Both Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez have something to prove.
That’s what happens when fights conclude in a controversial manner.
In the record books, Pacquiao is 2-0-1 in three fights with Marquez. To his fans and those who choose to trust the judges’ judgment, Marquez needs to validate that he deserves another shot at PacMan.
In boxing, it’s rare for fighters to fight four times—especially when one side is undefeated—so without any knowledge of their previous bouts other than the final ruling, Round 4 seems like it shouldn’t even be happening.
But for Marquez’s fans as well as those who witnessed the fights, chose to objectively score them on their own and ruled in Dinamita’s favor, Pacquiao has more to validate. The Filipino must validate that Marquez doesn’t own him, which, despite the past the rulings, isn't an uncommon belief.
One of the many who take that stance is Marquez himself (surprise, surprise).
According to ESPN, Marquez claimed that he should’ve been able to raise his gloves in triumph following their first two meetings and said of the third:
I felt I won nine of the 12-rounds and easily won the fight. He never came close to hurting me, and once again my boxing skills were too much for him. But once again the three judges took away my victory.
Pacquiao sees their prior fights in a different light, though.
He believed he’d never have to take on Marquez again—that he had nothing more to prove after their last bout. He said (via ESPN):
Marquez wants to blame others for losing the decision, but he didn't do anything except run the last half of the fight. I brought the fight to him. I made the fight. If I had fought the same style of fight he fought, there wouldn't have been a fight at all. There would have been no action.
This Saturday, each fighter will not only be looking to silence his competitor, but his critics as well.
And as nice as it'd be if Pacquiao-Marquez IV resolved all talk of injustice, after this summer’s Timothy Bradley debacle, for crying out loud, they both may still be swinging for validation after Round 4.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.