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De La Hoya’s Golden Goodbye Card

by Nick Kelly: It was entitled ‘Unfinished Business’ but even after Michael Buffer announced the split decision scorecards we were no nearer to knowing who is the superior of Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao.

Ever since the synonymous draw between the two in 2004, arguments have raged that either fighter could and should have been the victor.

With both fighters excelling over the intervening couple of years and elevating to the number two and three spots in Ring Magazine’s pound for pound rankings, the debate has only inflamed.

And after Saturday night the deliberation is even more likely to continue. A single point swayed the result in favour of the Philippino at the Mandalay Bay Saturday, much like the last time whereby a single point resulted in a draw and not a Pacquiao decision.

The outcome also presented an uncanny resemblance to that of Marquez’s brother Rafael, who at the start of the month lost a split decision to Israel Vazquez by a solitary point.

Fans immediately clamoured for a fourth fight, something both fighters acknowledged might be a possibility for the future.

Pacquaio however seemed non-committal about a possible third bout with Juan Manuel Marquez, insisting he would fight David Diaz in an attempt to become a four-weight champion.

We must bear in mind that this was David Diaz who only just eked past the over the hill Erik Morales last year. In contrast, Pacquiao blitzed Morales in his fight prior to Diaz, sending him to the canvas three times before it was stopped in the third.

Rumours persist that Pac-man would then consider a ridiculous battle with Ricky Hatton, a bout that has about as much credibility as an alleged Israel Vazquez Jorge Arce confrontation.

Instead of attempting to sell 60,000 tickets for a bout against Steve Forbes which bears little credence to his legacy or to the world scene of boxing, Oscar De La Hoya could attempt to set up a card featuring both showdowns between Pacquiao and Juan Manuel and Rafael Marquez and Israel Vazquez.

It may seem wishful thinking but a card of that quality would surely garner huge interest from HBO and fans alike. An open air event in late summer would attract thousands, and if promoted well, could definitely rack up huge ticket sales.

If Oscar De La Hoya is to give back to the fans in his final year as a boxer it would be to set up both these bouts (even if not on the same card), assuring him the recognition as boxing’s biggest promoter and biggest star.

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