In the aftermath of Juan Manuel Marquez's stunning sixth-round knockout of Manny Pacquiao in December, speculation immediately shifted to a potential fifth fight between the rivals.
After all, Marquez had finally gotten a much deserved win in the series and had pulled the overall score to 2-1-1 in their four bouts.
But if reports from the Mexican fighter are to believed, and there's no reason to think they shouldn't, boxing fans will not be treated to a fifth bout.
In comments to Boxingscene.com's Miguel Rivera the 39-year-old Marquez was clear about the possibility of the series continuing:
I think for me there is no point [in a fifth fight]. We already achieved the desired result. Then why do it? So I also asked several people, several friends that I have around me and they told me not to do it, that there is no point in a fifth fight
While nobody is questioning Marquez' right to manage his own career and fight whoever he pleases, this decision cheats boxing fans and the sport itself.
It's not so much what he said as how he said it. If he had said that a fifth bout was unnecessary due to the physical toll taken on both fighters then nobody would complain.
If he had said that he wanted to measure himself against other great or up-and-coming fighters to see how he'd fare, again nobody would raise an issue.
But the idea that because he finally got a win there is no point in fighting on is insulting not only to the fans but also to his main rival.
When Pacquiao and Marquez met in the ring for the first time in 2004 nobody expected an epic series. In fact the fight seemed to be on the verge of a quick ending as "Dinamita" found himself deposited on the canvas three times in the first round.
But he rallied for a controversial draw, and their next two fights were equally close with the Pac-Man getting the nod each time.
It's difficult to assess how Marquez would've reacted had Pacquiao issued that same statement in the wake of his victories instead of granting not one, not two, but three rematches.
You can pretty safely assume that it wouldn't have been calm or measured as he rightfully felt he earned another shot after several close—and controversial, as many feel—losses.
But after four bouts, and only one truly decisive verdict, doesn't it leave a slight bad taste in your mouth that Marquez would not give Pacquiao a shot at redemption?
Especially after he was give three chances to redeem himself before finally cashing one in?
Make no mistake about it. Controversial or not, close or not, whether you agree or not the record books will always say that Manny Pacquiao holds two wins over Juan Manuel Marquez.
Had he simply cashed out there, with the "desired result," in hand then he would've been the subject of criticism. And rightfully so.
Marquez deserves the same treatment in this situation.
Boxing fans were highly outspoken in their grumbling and unhappiness over the signing of a fourth bout between the two. We had seen this show before, they said, and expected 12 more rounds of patient Marquez counter-punching and flashy Pacquiao combinations that often missed.
Many didn't tune in for just that reason, and they missed a helluva fight between two warriors.
Both men were dropped, both men were badly hurt and Pacquiao appeared on the verge of stopping Marquez before eating an absolutely perfect right hand that knocked him unconscious.
It was the most dramatic, most competitive fight of the series and cemented the rivalry as one of the best in the history of the sport.
Virtually nobody would raise a note of complaint if a fifth fight should happen. And in the days and weeks after Dec. 9 that was all the boxing community could talk about.
It's a fight that must happen. And if it doesn't it shouldn't be derailed because Juan Manuel Marquez feels that with a win he can rest on his laurels.
Every fighter deserves a chance at redemption.
Manny Pacquiao gave Juan Manuel Marquez three. Don't you think he should return the favor?
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