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Manny Pacquiao Vs Juan Manuel Marquez: Unfinished Business – Part II


By Gina L. Caliboso

As I mentioned in my Lee vs. Martinez article, there is still a matter of “unfinished business.” When Marquez and Pacquiao finally meet for their coveted 3rd fight rubber match, I can only pray to the boxing gods that the fight will last longer than 3 rounds.

Oh, Pacquiao. Oh Marquez. Given the recent debacles with Hopkins and Mayweather, will someone, anyone please save my beloved sport of boxing? Pacquiao vs. Marquez. Let the drama unfold.

But, let’s get back to the sport (if we can call it that) of boxing. I still maintain my love for the sweet science. I’m loyal that way. In November, Marquez finally gets his rematch against Pacquiao and while it’s hardly a case of revenge for Marquez, it will put to rest, in his own mind, a final imprint of his career. It would be one thing to say that he had lost to Pacquiao once, but really, it’s a matter for him, for any boxer to say that he BEAT his opponent. I’m not talking beat as in Margarito beat. I’m talking about BEAT on all levels – left his opponent disheartened, took the fight away, fought 12 tough rounds and elevated his fight. To win by unanimous decision for any boxing fan’s taste, can be expected. But to beat – something entirely different. And, this is what Marquez must do. Marquez must beat Pacquiao.

Marquez and Pacquiao first fought one another back in 2004 – as featherweights. They each weighed in at 125 for the WBA Super World Featherweight and IBF Featherweight titles. Marquez went down 3 times in the first round. Marquez always gets his knockdowns early in his fights and then shakes it off so brilliantly that he actually fights better. This fight ended in a draw.

Four years later, the two fought for the WBA Super Featherweight title, which ended in a split decision loss for Marquez. I had to watch this fight again. And again. RSR might be hit hard with this, but it should have been a draw again. A split decision over 12 rounds is always suspect, but sometimes a fighter can be given a decision because he looks better shaking off power shots or recovered well during the course of the fight. But enough time has passed since this last fight. I watched the fight and it was so reminiscent of the first fight. It was a draw. I still disagree with Marquez that he won the fight – I don’t think he BEAT Pacquiao enough to get the decision.

Now, three years later, the two meet at welterweight at a catch weight of 144 pounds. The two fighters are older and have veered into different boxing paths. Since 2008, Pacquiao has been the cause célèbre of the boxing world. He has continued to get better and show his dominance over fighters who are noticeably bigger. But he still maintains an extremely high level of athleticism and skill. If you see his evolution as a fighter, he has been cultivated into the best pound for pound boxer. He is, what I consider, an active fighter. Pacquiao is the boxer that fighters want to fight or at least elevate their games to match his rise to the top.

By contrast, Marquez still maintained a presence in boxing and he still took fights. The one thing Marquez has over Pacquiao? Yup, he fought against “Money” Mayweather. Although he was obviously overmatched in this bout after Mayweather came back AGAIN from a respite of sorts and he came back to fight heavier, I give credit to Marquez for this bout. Marquez does show a level of fearlessness about his boxing career. He remains firm in his career. But similarly, he must settle in his own mind, the question mark of his two fights against Pacquiao. Marquez does counter well and given that Pacquiao can often lead chin first without his lead hand, he can catch Pacquiao.
At my martial arts school, a couple of my training partners had remarked that the only reason why people tune in to boxing is because of Pacquiao. I agree, with a sly smile, wholeheartedly, that Pacquiao has been the greatest draw in boxing of late. Anyone who follows the sweet science, however, manages to know that with as many weight divisions there are in boxing, there are one or two boxers in each weight class that stand out. Whether or not the elite boxers in any division decide to fight one another – completely different story.

As I pointed out, both Pacquiao and Marquez fought each other as featherweights and they are now going to fight one another – 20 pounds later. But the stakes are different now. As Pacquiao has a growing outside ring life, he has justifiably earned the right to retire as champion. But I argue that he has to fight Mayweather. It’s the only fight remaining for him right now. More importantly, it’s the only fight that could possibly redeem boxing right now. It is possible that Sergio Martinez – in his quest to be the most avoided middleweight fighter, may decide to lose even more weight and head all the way down to welterweight. Or Pacquiao can move up. I don’t foresee it. But I can guess that Martinez shouldn’t have a problem taking a fight if challenged. That’s a problem in boxing though. The #1 and #2 ranked boxers in a division have a sad case of ducking.

As for Marquez, I wish the Mexican fighter good wishes and luck. It’s about settling “unfinished business” with his last two results against Pacquaio. In fact, Marquez is most likely unsettled about how he can put to rest the weight that has been Pacquiao all these years. I’m hoping for a spectacular fight. I’m hoping for a good fight. Well, let’s just hope that it’s a clean good fight. It’s what boxing needs right now. It’s what the fans need more than anything. And given the recent bouts with boxing’s supposed best in Mayweather, Ortiz, Hopkins, and Dawson, I think the Pacquiao – Marquez:

Unfinished Business Part III will make an excellent ending regardless of the outcome.

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