Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Manny Pacquiao has been the greatest boxing rivalry of our young century. Since 2004 they have fought three times, with none of the contests yielding a decisive, unanimous decision.
Nobody has given Pacman more trouble than Marquez. According to the record books, Timothy Bradley beat Pacquiao last June, but not a lot of people believe that decision reflects reality.
On the other hand, quite a few people think Marquez has beaten Pacquiao. Quite a few people think he's beaten him twice.
Officially, the record stands at 2-0-1 in favor of the Filipino Congressman. After a draw in their initial meeting, he won by split decision in 2008 and again by majority decision last November.
On my own cards, I have it 2-0-1 for Marquez. And I am hardly alone. Among fight writers, I'm not even sure that I would be in the minority.
Last November, I predicted that Marquez would win a decision on my own card but would drop a highly disputed decision among the judges. Not a lot of people agreed with me at the time, but I was confident and I ended up being exactly right.
This time around, I am feeling slightly more equivocal. With both superstars now firmly in the twilight of their careers, I sense an element of unpredictability around this bout.
But I'm still going to go on the record again predicting a victory for Marquez. And this time I think it will be decisive enough for him to earn the nod among the judges.
And this is how he's going to do it.