Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez have established one of the greatest rivalries in the history of boxing. Time after time, against the odds, both men put on unexpectedly amazing shows full of entertainment, surprises and legitimate competition. They’ve done it three times to date, and a fourth one has not entirely been ruled out yet.
Let me be the first to throw down the gauntlet – rule it out.
As great as Paquiao versus Marquez has been, there is something to be said for the fact that Marquez has never been able to earn an actual victory. Now, you can blame biased or incompetent judging for that, and you could probably make a legitimate case for either. However, how many times do we need to see Marquez almost beat Pacquiao before we get the point?
Back in 1999, Portland Trail Blazers shooting guard Ruben Patterson took to calling himself “The Kobe Stopper,” claiming he was the only player in the league who could stop Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant. That was nonsense, of course. Patterson stopped Bryant exactly once over the course of his career, only to get burned by the young Lakers superstar on all subsequent occasions.
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Well, Marquez is the Pacquiao Stopper. For whatever reason, be it more style- or substance-related, Marquez has the Filipino champion’s number. We all know and acknowledge this fact.
But that's not grounds for a fourth fight between them.
And now that we are some days removed from that epic Pacquiao vs. Marquez III showdown, it’s safe to say that enough is enough. Let’s get Pacquiao a new opponent.
Let's also make that new opponent someone who promises to challenge Pacquiao more than Marquez ever could – i.e. longtime rival, Floyd Mayweather Jr.
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During a recent interview with NYFightBlog, trainer Freddie Roach admitted that he wants to see his guy, Pacquiao, seek out Mayweather as his next opponent.
"For me, Mayweather is the number one choice to fight next. I'm trying to get hold of Manny, to get his feelings on it. If the choice is $30 million to fight Marquez or Mayweather for $100 million in the biggest fight of all time, I'm sure he'd go for Mayweather. But I haven't had the chance to talk to him."
As usual, Roach is the voice of reason in the Pacquiao camp. If Top Rank CEO Bob Arum is like a little devil that makes himself at home on one side of the No.1 pound-for-pounder’s shoulders, Roach is the angel counterbalance to that.
He’s right, obviously. Everyone wants to see Pacquiao take on Mayweather, even the folks who feel as though Marquez deserves another crack at him.
The time has come – let’s set Pacquiao versus Mayweather up and finally answer who the better fighter is, once and for all.