There wasn’t much doubt that Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez would fight again, but it's good to finally have official confirmation.
After three very interesting bouts, Pacquiao and Marquez met this past December with the intention of ending their rivalry once and for all. The latter believed he was robbed of victory on three separate occasions; the former felt that he earned three consecutive victories and only got credit for two of them. (The pair’s first match was ruled a draw; later it was determined that a scoring error by one of the judges essentially cost Pacquiao the fight.)
And so, given their history, all involved agreed that the fourth fight would answer everybody's questions. If Pacquiao won, that would confirm that he was just a better boxer than Marquez. If Marquez won, it wouldn’t really matter because Pacquiao won on two occasions prior.
The problem was, nobody expected for that fight to end the way it did. Everyone agreed that the notion of a Marquez win was feasible. He had come close on several occasions prior. There appeared to be a very real chance that the judges would hand Marquez a controversial victory. But a sixth round knockout? A knockout that devastating? Nobody saw it coming.
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Comparing decision victories to decision victories is easy. Comparing two tight decision victories to a stunning, memorable KO? Not so much. After their fourth fight, everything we ever knew about the Pacquiao-Marquez rivalry got thrown into question.
Hence a fifth fight being so essential.
In the immediate aftermath of the fourth fight, Pacquiao came out and said he wanted a rematch. Marquez, however, hesitated. His wife wanted him to retire and the prospect of going out on top clearly appealed to him. For a while there, the last week or so, it really seemed as though he was heavily weighing the idea of simply walking away.
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On Wednesday, in an interview with Boxing Scene, Marquez’s promoter announced that his guy would stick around for one more match. Apparently his wife had given him the greenlight, and the prospect of a massive, international payday was too much to pass up on.
"Juan Manuel Márquez already confirmed to me that he plans to continue [his career] in boxing and [told me] it is necessary to begin to review offers, to see the plans, to begin [the next steps] the following big fight [from last December]. He already spoke with his wife and children, with his family, and they support him in continuing [his career]," Fernando Beltran said.
"The two fighters do not want to pay so many taxes, and yes there is the possibility that it will happen in Macau, which is something that [Top Rank CEO] Bob [Arum] likes. [Arum] will do a show [in Macau] in April and he will see what we can do there and what kind of purses [we can get for the fighters] and other aspects. But there is also the new arena in Mexico City."
So there you have it: it’s official. Regardless of where and when it goes down, this fight will likely be one of the most highly anticipated ones of the last decade. Prior to Pacquiao-Marquez IV, the rivalry had gotten a bit old. That all changed with one well-timed sixth round counterpunch.
A fifth fight is happening, folks. Get excited.