Many Filipinos dislike the reigning undisputed lightweight champion of the world, Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez, primarily because many see him as a sour grape who refuses to admit defeat, particularly to 8-division world champion and current WBO welterweight kingpin Manny Pacquiao. But many still adore the Mexican for his boxing abilities and his close, almost equal, performances against the Pacman.
Twice Marquez battled Pacquiao, twice he failed. But on both circumstances, the conclusions were controversial, to say the least.
Marquez counterpunching approach gave Pacquiao hell in their first two bouts. After suffering three knockdowns in the first round during their first encounter in 2004, Marquez rallied back and win most of the rounds to earn a draw. Their second fight in 2008 was also close and could have gone either way. The knockdown suffered by Marquez in the fourth round ultimately gave Pacquiao the edge in points and the split decision victory.
This writer is one of those who believed that a third match was needed to take place, with emphasis on the linking verb “was”. The high time for a Pacquiao-Marquez trilogy was when both pugilists climbed the scales and operated as lightweights back in 2008. Pacquiao brutalized then WBC champion David Diaz in June 2008. Marquez followed suit with his demolition of former lightweight champion Joel Casamayor three months later.
Pacquiao and Marquez at lightweight in 2008, early 2009, would have been spectacular.
However, Floyd Mayweather, Jr. suddenly retired from the sport, leaving Oscar dela Hoya with no opponent. Dela Hoya tapped Pacquiao to a boxing match in the welterweight division. In December 2008, Pacquiao stamped himself as a legitimate welter after his trashing of the Golden Boy. Marquez, by then, was (and still is) at home at the 135-pound limit.
Pacquiao eventually evolved into a welterweight superstar with wins over Miguel Cotto and Joshua Clottey and even tread to the light middleweight division and won a title over the towering and domineering Antonio Margarito.(Technically, Pacquiao fought Margarito as a welter. He tipped the scales at 144 pounds during the weigh in, far below the 150-pound catchweight agreed by both parties.)
On the other hand, Marquez dominated the lightweight division and became its undisputed champion, blasting solid opposition, Michael Katsidis and Juan Diaz to be exact. A trip to the welterweight division versus Mayweather, however, displayed a slow, sluggish, and ineffective Marquez. The Mexican’s losing effort to the former pound-for-pound king further solidified the belief that a third match with Pacquiao at welterweight will prove to be an exercise in futility for the Mexican.
This writer believes that a Pacquiao-Marquez trilogy is past its valid point. But with the impending third clash is now looming its head, one can only sit back and watch and hope that Marquez, as old as he is now, can still bring the fight to his Filipino nemesis the way he did when they fought at the featherweight and super featherweight divisions.
One also needs to pray that Marquez, a great champion that he is, is not in it for the money.
On September 3rd, 2011, Marquez and Pacquiao will sell their fight to the Filipino nation with a press tour at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila, Philippines. That said, this is one fight that needs no introductions and excessive sales talk. People, Filipinos at least, will watch, one way or another.
Photo credits: HBO
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