|Originally posted at Fight News
With all eyes on a spectacular night of fighting that saw Andre Berto and Juan Manuel Marquez dominate their respective opponents, speculation on who would be the next of the two men to face Manny Pacquiao dominated post fight conversation.
Coming off a potential Fight Of The Year performance that saw the headliner stop Michael Katsidis in the ninth frame, Juan Manuel Marquez had few words to say about a third fight with Manny Pacquiao.
However, the cotton fabric on Marquez’ lime green shirt told the tale. On the front, a bold statement: “Marquez Beat Pacquiao Twice” with the back saying “Pacquiao Your [sic] Next.”
When Marquez did speak directly on a fight with Pacquiao, he didn’t mince words.
“I know there’s other fighters out there that deserve to fight me,” Marquez said with the enthusiasm of a new lotto winner. “But without a doubt, I deserve a third fight with Manny Pacquiao, but he keeps coming up with excuses.”
Rumors of Pacquaio not taking a fight with Marquez at a catch weight floating around, Marquez, soundly dismissed the idea that a third fight take place at 147 pounds as an excuse.
“I’m sure he can make [a lower weight] unless he’s scared,” Marquez said.
As the night wore on, Marquez became more bold in calling out Pacquiao, questioning the caliber of fighters the welterweight has faced in recent competition.
“He fought [Joshua] Clottey, the African fighter that didn’t throw punches; he fought [Miguel] Cotto that had been knocked out by [Antonio] Margarito and he fought Margarito who had been suspended for one year and took a beating.”
Marquez’ message remains loud and clear: “I want to fight Pacquiao for the third fight.”
Berto: I can keep up with Pacquiao
Undefeated WBC welterweight champion staked his claim on a fight with Pac-Man with a remarkable first round knockout of Freddy Hernandez.
With several members of Team Berto in tow, the champion made his case without calling out Pacquiao by name.
“I trained for this fight like I was getting ready for a huge fight,” a jubilant Berto explained. “I fought an opponent that wanted to take the challenge. I called out everybody but Hernandez was the guy that stepped up. We handled business. I’m looking forward to 2011—I believe it’s going to be a breakthrough year. I’m young, I’m hungry and I’m looking forward to a lot of the big fights that the people want.”
The Miami fighter stopped short of calling out the Filipino wrecking machine directly, insisting he’s ready for whatever challenge comes his way.
“At the end of the day, I’m only 27,” he explained, perhaps tempering expectations for a big fight with Pacquaio. “We have a lot of other options. We have [Shane] Mosley and [Miguel] Cotto out there. Whoever my team decides to line up next.”
Despite having multiple options, Berto is confident that he matches up well with the man many consider to be the world’s best fighter. “I think Manny has a lot of speed. I think he’s fought a lot of guys that stood in front of him really flat footed and he takes advantage. I think it’s a handful of guys that can keep up with him. Guys like myself, Mosley and Mayweather. I think I bring youth to the table—I’m young, vibrant, strong and fast.”
Berto’s hesitance to openly campaign for the fight didn’t stop his promoter, Lou DiBella from saying his client is a better fit than a third meeting between Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez.
“I take nothing away from Marquez, but at 147, that’s not a fair fight,” DiBella said, citing the size difference between Marquez and Pacquiao. “If Manny Pacquiao’s going to stay at welterweight, then he should fight some fresh young blood.”