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. If you missed it, check out the first fight here.
After the closely contested and much debated split draw in their first fight, Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez II seemed inevitable. But it wasn't until March 15, 2008, four years after the previous fight that the rematch took place.
In those 4 years, Pacquiao had gone 7-1, suffering a loss at the hands of Erik Morales, but emphatically avenging that loss and establishing himself as a bona fide boxing phenom. He had improved his right hand, making him more versatile, though there was also a perception that he had lost some of his aggression. Marquez had gone 6-1 and scored a big win over Marco Antonio Barrera. Both men had made the jump up from Featherweight (126 pounds) to Super Featherweight (130 pounds).
The rematch was a very different animal from the first fight. Gone was the explosive Pacquiao start and the wild drama, replaced instead by a highly technical battle, punctuated by moments of violence. For boxing purists, this is the fight of the series, with both men performing superbly.
It's also the closest of the fight. For me, Marquez won it 114-113, though there are numerous rounds that are extremely tough to call. To show how close it is, I had it tied after 11, with Marquez winning the fight in the final 3 minutes.
Judges didn't agree with me, giving Pacquiao the split decision win, 115-112, 112-115, 114-113. If you combine all three judges' score cards from both fights, after this second fight, you're left with a score of 679-678 Pacquiao. Think about that for a minute - 72 rounds judged, and only 1 point separates the two men.
Not surprisingly, the issue was still not settled.
Check back tomorrow for fight #3, and all week for more on Pacquiao vs. Marquez IV, including live coverage on fight night.