Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez: Is This the Best Boxing Has to Offer?

Robert Cotter@@BobbyC_TheTribeCorrespondent IIAugust 2, 2011

It will be billed as the final chapter in one of boxing's all-time great trilogies.

Bowe-Holyfield, Barrera-Morales and The Godfather of all trilogies Ali-Frazier.

But after three dormant years, what Manny Pacquiao vs Juan Manuel Marquez has come to represent is not the conclusion to an epic three pack of fights, but rather the problems of boxing politics, which are robbing fans of the greatest match-ups at the most opportune times.

In 2004 when Pacquiao and Marquez met for the first time at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the perfect brew was in place for the makings of an epic trilogy.

At or near their physical primes and at the ages of 25 and 30, Marquez and Pacquiao, were at the perfect periods in their careers for an epic series of fights and after their controversial initial fight draw, it seemed destined to happen.  

But, instead of an immediate rematch Marquez and Pacquiao went their separate ways with Pacquiao gaining acclaim with his trilogy against Erik Morales and Marquez staking his claim as the greatest active Mexican fighter with his decision win over Marco Antonio Barrera.

Four years later Pacquiao and Marquez met once again and as expected, gave boxing fans one of the most action packed and controversial fights of the year in Pacquiao's split decision victory. The promise of an expedient third fight was assured. 

Well, as we sit in August of 2011, Pacquiao and Marquez are set to do battle in just a couple of months. But what once loomed as an historically important fight, is now just a battle of names.

Now 37, Juan Manuel Marquez is not the same fighter he once was, seven years ago when he and Pacquiao first met. While the younger Pacquiao remains in his prime, Marquez is a shell of the fighter he once was.

The real shame is that instead of completing the trilogy when it still was a battle of pound for pound best, Top Rank and Manny Pacquiao chose to fight challengers, only in name, such as Ricky Hatton, Oscar De La Hoya, Antonio Margarito and Shane Mosley.

And now you can add Juan Manuel Marquez to that list.