Prediction: Manny Pacquiao vs Juan Manuel Marquez IV
On December 8 at the MGM in Vegas, Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez meet for a 4th time. All three encounters have been close, with Pacquiao holding a 2-0-1 edge. While there has been good action between these fighters, they are not a good match in terms of a fight having an organic result. When they fight, it basically comes down to the opinions of 3 judges. You hate to see boxing history decided on something as arbitrary as that–with three people splitting hairs over who won a round where there was nothing to separate the boxers.
So you basically have two fighters here who fight on even terms, with perhaps a little built-in scorecard juice for Pacquiao, 33, with him being the top honcho. Be that as it may, I reject the notion that Marquez, 39, won any of the three fights by any type of clear margin. He has perhaps been unlucky to not get a decision in three separate fights where there was no clear winner, but one can’t really say that he has been “robbed” of victory.
- Date: December 8, 2012
- Site: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada
- Weight Class: Welterweight (12 Rounds)
Manny Pacquiao, 54-4-2 (38 KOs)
Juan Manuel Marquez, 54-6-1 (39 KOs)
Theoretically, a 4th fight between two top guys who are well-matched is a good thing, but I can’t help but look at this as sloppy matchmaking. How much glory is there in beating a 40-year old lightweight at this point? Even if Pacquiao flipped the script and were able to dominate Marquez, I’m not sure it would be more than just a good win. It’s highly-likely that won’t happen. It will probably be another tight one with another inclusive result. I’m not sure that’s in the best interest of Pacquiao at this stage of his career.
You’d think at this point, they would put Pacquiao in there with someone new, an aggressive fighter he can tee of on where he could look good. Instead, they’re throwing him in with a guy that is just made to give him trouble. No one was really clamoring for this. The first fight was a doozy. The second one had some dramatic moments. The third one was OK, but hardly a barn-burner. It’s not getting any better or conclusive.
I really don’t like the fight for Pacquiao. He didn’t need to do this. There was no huge outcry for a 4th fight. He’s running out of time and shouldn’t spend it mired in rapidly-tiring rivalries where the outcome is very likely to be up in the air–in the hands of judges who have little to choose from when it comes to winning rounds. Marquez in Manny’s Ken Norton, but even Ali drew the line after three fights.
Both guys are past their peak now. Let’s face it. Rather than plummeting down the hill, however, each man has managed to cling to the peak to avoid the free-fall from the top. The result is that unlike other rivalries, this one figures to have the same look since neither guy has fallen off. This pairing almost goes back a decade to their first fight. The closeness of the match-up remains the same, though their diminishing form and high levels of familiarity are now resulting in lower-quality fights.
I feel Pacquiao has gotten a raw deal by some in the media. By most people’s accounts, he handily defeated an unbeaten Timothy Bradley. When the decision came down, it was greeted with outrage by the vast majority of fans and press. The dubious decision did not stop many, however, from using the fight as license to drop Pacman down a peg or two. Mayweather became the unanimous top dog on almost all PFP lists. Even guys like Andre Ward and Sergio Martinez passed Pacquiao on some lists.
While Manny might no longer be at his physical peak, it is a bit harsh to strip him of his standing from a year or two ago. What really changed? He had a close fight with a guy in Marquez who always fights him close. Then he got the bad end of a decision that was almost unanimously rejected by all in the sport.
I’m not so sure I disagree with the thought process behind dropping Pacquiao down a slot or two, even if the results do not warrant it. We’re talking about a guy with almost 15 years at the championship level, having won the WBC Flyweight title back in 1998. That was the same year Monica Lewinsky was in the news for her tryst with President Bill Clinton. That’s a long time ago, but for a boxer–it’s a really long time.
The body starts breaking down a little after such a long time in a punishing sport such as boxing. At this stage, things start happening that make it a lot harder to perform at your peak. Get old and you’ll see what it’s like. While the boxing I do is on a Mickey Mouse level, I know what it’s like to have a calf just explode in the middle of a round with little provocation. These are things that Pacquiao is dealing with now.
I think it’s fair to say Marquez has a little more juice in the longevity category. Though Pacquiao’s legacy will heavily outweigh the work of Marquez on a historical level at the end of the day, I don’t see Manny being still at the top at age 39. But lets pump the brakes a little on this talk of Manny slipping. In most people’s eyes, he amply defeated a tough assignment in Tim Bradley. During the fight and before the decision was announced, I didn’t hear a lot of talk of Pacquiao’s erosion. Only after the decision did any of this talk surface. I’m not sure that is just cause to spark all this discussion of Pacquiao’s supposed slide.
Pacquiao vs. Marquez 4 Prediction
The playing field between these two hasn’t appreciably changed. We’re only a year removed from their last fight. You have the athleticism and explosiveness of Pacquiao pitted against the superior craftsmanship of Marquez. Pacquiao will be more eye-catching with his flashy southpaw leads, while the stoic and steely Marquez will stand his ground and fire back with composed counters. Rinse and repeat. Score the close round. Add it all up. Announce the winner.
Sometimes judges subconsciously will make up for past injustices. That’s why you see Lennox Lewis get wide scores in his favor in the Holyfield rematch. Evander went from getting too much credit in the first fight to not enough credit in the rematch. The dynamic is a bit different here. Marquez wasn’t the one who benefited from a bad decision and if anything, he’s the one who has been shortchanged a bit in their first three fights. Still, I see some elements at play that lead me to think the judges will not be unkind to Pacquiao. Not that the arbiters will go out of their way to score rounds for Pacquiao, but a little residual sympathy could creep into the picture.
Boxing is a sport where the unexpected can almost be expected. There is a chance a few wrinkles here and there could throw this fight into a different light and tip the scales more in one guy’s favor. The fight will be more at Manny’s suiting at the full welterweight limit of 147 pounds. In addition, both camps are speaking of strategic overhauls. I just think we’re dealing with two guys who are very experienced and set in their ways. Throw in their familiarity and it will likely give way to a fight that has the same look as the last one.
If that happens, it’s probably another close win for Pacquiao. It would be nice to see a spike in the flatline, but after 3 fights where you have to nit-pick to determine a winner, why would it change now?
Prediction: Manny Pacquiao wins by close unanimous decision.