IF FLOYD Mayweather Jr. is ducking Manny Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Marquez isn't.
Marquez reiterated his desire to fight the Filipino world champion following his dismantling of Juan Diaz in Las Vegas Saturday (Sunday in Manila) to retain his WBA and WBO lightweight crowns.
"It's good for all fight fans," Marquez said. "The Mexicans, the Filipinos, everyone wants to see it. That's the most important fight to me now. I'll be ready for November, and hopefully Pacquiao will take the fight."
Pacquiao, now a congressman representing the lone district of Sarangani, and Marquez figured in classic showdowns before. Their first meeting in 2004 ended in draw, but Pacquiao carved out a split-decision victory the next time they fought each other in 2008.
The 36-year-old Marquez methodically destroyed Diaz for 12 rounds in scoring a unanimous decision, although his eyes were swollen nearly shut at the end of the fight.
Marquez, who was decked four times by Pacquiao in their previous two encounters, still looked good against Diaz but his performance may not be good enough to lure promoters for third bout with the Filipino ring warrior.
Besides, Pacquiao and his handlers are currently negotiating for a date with Antonio Margarito on Nov. 13.
Bob Arum, Pacquio's promoter, had tried to seal a possible showdown between the Filipino and the unbeaten Mayweather Jr. but the American fighter had told journalists he isn't interested to fight Pacquiao at the moment.
Diaz has lost four of his last six fights, yet showed remarkable stamina and courage against one of boxing's most punishing fighters. The University of Houston graduate and aspiring lawyer was sharp again -- just not sharp enough to beat arguably the most accomplished Mexican fighter of his generation.
"I fought the best fight I could," Diaz said. "We were trading punches. We fought in, we fought out. I didn't stand in front of him. I wanted to get in there and then get out, but it was hard, and I got hit with a couple of good shots. I did the best I could. I followed the game plan, worked off my jab, but he's a great fighter. He was the better man."
Judge Jerry Roth favored Marquez 116-112, while Glenn Trowbridge scored it 118-110 and Patricia Morse Jarman had it 117-111. The Associated Press scored 10 rounds for Marquez, 118-110. (With a report from AP)