Juan Manuel Marquez's sixth-round knockout of Manny Pacquiao on Saturday should be enough to solidify his legacy against his archrival. After proving himself in such a definitive way, Dinamita does not need a fifth fight between him and Pac-Man to ever materialize.
Three previous close calls against Pacquiao that resulted in a draw and two subsequent losses—all of which Marquez felt he won—were emphatically overshadowed at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
What should Juan Manuel Marquez's next move be?
It was the trademark counterpunching ability of Marquez that fittingly allowed him to finally finish off the Congressman, who undertook a typical aggressive style while leaving himself susceptible to punishment. Marquez's right hand landed in just the right spot after a furious charge back by Pac-Man, which included a redemptive knockdown and a flurry of blindingly quick combinations.
Had it not been for that counter, the fight could have been totally different for Marquez, but he nailed it. That's why he should not risk stepping into the ring again, even if he believes he can beat Pac-Man just as well again.
However, there is already talk of a fifth fight between the two. Between the temptation to cash in on what would surely be a large payday, there is also the fact that this is one of the sport's best rivalries in recent memory.
Top Rank president Todd DuBoef, whose company promotes both Marquez and Pacquiao, weighed in on the matter with extremely high praise, according to a report by Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times:
Everyone’s asking me about the fifth fight. Great fights, great fighters become synonymous with each other. And when you’re entertained like that, how can you not make another?
You can’t script fights, but when you look at the body of work, it’s the most engaging series of fights in the last 50 years.
This is a difficult notion to argue, considering the controversy surrounding the previous three 12-round bouts. But this one should have finally brought some clarity and closure to the situation for Dinamita.
At age 39, Marquez isn't getting any younger despite his fantastic physical shape. In his mind, he is now 4-0 against Pacquiao, who has been considered at times to be the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world.
What more is there to prove?
If Marquez does desire a return to the ring for another marquee fight, perhaps he should be the one now most prominently in the conversation for a potential epic showdown with Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
The matchup between "Pretty Boy" Floyd and Pacquiao has been highly anticipated for quite some time, but a chance to take down the next, perceived-best fighter in the world would cement Marquez's status as one of the best in boxing's recent history. That would be a greater—and fresh—proving ground for Marquez as he enters the twilight of his career. It would be another shot at redemption after Mayweather's decisive, 12-round win in 2009 over Dinamita.
The perception of Pacquiao has changed in light of this loss. There are questions about his commitment to the ring due to his political ventures, love of music and religious awakening, among others.
Too much would be at stake for Dinamita to lose in a prospective Marquez-Pacquiao V. He finally knocked Pac-Man to the canvas, and he never got up.
That should be the lasting image he leaves to the judges he feels betrayed him and the fans strongly in his corner.