Marquez-Pacquiao: Will It Be Worth The Wait?

By Boxing News - 03/12/2008 - Comments

By Nate Anderson: For some boxing fans, this fight has come too late and it’s not the same as it could have been. However, for most people, they could care less how long they had to wait, it’s worth it none the less. On Saturday night, Manny Pacquiao (45-3-2, 35 KOs), considered to be one of the Pound for Pound best fighters in boxing, will challenge WBC featherweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez (48-3, 35 KOs) in a rematch of their 2004 bout, which resulted in a disappointing draw. Both fighters are four years older now and look slightly different from the natural process of aging, along with a few more battle scars.

In their first bout, Marquez came close to being stopped in the first round after getting knocked down three separate times by Pacquiao. Somehow, Marquez made it out of the round and came back determined in the subsequent rounds as he took control over the fight, making it close in the end. The fight, however, was ruled a draw and many fans and writers alike were decidedly unhappy with the final results. There had been hope that Pacquiao and Marquez would fight a rematch shortly thereafter, but for a number of reasons it never happened.

A year later, Pacquiao was beaten by Erik Morales, a defeat that Pacquiao would later avenge twice over. However, other than that lone defeat to Morales and his draw with Marquez, Pacquiao has been almost unbeatable since then. Other than Marquez, there has been no other opponents in sight with the talent and prospects of beating Pacquiao. For that reason, as well as the unfinished business of the first fight, there’s been a huge cry for the two to get back in the ring and finally settle things. Whether the four years was too long, matters little. Whoever wins this fight, they’ll be considered the top fighter in the super featherweight division. Marquez, 34, seemed to have Pacquio pegged in the first bout.

However, Pacquiao has improved immensely since that time, and is no longer the one-handed fighter that he was then. He’s now learned how to use his right hand, which he is almost as deadly with as his left, using it to hook off the jab and catch his opponents by surprise. Marquez, a noted counter puncher, will have to account of Pacquiao’s right hand if he figures on being successful on Saturday night. That and his blinding speed, which Pacquiao still has much of. This bout can go either way, depending on how well Marquez does in the early rounds.

I don’t see Pacquiao being able to knock him out, because Marquez is too good for that, but if Pacquiao can knock him down once or twice in the early rounds that will help establish an early lead he can build on. If there’s no knockdowns, then I see Marquez winning by decision. Pacquiao fades late in his fights and loses much of his power. Once Marquez gets him to the deep end, he can win the fight by counter punching.