The first three fights between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez were nothing if not controversial. Both men performed incredibly well each time, and both made strong enough cases for themselves to earn victory in the eyes of their many, many supporters.
Ultimately, when it was all said and done, the pair fought to a draw in their first bout, and then Pacquiao went on to claim wins in the next two.
Despite the fact that he has yet to actually beat his Filipino counterpart, Marquez maintains that he has been robbed by the judges on three separate occasions. Many of the fans who have religiously followed this rivalry for years would agree that the judges gave Pacquiao an extra nudge in their fight last November; however, it was a very light nudge. Both men did enough to win, and usually when that is the case, the decision goes to the champion.
The one point that everyone who enters this discussion without bias comes back to, though, is that it is impossible to be robbed three times. You can definitely be robbed once, and if Pacquiao-Marquez III was the only time these two had ever fought, Marquez might have a case. Unfortunately, when you have failed to record a win over the same guy on three separate occasions, regardless of how impressive you looked each time, it’s hard to make the case for judging malfeasance.
All of that being said, something good may come from Marquez’s belief that the judges have robbed him of three wins versus Pacquiao. Similarly, something good may come from the way that Pacquiao was robbed against Timothy Bradley. Bob Arum accurately noted what those good things would be during a recent interview with Chris Robinson of The Examiner:
“Understand what’s happened here, is the first three fights, Pacquiao won two and one was a draw,” said Arum.
“So, the one who was complaining about the officials was Marquez. Now, after the [Tim] Bradley fight, when everybody, including Manny, saw himself winning it easily, and it goes the other way, now Manny is troubled about the officials.
“You have two fighters who don’t trust the judges and they’re going to take it in their own hands,” Arum added.
“You’re going to see two guys fight aggressively and go for a knockout. It means that Marquez is going to forget about counterpunching and go after and attack Manny. Marquez feels he has enough strength now, that he can take out Pacquiao. It’s not going to be anything like the first three fights.”
Arum’s point can’t be stressed enough. Any sense of comfort that Pacquiao may have had about getting an extra push from the judges is gone now. He has to go all out – just like Marquez. That is what could make this bout different from the first three.
What do you think: will this one end with a KO? Or are both men physically incapable of downing each other at this point in their careers?