Juan Manuel “Dinimita” Marquez and Manny Pacquiao, the Filipino sensation whose gone on an unprecedented run that has far exceeded even his biggest supporters expectations were set to square off in the prize-fight capital of the world, Las Vegas, Nevada. To the general public, as well as the odds makers, Pacquiao was a solidified favorite. The 8 division world champion, Pacquiao, was regarded as too young, too fast, too comfortable at the weight assigned for the two combatants, and withheld a higher potential for making adjustments due to his youth advantage. To the fight fans, and the fellows on hand in press row, it’s quite possible that more than half on hand were taking Marquez to emerge the victor for the first time in four attempts. Very few of of whom, picked Marquez to win by knockout. Pacquiao has highly been regarded as the bigger puncher, and his knockout percentage and lengthier stay at the higher weights add to the sentiment that Pacquiao held a natural size advantage. Well, what wasn’t shocking was that the fans on hand at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, and those who purchased their Pay Per View subscriptions were treated to an absolute boxing classic. Perhaps the best brawl that may have just settled it all within the two hall of fame bound fighters’ epic rivalry. Which without question ranks as one of the finest to have ever graced the sport.
After a see-saw first and second stanza, the scoring could have slightly favored either fighter, or better yet a draw, one round for each fighter. In the third Marquez stunned, and dropped the jaws of many (this journalist included) as he landed a beautiful right hand over the top to knockdown the great Filipino for the first time in their four confrontations. The Marquez supporters, who heavily outweighed the Filipino support for Pacquiao (unlike typical Pacquiao encounters against other Mexican greats) were in a joyful uproar. They seemed to have the utmost confidence that Marquez was going to decisively best the biggest rival in his career. After a well fought round for Marquez in the fourth, the confidence from the crowd, and Marquez as well, seemingly grew within the arena. Perhaps the willy ole vet, Marquez, had dissected Manny Pacquiao enough to the degree that he would leave no doubt on this night. But just like these two always produce, ebb and flow had to be the nature of this brutal could-be finale. Pacquiao, responding in his trade mark championship form, blitzed Marquez with angles and speed. Leaving Marquez looking a bit befuddled and tasting the canvas in the fifth. The sixth round was Hagler-Hearns kind of action, boxing history was being made, and nobody in the arena knew it was going to be such grand magnitude. As Pacquiao blitzed the older, supposed smaller Marquez throughout the sixth stanza, Marquez with less than 5 seconds remaining caught Pacquiao coming in, attempting to shoot a final combination to punctate the round, and that was all she wrote. Marquez landed a shot that was heard around the world, the Mexican fans on hand were ecstatic with the result, perhaps ignoring the odds that didn’t favorite Marquez. Everyone else in the boxing world however, were awestruck at Marquez’s performance. How did a man who while he was younger did not score a knockdown in three previous encounters while he himself tasted the canvas on four different counts, drop Pacquiao? It was a preconceived notion that Marquez could indeed finally upend Pacquiao, but very, very few envisioned a one punch knock out that may very well be the knock out of the year.
In the aftermath of what could be the fight of the year, the great Manny Pacquiao has some serious thinking to do. Does he reitre? Take a tune up bout against an opponent considered a mismatch? Or jump into the fray of fighting the world’s elite? Pacquiao has done so for the past decade, and the Filipino warrior has gone through tremendous wars throughout his tenure as being a superstar in the sport. And that takes a tremendous toll on any mans’ body. Pacquiao has nothing to prove, his resume is impeccable. Perhaps seeing the welterweight star in action against an opponent below the sports’ absolute finest would be a good outing for Pacquiao. That way Pacquiao can see if he still has all the dynamo in his arsenal to continue to be one of the sports’ finest.
As for Juan Manuel Marquez, he may wind being greedy in the Bernard Hopkins sense. When Hopkins had a record setting 20 title defenses, he could have easily retired. Nothing to prove. The same could be said for Hopkins when he became the oldest World Champion in any division ever, of all time, when he thwarted Jean Pascal in their rematch for Pascal’s LightHeavyweight crown. For Marquez, no matter he can gain after this, no victory will be sweeter. Sure, he could fight the likes of Danny Garcia, Adrien Broner, Timothy Bradley, and many others. The question at this point is it necessary to the legendary four division champion?
Regardless of how boxing fans, and media members alike tally whose bested who in these two terrific fighters’ incredible fights. Boxing won, the talk of the sports’ world was Pacquiao-Marquez IV all weekend before and after the event. Anybody who followed these four fights were treated to a modern day boxing classic, a rivalry that ranks with Ali-Frazier.