way Manny was when he knocked Marquez down three times in the first round of their first fight."