Their first match, contested at Featherweight, ended in a draw; with Marquez being floored 3 times in the first stanza, only to dominate the remainder of the fight via brilliant offense and mid-fight adjustments.
The result of the fight is debated to this day, with many believing Marquez deserved the nod, myself included.
The second fight resulted in an extraordinarily narrow split decision victory for Pacquiao, with a 3rd round knockdown of Marquez creating the 1 point advantage needed to prevent a second draw.
Much the like their first clash, the result of Pacquiao-Marquez II is heavily disputed.
In the intervening years since their last battle, back in 2008, both Pacquiao and Marquez have been among the most productive fighters of their era.
As I’m sure you’re already aware, Pacquiao has gone on to ascend in weight with unprecedented success, snagging titles in every class from Lightweight to Jr. Middleweight.
It’s worth noting however, that despite the fact that all of Pacquiao’s opponents post-2008 were of world class ability, one has to take into account that “were” is most certainly the operative word in that statement.
Without exception, all of the above fighters were either coming off of physically taxing, disastrous losses, or were altogether well past their prime.
A Shane Mosley that calls it quits and runs for 12 rounds is a Mosley that would likely get it’s ass beaten by it’s former iteration for ruining their collective “warrior” image.
That’s not a knock on Pacquiao’s esteemed legacy, as at 33 he has already achieved a number of feats that likely will never be repeated in the sport, but it is a knock on Bob Arum and the business of boxing.
In short, it’s readily apparent that as Pacquiao’s status as an international celebrity has grown, so has his management’s desire to direct his career with a safety first/money grabbing agenda.
Similarly, Bob Arum has paired Pacquiao with known fighters that put asses in the seats rather than the hungry young bucks that as destined to play second fiddle to the current crop of elite fighters until they grow old or retire.
Such is the case with virtually every mega-champ in boxing history, however that fact alone does not absolve Arum and his boys from their blatant exploitation of the sport and it’s fan base alike.
That being said, Marquez’ post-2008 career may not have been as flashy or as groundbreaking as Pacquiao’s, but it’s been thrilling nonetheless.
Just 6 short months after his loss to Pacquiao in their second match, Marquez moved up in weight to Lightweight.
Beginning with an unprecedented knockout of Joel Casamayor, Marquez quickly installed himself as a force to be reckoned with in the division.
While back to back victories over Juan Diaz would be soon to follow, as well as over the tough but mercurial Michael Katsidis and unheralded Likar Ramos, in late 2009 Marquez would jump 2 weight classes, to Welterweight, for a horribly one-sided decision loss to Floyd Mayweather.
Many, myself included, felt that Marquez was largely outsized in the Mayweather bout, however given the prodigious nature of Floyd’s boxing skills, personally I don’t think the weight would’ve mattered.
Oddly enough, the controversy of the Mayweather weight issue has arisen once again, as tomorrow night’s rubber match is also to be contested at Welterweight.
While the issue of weight is no doubt an issue many cite as one (of many) factor(s) that will likely lead to Marquez’ defeat tomorrow night, in all honesty I think of it as very much a minor issue cast alongside a host of more important ones.
True, Marquez’ only other performance at Welterweight saw him lose every round and even get dropped once in the process, however one has to bring into consideration the fact that Marquez took that fight on only a few months notice, not to mention he was fighting a pure boxer with a penchant for making people look bad.
In other words, he took it upon himself to not only fight a stylistic mismatch, he also had to craft himself a Welterweight body within a single training camp.
This time however, Marquez was given the opportunity to take part in a tune-up match with Likar Ramos this past July, contested at Jr. Welterweight.
What I’m trying to say here, is that, while he likely isn’t nearly as comfortable at 140+ as Pacquiao is, he’s had much more time to work his way up to the weight the right way.
At least, one would assume that’s how a professional athlete would go about doing things.
That being said, as much as I love Marquez as a fighter, in all honesty I don’t think he’s going to be able to pull off a victory tomorrow night.
At 38 years of age, Marquez is noticeably slowing, and while his ability to adjust and trade punches in the pocket is legendarily formidable, I think Pacquiao’s slippery footwork is going to get the better of him.
To me, Pacquiao’s lucid footwork and ability to create angles are his greatest gifts as a fighter.
At the same time though, both Pacquiao and Marquez have a remarkable willingness to stand and trade punches just a little bit longer than most.
In their previosu fights, whenever the 2 of them decided to exchange combinations, Marquez was highly competitive due to his clever punch placement and overall ruggedness.
The Pacquiao of old was far too willing to play into Marquez’ game, resulting in the rough and tumble fights we’re all fortunate to have tucked away in the annals of boxing history.
In their second fight though, Pacquiao’s finest moments saw him clocking Marquez on his way in, and gracefully slipping behind him.
Given Pacquiao’s steady evolution into an undeniably better and more technically sound fighter in the years since he and Marquez’ second bout, it’s hard for me to see Freddie Roach allowing his fighter to make the same mistakes that even a blog writer like me noticed before.
I expect Pacquiao to work his angles and either box his way to landslide 12 round decision, or failing that, an 8th round TKO.
Though I wholly expect him to take some severe punishment, I don’t see Marquez getting a 10 count on the canvas.
Much like how you could count on Arturo Gatti’s face starting to swell up and/or bleed during his walk from the dressing room, Juan Manuel Marquez is one of those fighters that isn’t really in the fight until you knock him down.
Despite Pacquiao alone putting him to the canvas 4 times over 2 fights, the guy’s never been knocked out, and I honestly don’t think it’ll ever happen via a 10 count.
Going down for Marquez seems almost like a wake up call, like a signal to him that he’s gotta’ change his tactics or pick up the pace.
I sincerely hope Marquez wins tomorrow night, as most boxing trilogies/series arise due to a need to establish a clear victor due to both men trading victories.
Given that neither man won their first fight, it’d make for a good story if Marquez got a win in there somewhere.
Anyway, there’s my prediction.
Pacquiao by UD, or failing that, an 8th TKO stoppage.