Manny Pacquiao remains one of the biggest drawing cards in sports. Juan Manuel Marquez is one of the biggest stars in boxing. These two men have met in the ring three times already, with each one being more compelling than the last.
Now, on December 8 in Las Vegas, Pacquiao and Marquez will reignite their long-standing rivalry one more time. Selling this fight is easy, at least to a certain extent. There is natural drawing power of Pacquiao; not to mention the controversy that surrounded the third fight between these two.
In many ways, trying to market a fight is similar to the way that Hollywood tries to market a movie to mainstream audiences. You need the stars at the top of the poster to draw the crowd in, the compelling narrative to sell people on the fence and the production to make it feel like a must-see event.
So how does a series of fights like Pacquiao vs. Marquez endure three fights and actually end up being more of a must-see sporting event than ever before, when most Hollywood franchises should wrap up after two or three movies?
Pacquiao's Natural Ability to Charm
It is funny when you really look at Pacquiao's career, because he is one of the most boring interviews in the sport of boxing. He is never going to say anything controversial, always has high praise for his opponent and wants to be presented in the best possible light.
Most fighters would love to be as "nice" as Pacquiao and be able to draw over 1 million buys on pay-per-view. But very few can be as bland with a microphone in front of their face and still get people talking.
Pacquiao took the ball after defeating Oscar De La Hoya in 2008 as one of the biggest revenue-generators in all of sports. No matter who he fights, even if it is someone he has fought three times before, people are going to keep watching.
The Need for a Clear Winner
Despite Pacquiao holding a 2-0-1 career mark against Marquez, all three fights have ended with some level of controversy. Some can make an argument that Pacquiao won the second fight, while others will tell you it was Marquez.
The argument for Marquez in the third fight was even louder, even though Pacquiao did hold the advantage in strikes landed (176 to 138) and punches thrown (578 to 436) (via Michael Woods of ESPN,com).
It is time for someone to come out of the fire with a decisive victory. Every great story needs a great ending. This is the opportunity for Pacquiao and Marquez to provide themselves, and the rest of the world, with a chance to close out this chapter of their storied careers.
Pacquiao and Marquez Can Put On a Show
For all the pomp and circumstance that will surround this fight, the only thing that really matters is what Pacquiao and Marquez can do in the ring. You can build a fight as much as you want, but if it doesn't do anything to get people excited, who is going to tune in?
Ultimately, the reason there is still a huge desire to see Pacquiao and Marquez duke it out for a fourth time, even though Marquez has already officially lost two times and been able to work a draw in the other one, is because they have great fights.
If you are going to pay $54.95 to watch something on pay-per-view, you are only going to do it if you know that the price of admission will be worth it.
That's probably why Pacquiao decided against a fight with Timothy Bradley, who was given a controversial decision over Pacquiao in June. The fight was fine, though Pacquiao dominated Bradley before the judges screwed up the scoring.
Pacquiao knows that Marquez is going to push him to the limit. Marquez knows that he has unfinished business against Pacquiao. The fists and fireworks will be flying in Las Vegas when these two lock horns.