No fighter has ever given Manny Pacquiao as much trouble in the ring as Juan Manuel Marquez. Be it because of stylistic or technical issues, the Mexican-born Marquez has consistently found a way to not only surprise Pacquiao in each of their three fights, but also to shock the fans who dismissed his prospects going in.
Last November, during the pair’s most recent battle to date, Marquez came through with a heroic showing that initially had many feeling like he won the match. When the judges ultimately ruled it in Pacquiao’s favor, the fans in attendance booed the Filipino champion and, in some cases, threw things at the ring.
In the days following that bout, sports writers and analysts absolutely destroyed Pacquiao’s performance. Many even went so far as to question whether he really deserved to be on top of Floyd Mayweather Jr. on the various pound-for-pound rankings. (Several notable ones demoted him to No. 2 shortly thereafter.)
Realizing that there was a substantial total of boxing fans out there who believed he didn’t deserve to beat Marquez in at least one of their three showdowns, Pacquiao made it clear that he wasn’t opposed to squaring off against his Mexican counterpart for a fourth time. Unfortunately, between the standard Mayweather drama and the eventual scheduling of bout between Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley, everyone lost track of Pacquiao vs. Marquez IV.
Check out what fight promoter/manager Wakee Salud said recently regarding fans seeing Marquez get one last shot at his arch rival (via Manila Bulletin):
Salud, who is currently joining Pacquiao in Cebu for a three-day personal and business visit, said there seems to be no escaping Marquez.
“One of Manny's remaining two or three fights will be against Marquez,” said Salud.
“It'll be very, very tough like the three fights they've had but I am more optimistic this time because in the fourth fight, Manny will finally prove that he is the better man.”
How feasible is this match? Well, it depends.
Marquez is scheduled to take on on Sergey Fedchenko on April 14. If he loses, obviously he won’t get a shot at Pacquiao. If he wins, though, he immediately gets pushed back into the discussion for the Filipino champion’s virtually guaranteed end of 2012 match. Outside of Mayweather, there is a case to be made for him being the most legitimate available option.
A lot can change between now and the end of the year, clearly, but the fact that this possible match is being floated to the public now means that folks are thinking about it. And if folks are thinking about it, that’s as good a reason as any to have it.
Pacquiao’s career is winding down. Not because of God’s influence like he insists, but because of the natural aging process. He’s far closer to the end of his career than he is to the beginning. In the few fights he has left in him, there isn't much out there that would cooler for boxing fans than seeing one of the greatest rivalries in the The Sweet Science’s history live and on display one last time.
Is a fourth fight between Pacquiao and Marquez inevitable? We can only hope.