Tonight marks the fourth time that Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez step into the ring to fight each other. The first three fights were extremely close, competitive fights. The first fight back in 2008 was ruled a split decision. It later turned out that one of the judges screwed up and didn’t properly score the first round in which Pacquiao knocked Marquez down three times. Despite appeal hopes from the Pacquiao camp, the score was never changed and it remained a split decision.
While the first fight was known for Marquez rebounding after being knocked three times in the first round, the second fight was an absolute brawl form the start. Both guys kicked the shit out of each other and a Pacquiao knockdown of Marquez turned out to be the difference. Pacquiao won on a split decision, but Marquez’ camp felt like they were screwed by the judges.
The third fight had its scoring controversy just like the first two. Pacquiao won by majority decision even though he didn’t dominate the fight. (Pacquiao was having issues with his wife at the time and wasn’t mentally into the fight as much as he wanted to be.) Pacquiao had become the bigger start at that point in the two fighters’ careers, so the perception that he was better worked in his favor. Marquez was in the position where he had to clearly win rounds in a convincing style. That wasn’t easy for him to do against an opponent who was seeing him for a third time and knew his style of fighting. Marquez may not have deserved a win, but he earned enough to receive another split decision. Instead he took the final round off and Pacquiao walked away with his second win of the series.
Pacquiao dominated Timothy Bradley in the summer only to see Bradley win on a split decision. It was one of the worst decisions I’ve ever witnessed in boxing history, but at this point it’s water under the bridge. For some reason Pacquiao decided not to avenge his defeat to Bradley, but to take on Marquez again. It was an odd decision given that we’ve seen these fight multiple times already and Pacquiao had elevated himself to one of the major stars in the business, capable of bringing in an elite purse for his work in the ring.
Marquez wants a piece of Pacquiao again because he is looking for respect. He feels he should’ve won three of the fights, let alone one of them. He’ll have to fight more aggressively than he ever has if he wants to make the impression that he’s won the fight. It’s in his best interest to win convincingly because a close fight might once again doom his fate. Pacquiao is tired of hearing that Marquez should’ve caught a break in one of their previous fights and he’s looking to shut Marquez up. He knows he needs to knock Marquez out to settle this feud once and for all.
Boxing fans may be frustrated that it’s come to this point, a fourth fight. They were hoping Pacquiao had moved on to the point where Floyd Mayweather Jr. was too embarrassed not to fight him. Instead we’re here, tuning into pay-per-view tonight for this again. It probably won’t be the best looking fight you’ve ever seen because these two know each other’s strengths and weaknesses so well after 36 rounds in the ring together. But it will be a fight nonetheless and the bell is about to ring. I’ll take Pacquiao in another decision. Who you got?