As soon as Juan Manuel Marquez knocked Manny Pacquiao out cold in the middle of the ring, he should have been celebrating not only conquering the fighter who has haunted his entire career but the end of one of the greatest feuds in boxing history.
In his post-fight interview, Pacquiao said he was not going to retire and would certainly be open to a fifth fight with Marquez.
Of course, Pacquiao would want a fifth fight. He is the one with his back against the wall, coming off two straight losses, albeit one under highly controversial circumstances. He has nothing to lose by taking another match.
Yet for Marquez, once you conquer the white whale, what purpose does it serve to go back to it? If money is the only thing he is fighting for at this point in his career, then there is an argument that he should take a fifth fight with Pacquiao.
At some point, however, Marquez and Pacquiao have to move on. If they just keep spinning their wheels, they wind up with a situation like this one that was posted by Professional Heckler on Twitter:
Marquez stands to gain nothing from another fight with Pacquiao. He has made his money, especially having fought Pacquiao twice in the last 13 months. He is now on a path that will allow him to do whatever he wants, without sacrificing much in pay.
In fact, one could argue that Marquez is infinitely better off right now. He can be the headline attraction on a pay-per-view card against a big-name fighter, which would net him a higher base salary and a bigger percentage of the pay-per-view revenue than he would fighting Pacquiao.
So where is the upside for Marquez to do another fight with Pacquiao? After four fights and finally securing his first official victory in the series, what is there for Marquez to prove to anyone in one more fight?
Prior to the fourth fight, Dan Rafael of ESPN.com wrote about how both Pacquiao and Marquez were seeking closure in a rivalry that began eight years ago.
Officially, Pacquiao holds a 2-0-1 edge in the series, but the fights were so good and so close— all three really could have gone either way—that there is a need for some sort of closure.
And, hey, since the long-anticipated Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight continues to go unmade, why not?
Rafael also wrote that, despite their best efforts, Pacquiao and Marquez "have been unable to produce a clear result."
All of that changed on Saturday night. It is hard to get much more definitive than seeing Marquez throw a counter-right hand and leaving Pacquiao falling flat on his face. If you needed closure to a series, that is about as good as you are ever going to get.
Marquez stands to gain nothing by agreeing to a fifth fight with Pacquiao. He made it to the top of the mountain in spectacular fashion.