Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez will fight at least one more time before they retire. Depending on the outcome of their fifth showdown, there may actually be another one down the line. It is very conceivable that Marquez, should he lose in controversial fashion again, would demand the opportunity to right that wrong before hanging up his gloves.
Either way, though: one more is definitely happening.
There was a very noticeable difference between the first three Pacquiao-Marquez fights we saw between 2004 and 2011, and the one that concluded in jaw-dropping fashion this past December. That difference was evident to everyone who saw all four fights: Marquez’s physique and power was off the charts in the last one.
In the past he was just an expert, absolutely lethal counter-puncher who could catch you off guard at any moment and stun you. Now, with his bolstered strength, Marquez basically became an expert, absolutely lethal counter-puncher who could lay you out face first on the canvas in the blink of an eye.
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That’s it. That was the only difference between these guys’ first three battles and the final one – Marquez’s ridiculous power. If you take that away, you are left with the same sort of bout we had seen on countless occasions prior. There is a reason why Pacquiao was winning the fourth fight before getting knocked out; there is a reason why he won two decisions and got robbed of a third win due to incorrect scoring before the fourth fight.
Marquez’s newfound power was/is a gamechanger.
Pacquiao, Freddie Roach and the rest of Team Pacman will need to account for it this September. Mind you, after his most recent fight, Pacquiao said that his carelessness is what cost him. That’s an accurate assessment, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. The Filipino star was always careless when fighting Marquez, he just never had to deal with the fallout of that carelessness because Marquez lacked the KO power to make him pay.
Now he does.
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It will be absolutely fascinating to see how Roach teaches Pacquiao to stay out of Marquez’s way all the while maintaining the ferocity and aggressiveness that led him to two prior wins. Frankly, it will be interesting to see if that sort of style change is even possible at this late stage in the former champ’s career.
This much is for certain, though: Pacquiao can’t walk into next September’s fight with the same strategy expecting different results. If he does, then he deserves nothing less than the beatdown that will inevitably come his way.