A professional boxer only has so many punches in him before he has to call it quits, so choosing worthy opponents for important, highly-publicized bouts is crucial. You want to maximize the fight's marketability while ensuring the quality of your opponent is up to par.
Heading into his next match, Pacquiao had the option of going toe-to-toe with three fighters: Timothy Bradley (a rematch of their last controversial fight), Juan Manuel Marquez (for the fourth time), or Miguel Cotto (another rematch, although he ultimately turned him down).
Choosing Marquez was the right decision, and will give the fans the best possible fight.
The duos previous three fights have all been extremely entertaining: They fought to a draw in 2004; Pacquiao won a 12-round split-decision in 2008; and Pacquiao won a 12-round majority decision last November.
These are two fighters who know the tendencies and motions of the other, so discussions leading up to the fight will focus on the competitiveness of their previous three fights. Pacquiao may seem like the superior fighter, but Marquez has lined up the 33-year-old superstar and given him a run for his money.
This is an important fight for both men, but for Pacquiao, if he ever hopes to go up against his nemesis Floyd Mayweather Jr., this is a must-win affair. Losing to Marquez would mean two losses in a row, and to fighters he is considered superior to. Seeing as he probably doesn't have too many fights left in him and has aspirations of a career in politics, now is the time to finish strong.
Of all his options, Marquez would be the kind of victory that would vault Pacquiao back to center stage, where he used to be and where Mayweather currently resides. Losing to Bradley wasn't so detrimental as to make him any less of a draw, but piling up losses hurts his chances at another big fight as well as his historical reputation.
In the pair's first fight in 2004, Marquez was knocked down early and often, but true to form, did not give in and made it a dogfight. That is the type of fighter Marquez is, and come Dec. 8 when the two go at it one more time, expect another fun-filled, back-and-forth affair.
Pacquiao wants to get back on track, and Marquez is the perfect man to go up against.