MARQUEZ IN “NO WIN” SITUATION VS. PACQUIAO?
New York, NY- Although the fight has not been signed, it looks like Juan Manuel Marquez (52-5-1 38 KOs) has a solid shot at becoming Manny Pacquiao’s (53-3-2 38 KOs) next opponent. But Marquez must first defeat David Diaz (36-3-1 17 KOs) in July, before getting his third shot at the current ‘pound for pound’ king. A third match between JMM and the Pacman seems made to order as Marquez is one of the only opponents to give Manny any trouble in recent years despite being unable to defeat him. But that was a few years ago. With all things considered, could the outcome be any different today?
INITIAL ENCOUNTER DISPLAYED JMM’S WILL & COURAGE
In their first meeting in 2004, both Pac and JMM met at the featherweight (126 lb.) limit. At the time Pacquiao was virtually a one handed, raw pugilist looking to make a name for himself. Pac gained a strong lead early by knocking Marquez down three times in the first round, also breaking his nose. The only real controversy here, was how could Manny have let this guy get away? I remember this watching this bout and wondering why Pacquiao couldn’t get this guy out of there. But credit goes to Marquez for surviving, adjusting and boxing his way back into the fight. The outcome was a draw.
MARQUEZ-PACMAN II A GAMBLE FOR BOTH MEN
The last time the two met was in the spring of 2008 and both fighters grew into the jr. lightweight (130 lb.) limit. In a close and entertaining bout, Marquez survived another early knockdown in the third, to make a similar statement as he did in the first bout. He adjusted. But despite Marquez’s efforts, he failed to convince the judges, as two of the three believed Pacquiao won on points. It was a somewhat controversial decision, but nothing to really bring before the commission. In reality, the knockdown and a couple close rounds were the real reasons that cost Marquez the victory. Manny wins by split decision.
ON PAPER, MARQUEZ VICTORY LOOKS IMPROBABLE
Looking at both fighters last few opponents, it would be hard to imagine Marquez in Manny’s position. I don’t see him naturally beating welterweights, Joshua Clottey, Antonio Margarito (now Jr. middleweight) or Shane Mosley. And Manny would likely devour lightweights, Michael Katsidis, Juan Diaz and Joel Casamayor like a piranha. And with Manny being the bigger man on fight night, logic would dictate that it may be an easy night. Because if Manny is breaking apart bigger men, then a smaller man not necessarily even out the playing field. Especially an aging adversary he’s already beaten with less tools and experience.
PACMAN A BIGGER & BETTER FIGHTER IN 2011
If Manny was good a few years ago, he’s even better today. As boxing’s biggest crossover star, he’s transcended many of the natural limitations of the sport by dominating world class opponents in eight weight divisions. In his last bout he turned a once crowd pleasing warrior and former welterweight (147 lb) champion “Sugarless” Shane Mosley into a lumpy bag of salt. After a rumor that Manny received steroids from a former sparring partner, Mosley quickly jumped on the bandwagon suggesting that it must be true. He has since stated that he has never been hit that hard and doesn’t even remember two of the subsequent rounds following his knockdown in the third. It’s hard to imagine Marquez, who’s been down several times, against several opponents to fare much better.
“CATCH-WEIGHT” ISSUE A MAJOR PROBLEM FOR MARQUEZ
Another thing to consider is that Marquez would still need to make it up to a catch-weight, not in his favor to face Manny. Marquez previously agreed to face Floyd Mayweather at 144 lbs, the same proposed catch weight for his bout with Pacquiao but complained it was too much weight gain to compete at his best. Since Marquez hasn’t fought anyone above lightweight since, it’s not logical that it would be to his advantage now. He also hasn’t beaten anyone in the loaded Jr. welterweight (140 lb.) division yet, which would have seemed like a logical step.
FIGHT WILL MOST LIKELY HAPPEN ANYWAY
With a likely guaranteed fight purse of $5 million dollars, I’m sure it’s hard for Marquez to turn down a payday bigger than he has ever made before. It’s also a fight he’s wanted for a few years and at 37 he probably realizes can’t chase Pacquiao forever. But with that said, a third bout would only determine if Manny was better once and for all. Or at best for Marquez, it would make the two even in a trilogy spanning five years. Even though I personally don’t give Marquez much of a chance here, we will likely see this November bout anyway. It’s not that Marquez has no chance at all, as the odds are against him in every direction and unfortunately that’s just the way it is.