Manny Pacquiao vs Juan Manuel Marquez III: Why We Need the Fight to Be Great

Alexander DiegelCorrespondent IIINovember 5, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 06:  Professional Boxers Manny Pacquiao (L) and Juan Manuel Marquez attend the press conference for their World Welterweight Championship Fight at The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers on September 6, 2011 in New York City.  (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

What a disappointing year for boxing fans.

We still have not seen Floyd Mayweather fight Manny Pacquiao, except on twitter. It appeared we had some consolation prizes, as there were three fights in 2011 that jumped out as potential mainstream thrillers.

First, there was Floyd Mayweather versus Victor Ortiz. What an embarrassment that fight turned out to be. Yes, that bout would have been a blowout had it gone to the cards, but Ortiz’ power cannot be ignored. He knocked down every opponent he had faced until that night, and the bout would have thrilled fans until the final bell.

We deserved better.

Then there was Bernard Hopkins versus Chad Dawson. This fight was an even bigger travesty because it was not going to be the “knockout or blow out” affair of Mayweather-Ortiz. No, this fight promised to be a tactical, 12-round war with the winner taking the fight by the slimmest of margins.

Instead, Dawson pulled a bush-league stunt and lifted Hopkins off the canvas, dropped him on his elbow and tore B-Hop’s rotator cuff, ending the fight before it even got started. Referee Pat Russell should lose his license for even thinking of giving Dawson a victory via TKO.

Now, all we have left is Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez. The first two bouts were “Fight of the Year” material that even casual sports fans could appreciate. God help us all if three does not follow suit.

Boxing is losing fans to MMA by the day.

There has not been an undisputed heavyweight champion of the world since Mike Tyson over 20 years ago. There are so many belts and weight classes it is impossible to keep track of who holds what title. The best fighters seldom go head-to-head in their prime. All we have left are the highly skilled middleweights and welterweights, and lately we have been robbed of those.

In Marquez and Pacquiao, we have a flashback to the old glory days of the sport. Marquez has actually won the majority of the rounds in the two fights. Pacquiao won their initial encounter in the first round when he floored Marquez three times. For Marquez to come back and earn a draw showed his heart and professional spirit.

He could have easily packed it in, seen a 10-6 opening round and decided the mountain was too insurmountable to overcome. But he didn’t. He kept plugging along, gave the fans one hell of a fight and nearly came away with the comeback victory. In the second bout, a Pacquiao knock down again determined the outcome. The 10-8 third round was the difference in Pacquiao’s split decision victory.

Boxing fans deserve a fight of that competitive interest, but whom do we need to win? On the one hand, Marquez would definitely give the sport some much-needed shock value. But would it end any hopes of Mayweather and Pacquiao ever squaring off?

We can all picture Mayweather incorrectly deciding he is the better fighter, just because Pacquiao took on an equal foe and came out on the short end. I can just hear Floyd Mayweather citing his perfect record now.

Who knows if that fight will ever happen, regardless, in spite of Mayweather’s proclamation of a May 5th target date. That news would be important if it was not the first time Manny Pacquiao’s camp heard about it as well.

So let us root for Marquez to take this in a split decision. He has been a consummate professional for a long time and is constantly passed over when we talk about the best fighters in the sport. He deserves it. Besides, it would likely spawn a fourth Pacquiao-Marquez fight, and I can’t think of any better outcome.

It would be this generation’s version of Jake LaMotta and “Sugar” Ray Robinson. No one else wants to fight them, so let them fight each other. At least we know we’ll be getting what we paid for.

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