Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez fought for four times during their rivalry and they did it all in their prime. Pacquiao was a slugger and it was only fitting that he was matched by Marquez’s trademark counter punching.
In those four fights, both warriors slugged it out. Every time they fought each other, the whole world stopped and watched two of the icons of the sport go at it with everything that they’ve had. Each bout was an automatic entry as Fight of the Year; the first ended in a split draw despite Pacquiao knocking down Marquez three times in one round. The second and third came in favor of Pacquiao, but some analysts said that it could’ve gone to Marquez’s corner.
Enter the fourth installment. All was hyped. Marquez, confident as ever, promised to have this one under his belt.
And he did.
Pacquiao, with all momentum on his side, rushed towards Marquez in the dying seconds of Round (?). With a short punch (and thanks to the charging Pacman), Marquez knocked out Pacquiao. To say the least, it was his greatest achievement. It took a while for Pacquiao to recover. He was literally knocked out cold. And for boxing fans around the world, it was one of the best knockouts of this generation.
The fourth fight was vindication for Marquez. It sealed the deal between him and Pacquiao. He no longer had anything to prove. For him, it was the sweetest victory of his career.
For his part, Pacquiao reached to Marquez for a rematch. That’s what champions do, in the first place. May it be pride, boxing or plain personal, asking to fight again in a gentleman’s sport is very common. But then again, Marquez refused. He said no to every proposal. We as fans can’t blame him. He was able to put to sleep his nemesis and that’s enough, no matter the reward is for a fifth outing.
If we take it as fan, Pacquiao will literally kill Marquez if he said yes to a fifth fight. Hell, even Pacman felt that he will take the laws of boxing in his hands and give Marquez a run for his money. It was some sort of vindication, vengeance that a fighter with a notoriety of knocking his opponents out – and not him – felt during that time.
Pacquiao vs Marquez is every matchmaker’s dream but unfortunately, the fifth fight didn’t push through. Was Marquez afraid of Pacquiao, knowing that the People’s Champ will do anything and everything to erase his knockout? Or is Marquez thinking that I’ve knocked your icon out, and that’s enough for me. There’s no use for a rematch. My mission is done and that’s that.
Whether it’s fear, sealing the deal or just doing something better than potentially having your teeth knocked out, Marquez played it safe. Again, he has nothing to prove to himself, to fans and to the sport of boxing. But whether or not he was afraid when Pacquiao challenged him to fight again will forever be a question that’s left for us to wonder.