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boxing:

Juan Manuel Marquez close to deal to face Manny Pacquiao Nov. 12 in Las Vegas

Last hurdle is getting approval from Golden Boy Promotions, which has Marquez under contract until March

Image

Steve Marcus

Juan Manuel Marquez (left) and Manny Pacquiao pose for a photo after weighing in for their 2008 bout. Pacquiao won by a split decision as part of his 14 fight winning streak. A deal has nearly been finalized for a third fight between the two.

Main Event: Pacquiao vs. Mosley

Shane Mosley punches at Manny Pacquiao during their WBO welterweight title fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 7, 2011. Launch slideshow »

It’s not Floyd Mayweather Jr., but Manny Pacquiao’s next boxing opponent is arguably the next best thing.

Juan Manuel Marquez on Tuesday reportedly agreed to a deal to fight Pacquiao Nov. 12 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, getting one more chance to defeat boxing’s undisputed pound-for-pound champion.

They fought to a draw in 2004 and Pacquiao won a split decision in 2008 — two fights that could have easily been scored in favor of Marquez.

Officials for Top Rank, which promotes Pacquiao, meet with Marquez Tuesday in the Los Angeles area to hammer out details. Marquez is under contract with Golden Boy Promotions, meaning the deal is contingent on Golden Boy representatives agreeing to pass on providing him a fight. Golden Boy representatives have told multiple news organizations they aren’t commenting until next week, but it’s unlikely they will match the offer.

The fight will be contested at the catch weight of 144 pounds and likely be for Pacquiao’s WBO welterweight title. Marquez will earn a reported $5 million.

The Filipino superstar Pacquiao (54-3-2), who May 7 easily outpointed Shane Mosley for an unanimous decision victory, is riding a 14-match winning streak dating back to 2005.

While a battle with the undefeated Mayweather has never materialized, facing Marquez is an attractive alternative. Fans were vocal in their displeasure during the Mosley bout, where Pacquiao’s dominance was partially credited to Mosley being past his prime and not interested in exchanging blows.

Pacquiao shouldn’t have that problem with the veteran Marquez (52-5-1), who has won eight world titles in three separate weight classes and is known for his speed, precision punching power and unorthodox counter-punching style. It’s a style that has given Pacquiao problems in the past.

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