Finally, Juan Manuel Marquez was able to defeat Manny Pacquiao. Finally, what was once a one-sided rivalry can now go down in history as one of the great rivalries in boxing history. Finally, Marquez has a signature win in what should go down as a Hall of Fame career.
Like many people out there, my first reaction when I saw Pacquiao would be facing Marquez for a fourth time went something like this:
Really, these guys are fighting again? Do we really need four fights? Hasn't Pacman already proved he's the better fighter?
Like most folks, I wanted the Floyd Mayweather superfight for Pacquiao that will never happen, and Marquez was not a sufficient replacement. The loss to Timothy Bradley suggested that Pacman might be nearing the end, and thus the prospect of Mayweather-Pacquiao was not only diminishing, but becoming less intriguing.
But when I looked back on the fights between Pacquiao and Marquez again, I was reminded of how close the bouts had been. One draw and two decisions later, Pacman was the better fighter, but not by much. Marquez's patient, counterpunching style was the perfect contrast to Pacquiao's aggressive, attacking nature.
And according to the incantations of the cliche-toting pundits, styles make fights.
This was a rivalry that deserved its proper place amongst the all-time greats, but it would never achieve such lofty recognition if Marquez had never won. Marquez would be remembered as that pesky fighter that gave Pacman some trouble, nothing more.
But he deserved to be remembered as an equal. Well, maybe that's a stretch—Pacquiao is arguably the greatest fighter of his generation. Marquez at least deserved to be remembered as a foe that was good enough to beat Pacquiao.
And now he will be.
I imagine this win will be enough to push Marquez into the Hall of Fame. He doesn't have a full list of wins over top-notch competition like many other boxers, but he's now beaten and drawn with one of the best boxers the sport has seen in the past 10 years.
That shouldn't be ignored. This victory should grant Marquez the respect he deserves for a successful career.
Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets were hoping Marquez could get over the hump.