Pac-Man-Marquez II - A Fight For The Ages!
16.03.08 - by James Slater, photo by Naoki Fukuda: The argument as to just who deserved the decision after Saturday's instant classic between Manny Pacquaio and Juan Manuel Marquez, in their superb rematch, will no doubt go on for some time. Yet one thing the fight proved beyond any doubt is the fact that Pac-Man is once again boxing's number one most thrilling operator.
Article posted on 17.03.2008
In his last two bouts, against Jorge Solis and Marco Antonio Barrera, it was clear Manny was not firing on all cylinders. As a result, both fights did not produce the pulsating action Pacquiao fights normally do. Well, guess what - Pac-Man is back to doing what he does best, namely putting the fans attending his fights through absolutely pulse quickening drama. Last night's return bout, four years in the making and all, was nothing short of a majestic and glorious battle.
The fight also asked a number of questions, not least, who actually won? Also, the following posers were put forth; can Pacquiao really go any further up in weight? Will there be a third Pacquiao-Marquez bout, was the rematch even better than March 1st's Vazquez-Marquez rubber match? And, finally, can we simply stop talking about a Pacquiao-Ricky Hatton fight?
Now to answer these questions one by one.
Firstly, for what it's worth, this writer had last night's fight scored as a one point win for Juan Manuel Marquez. The fight was desperately close, however, so the question of who won can only come down to a case of take your pick. One does hope that there are no cries of robbery, though. This fight was too good to be spoiled, at least partially, by any complaints of that nature. The action was dead close, let's leave it at that.
Can Pac-Man go up any further in weight? For a guy who made his pro debut down at a mere 106 pounds, the Filipino superstar has already achieved plenty. But to go up to lightweight? That may be biting off a little more than Manny can chew. Super-featherweight looks, to this writer, anyway, about as successfully high as the 29-year-old can go. As it is, Manny has already earned himself the accolade of being the first boxer from his country to win as many as four world titles in different divisions. In short, Pacquaio doesn't need to take risks by going up any higher, his legacy is already cemented beyond any doubt.
Will there be a third fight? How can there not be? The fights, both one and two, were absolute barnburners, and it could be argued (indeed, it almost certainly will be) that we have yet to see a clear winner in either fight between the two men. As great as fights one and two were, last night's return especially, there will surely be a third clash. Hopefully this year.
Was last night's great fight even better than March 1st's rubber match war between Israel Vazquez and Rafael Marquez? Again, it's down to individual opinion, but I say yes. The drama was absolutely agonising last night, and the action more than delivered. Sure, the March 1st fight between Juan Manuel's brother and the magnificent Israel Vazquez delivered big style too, but for me Pacquaio-Marquez II topped it. Just. Whatever the case, though, we have almost certainly seen 2008's fight of the year - whether or not you think it took place two weeks ago, or just last night.
How about talk of a Pac-Man-Ricky Hatton clash? No. In a word, no. This fight should not happen. Yes, I know Manny enters the ring at around 144 pounds or so, but he is just too small for Hatton. There is no shortage of other, equally intriguing fights out there for Pacquaio, so why go after a natural light-welterweight like "The Hitman?" Such a fight would no doubt prove incredibly lively and dramatic for a while, but it wouldn't be a long while. Manny is not the hardest guy in the world to hit, and get hit hard and often he would by Hatton. Against a man so much naturally bigger, it would simply not be fair. Pacquiao is fearless, and would take the fight in a heartbeat, without question, but this particular mountain would be one too high to climb.
For the time being, however, whatever path he chooses to follow in the coming months, let's all congratulate, not only Manny Pacquaio, but also the equally superb Juan Manuel Marquez, on a fight exceedingly well fought last night at The Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
Without any question, Pacquiao-Marquez II was a fight for the ages!
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