While Juan Manuel Marquez gears up for a third shot at redemption on Dec. 8, his opponent and rival inside the boxing ring, Manny Pacquiao prepares to enter a lose-lose situation just days before his 34th birthday.
For Marquez, a third consecutive loss to Pacquiao would only confirm that he is a lesser fighter than Pac-Man. On the other hand, a loss for Pacquiao would further damage his star power and bring his entire career's body of work into question.
Is it fair?
Certainly not, but it's not a matter of fairness.
The bottom line is that Pacquiao can gain virtually nothing from a win this December. A third straight Pac-Man victory over Marquez would only confirm what boxing fans and experts already know: Pacquiao is a better boxer than Marquez.
No one is going to be hyping Pacquiao up unless he comes out unscathed with a knockout victory. And that doesn't seem likely considering Marquez has yet to be knocked out in 61 professional bouts.
Sure, Pacquiao has to start somewhere after last summer's controversial defeat to Timothy Bradley, but reigniting a rivalry that has included more than one controversial finish may not have been the smartest decision in the wake of the huge hit Pac-Man's status took last June.
Do we want to see Pacquiao vs. Marquez IV?
Sure. But do we want to see Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. more?
A loss for Pac-Man this December would deliver a significant blow to the potential superfight between he and Mayweather and certainly squash some of the hype surrounding the much-anticipated 12-round matchup.
Pacquiao has nothing to gain from fighting Marquez for a fourth time but a tally in the win column. On the flip side, Pacquiao has everything to lose by fighting Marquez. Pac-Man is six years younger coming into the fight and has won the last two against the Mexican star.
Perhaps if Pacquiao were fighting Bradley this December he would be David. But with Marquez fighting with a nothing-to-lose mentality in this situation, Pacquiao is Goliath, and therefore he can only be exposed, not crowned, on Dec. 8.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!