A third fight with nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez (52-5-1, 38 KOs) at welterweight is a potential firecracker for eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 KOs). But can the Mexican dynamite, as great as he is as the reigning and undisputed lightweight king, keep up with the Pacman at a level where he is virtually ineffective?
News of Marquez okaying Top Rank boss Bob Arum’s offer to fight Pacquiao in November for $5 million spread like wildfire in the boxing world. And unsurprisingly, many raised their eyebrows on the possible matchup between two legends who both got beef against the other. Pacquiao and Marquez already fought twice, with their first match ending in a controversial draw (May 2004) and Pacquiao edging the Mexican in a highly contested split decision in their second meeting (March 2008).
While many clamored for a third fight between the two, Pacquiao decided to move on to higher weight classes and eventually stamped himself as an elite welterweight with wins over former champions Oscar dela Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, Antonio Margarito, and most recently Shane Mosley. Marquez initially followed suit but settled at lightweight where he dismantled all legitimate opposition that included big names such as Joel Casamayor, Juan Diaz, and Michael Katsidis.
Marquez only fought as a welter once against Floyd Mayweather, the only fighter who is seen as Pacquiao’s equal. And Marquez never even made a dent on the very elusive and slick Mayweather, even though the Mexican superstar landed some solid blows during their September 2009 encounter.
Styles make fights, or so they say. And it can’t be argued that in Pacquiao’s storied career, Marquez has the style to match that of Pacquiao’s. But considering the Filipino’s vast improvement through the years and Marquez’s age and the seemingly inability to compete at welterweight, can a third Pacquiao-Marquez rumble be worth it?
With all that said, this writer is not saying Marquez is past his prime. As a lightweight, Marquez dominates the scene. But fighting Pacquiao at welterweight is more than a stretch for the Mexican warrior. Pacquiao will own that contest, no doubt.
Both Pacquiao and Marquez are elite fighters. But they should have settled their score years ago.
Note: Marquez is slated to fight David “Dangerous” Diaz (36-3-1, 17 KOs) on July 2011 for the WBO and WBA lightweight championships.
Photo credits: Boxing Tribune