Pacquiao-Marquez IV featured tremendous two-way action, as instincts and familiarity quickly supplanted early caution and cagey tactics. Ultimately, it was Marquez’s ability to out-think and outmaneuver Pacquiao—ever so slightly and for only an instant—that fittingly and decisively led to such a resounding victory.
Because of the respect and acclaim both Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 KO) and Marquez (55-6-1, 40 KO) command, there will be passionate and dissenting views regarding the fallout of their fourth encounter.
Some will argue that before getting iced, Pacquiao was in relative command and seemed livelier than he had in some time. Others will counter that Marquez was biding his time, landing hard shots and purposefully setting Pacquiao up for the decisive blow.
But regardless of where one stands, the reality is that the outcome of Pacquiao-Marquez IV is positive for boxing.
Before launching into any future implications and speculation, credit must be given to both fighters. Pacquiao and Marquez, through their in-ring excellence, have given boxing fans four genuinely memorable fights. High-profile bouts between elite prizefighters that consistently match and exceed expectations are what boxing really needs.
The first three fights between Pacquiao and Marquez were eerily and controversially close. In a recent article on RingTV.com about boxing’s 10 greatest tetralogies, Lee Groves aptly illustrates this point.
If one adds up the tally of the nine official scorecards for Pacquiao and Marquez’s first three fights, Pacquiao holds a 1,024 to 1,017 advantage (0.34 percent difference).
And consider these statistics (per BoxingScene.com): After their first two fights, Marquez held a 330 to 305 edge in total connects and a 252 to 214 advantage in power punches.
By the time Pacquiao and Marquez had fought for a third time, those numbers had tightened to a narrow 481 to 468 edge in total connects for Pacquiao, while Marquez held a slim 352 to 331 advantage in power punches.
But with a deserving yet rare fourth fight scheduled, boxing fans and pundits needed Pacquiao-Marquez IV to deliver in only two crucial areas:
- The fight needed a level of action and excitement that was worthy of the three previous encounters.
- There had to be a definitive winner.
From this standpoint, Pacquiao-Marquez IV delivered.
In many respects, it was a perfect tetralogy fight. The first two rounds were tactical and fought with skilled precision. Then, Marquez scored a spectacular knockdown of Pacquiao with a booming overhand right in Round 3. Perhaps bolstered by knocking Pacquiao down for the first time in their rivalry, Marquez landed hard right hands and body shots in Round 4.
Fierce exchanges ensued, and Pacquiao busted and bloodied Marquez’s nose in Round 5, scoring a knockdown with his infamous straight left hand. On wobbly legs, Marquez survived, only to struggle with Pacquiao’s speed, movement and feints for much of Round 6.
And then Marquez landed what can only be described as a perfect punch.
It was frightening and sobering to see Pacquiao land face-first and remain unconscious on the canvas for several minutes. Once it was clear Pacquiao had recovered and gathered his wits, one couldn’t help but acknowledge what a satisfying and vindicating win this was for Marquez.
For Marquez to secure an official win against Pacquiao only enhances the greatness of their rivalry. It also makes the controversial results of the first three fights easier to accept for all interested parties. Marquez’s win was good for boxing because it gave the fans and victorious fighter exactly what they deserved.
But what about Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather?
Marquez’s spectacular victory can finally put to rest the incessant Mayweather-Pacquiao speculation that has polluted boxing websites and taken away too much ink from covering the sport as a whole. It’s time to let go of Mayweather-Pacquiao; boxing never needed it anyway.
For one evening, Pacquiao and Marquez made everyone forget about dubious decisions and boxing politics. Should they opt for a fifth fight someday, no one should complain.
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