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 fight #1 here and fight #2 here.
After a very close, back and forth, technical battle in fight #2, Manny Pacquiao had taken a 1-0-1 lead in the series. Yet many felt that Marquez had now twice been robbed of a decision, and were eager to see them meet again. And once again, they would have to wait, this time until November 12, 2011 and Pacquiao vs. Marquez III.
By this fight, Pacquiao was perceived as an untouchable great, such that any opponent outside of Floyd Mayweather was a foregone conclusion. He had won 7 straight since the last fight, including massive wins over the likes of Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, and Antonio Margarito. But he had also clearly lost a step, as his motivation was questioned heading into the fight. Marquez came in a ridiculous 9-1 underdog, going 5-1 since the last fight, with that lone loss coming against Mayweather. Clearly, Pacquiao's fame had far surpassed Marquez's, but anyone who had seen these two fight knew those odds were way off base.
To Marquez fans, this fight is seen as an out and out robbery, as Pacquiao took home a majority decision (116-112, 115-113, 114-114), giving him a 2-0-1 record against his rival. On my card, this was the second win for Marquez, as I had it 115-113, though I could have very easily gone 114-114 draw.
In the end, I see Marquez up 2-1 in the series, but I'm not a judge, and that's what makes this 4th fight so great. Marquez believes he has defeated Pacquiao three times already, but he wants the vindication of a real, recorded win. Pacquiao also believes he's 3-0, and is ready to finally settle the score definitively on Saturday. Who will reach their goal? Hard to say, but if history is any indication, we're in for one hell of a fight along the way.
Check back all week for more on Pacquiao vs. Marquez IV, including live coverage on fight night.