With one punch, Juan Manuel Marquez managed to scrub one blemish off his resume.
He had long been compared unfavorably to Manny Pacquiao after their three previous fights. After Saturday night's sixth-round knockout, though, Marquez has arguably jumped ahead of the Pac-Man when it comes to their legacies.
None of the previous three meetings between the two had been able to escape skepticism among boxing fans.
The third fight between the two ended in much controversy. Although Pacquiao was judged to have won the fight, many, those in attendance included, believed that Marquez had in fact won. The fourth bout afforded Marquez to get revenge on the perceived slight.
And did he ever avenge it.
Until he was able to beat the Pac-Man, Marquez would always be considered unfavorably to Pacquiao in terms of their careers as a whole. It was Pacquiao who was beloved by the sporting public, and the proposed superfight between he and Floyd Mayweather, Jr. is the one everybody had clamored to see.
While the public will not take to Marquez as they have to Pacquiao, with the sixth-round knockout of the Filipino superstar, Marquez has shocked almost everyone. In turn he stepped out from the massive shadow that Pacquiao had cast.
From this moment on, Marquez needs to at the very least be thought of in the same breath as Pacquiao. He'll never eclipse Mayweather, but neither will the Pac-Man.
It's even more incredible when you consider that Marquez is 39 years old, six years Pacquiao's senior. He has had a longevity that only the best are able to have. It's one thing to have a short period of dominance, but over an entire career, that dominance turns into a legacy.
Marquez has been able to alter his style enough that he's not the same fighter he was years ago in terms of style, but his ability has failed to drop off.
That is the mark of an all-time great fighter.
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