This Saturday, December 8, Manny Pacquiao faces Juan Manuel Marquez live on HBO PPV. This is the 4th meeting between these two. According to the judges, Pacquiao currently leads the series 2-0-1, though every single one of their fights is not without controversy. In anticipation of Pacquiao vs. Marquez IV, we present the first three fights of this classic rivalry, available online in their entirety courtesy of HBO Sports. These are all time great fights, definitely worth either a first watch, or a fresh look.
We start on May 8, 2004 and their first encounter. At the time, Pacquiao was a relatively new name to the US boxing scene, having beaten Marco Antonio Barrera in his previous outing. It was clear that Pacquiao was something special, though it wasn't yet quite clear just how special he would become. Marquez was known to be a respected and tough fighter, though he was still in search of that marquee fight that would make him a star.
If you don't know how the fight goes, consider this your spoiler warning for the rest of the article.
This first fight is perhaps the most dramatic of the series. Pacquiao explodes with his speed and power in the first round, knocking Marquez down three times. It's astonishing that Marquez survives, but even more impressive is the way he comes back with counter punching and body shots to take control of the fight through round 2-6. After the halfway point, Manny again uses his speed effectively, leading to a number of very close rounds in the final 6.
Judges scored it 115-110 Pacquiao, 115-110 Marquez, and 113-113 for a split draw. Personally, I have it 114-111 Pacquiao, though I can see a lot of different arguments. BE fans - what's your take on the winner of this first fight?
One final note - the judge who scored the fight 113-113 scored round 1 10-7 Pacquiao. Given the rules of the 10 point must system, that should have been a 10-6 (10-9 for winning the round, plus 3 extra points for the 3 knockdowns). The result was challenged by Freddie Roach, but the Nevada State Athletic Commission stuck by the ruling, perfectly setting up the inevitable rematch.
Check back tomorrow for fight #2, and all week for more on Pacquiao vs. Marquez IV, including live coverage on fight night.