It is difficult for a fighter to make a huge statement when he's fighting an opponent for the fourth time. Chances are that the two fighters match up evenly; thus they've had very competitive fights in the previous three to warrant a fourth.
While I agree there is still some doubt as to who is really the better man between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez, I wish fight fans didn't have to watch them battle for a fourth time.
In reality, that is what we have on our hands. The December 8 meeting has been made official, per Anthony Sulla-Heffinger of the New York Post.
Because this isn't exactly a sexy matchup, it will be difficult for Manny Pacquiao to look good. But since he is the bigger name, the onus to shine is on him primarily.
In this situation, the definition of shine isn't very ambiguous for Pac-Man. He needs something big, as another close, competitive and possibly controversial win will do nothing for his stock.
Pac-Man needs one of two things to happen on December 8.
Clear Decision Victory
I'm not sure this is possible with these two fighters, but it would work for Pac-Man. Marquez is such a good counter-puncher, and by now, he knows his rival so well, a lopsided decision isn't very practical.
Pac-Man only knows one way to fight, and that doesn't lend itself to many clear-cut decision victories. This is especially true when he's facing extraordinary boxers like Marquez.
Still, if Pac-Man dominated Marquez for the majority, or all of a 12-round fight, it would make him look great in the eyes of the boxing world.
Clear TKO or KO
You almost have to cover all bases with this matchup. A disputed TKO will do Pac-Man no good. Marquez fans and Pac-Man haters will try to devalue the win. They will claim the stoppage was premature and that Marquez was down three times in the first fight before battling to a disputed draw.
If Pac-Man were to win by TKO, it would need to be clear and indisputable.
Obviously, a KO is the best way to shine. It is also Pac-Man's best chance at winning the fight.
He hasn't looked quite as sharp or quick in his last three fights. He has appeared to tire in the later rounds. But hopefully he has learned from the Timothy Bradley fight. He coasted through the championship rounds in that fight, and it cost him. He can't afford to coast against Marquez by any interpretation.
He needs to punctuate this rivalry, and the best and most practical way to do that is through a knockout.
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