GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/14 Nov) – I am one of opinion that Manny Pacquiao should not have taken a third fight with Juan Manuel Marquez. Sure, the first two fights were close enough to have gone either way. But Pacquiao deserved victories in both of those fights if only because he carried the fight to Marquez being the challenger, and punctuated them by four knockdowns.
I believed then that the business was already finished between him and Marquez and if they were ever to fight again, it should have been a “friendly farewell” match for the Filipino boxing champion, a grudge fight before retirement for both of them maybe late next year or early in 2013.
Economics and the color of money of course dictated Sunday’s third fight between Pacquiao and Marquez.
I also thought given the progress made by Pacquiao over the last three years and the pathetic showing of Marquez against Floyd Mayweather Jr. installed the Mexican a heavy underdog with nary a Chinaman’s chance.
Of course, I was dead wrong. So were many self-proclaimed boxing analysts and experts.
About the only man who was right was Marquez himself. He proved he is the perfect counterfoil to Pacquiao. He defied all odds. Hell, he even convinced a lot that he won the third of their trilogy.
Now comes Top Rank’s Bob Arum who said he will be working out a fourth fight between his prized ward and Marquez.
I have high respects for Arum and what he has done for Pacquiao.
But I guess this time around, a fourth fight can only be motivated by greed.
Arum and the rest in Team Pacquiao, including Freddie Roach, should leave it at that. Let Marquez whine till he drops. Let the bloodhounds salivate till their tongues dry out.
Never mind if the Pacquiao-Marquez saga will be debated no end. Never mind if in the deep recesses of many they believed Pacquiao and Marquez never decisively settled their own issues.
That is the beauty of greatness. There will always be one to which you are measured against with. There is always one that will provide you the rivalry.
A fourth one could end the same way as their first three fights and it will still not resolve the issue of who is the better boxer.
Pacquiao cannot forever fight Marquez. Just as Marquez cannot hope to get the rematches he thinks he deserves.
Both will have to move on, lest another folly takes it tolls on their health and physicality.
Looked at what happened to both Muhammad Ali and the late Joe Frazier.
They owned one of boxing’s great rivalries. Yet they were never the same men after their third fight. They would lose majority of their fights after they engaged each other in a near death 1975 encounter in the “Thrilla in Manila” episode of their trilogy.
Ali would lose his reflexes in suffering from Parkinson’s disease long before he can enjoy his retirement. Before he died of liver cancer, Frazier too was afflicted with the disease that left Ali debilitated.
One need not ponder that on the night Pacquiao and Marquez fought for the third time, a video tribute was shown at the video board of MGM Grand Garden Resort and a minute-long silence was observed.
Marquez knows how hard-fought rivalries will take the sap out of even the best boxers in the history of the sports. His younger brother Rafael engaged Israel Vasquez in four brutal encounters they are now bound for retirement.
The Mexican is even thinking of hanging his gloves for good. For his goodness, I hope he does.
Marquez has nothing left to prove. He may have lost two of his fights with Pacquiao but these close defeats only cemented his legacy as one of Mexico’s purest boxers. And his place in the boxing Hall of Fame is now secured.
All that he should thank Manny Pacquiao.
After all, only Pacquiao gave him the real chance to prove his greatness. Fellow Mexicans and contemporaries Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera avoided him while the three were on their peak. They robbed him of his early entry to boxing stardom. Pacquiao gave him two chances.
Nothing to be ashamed of even if he went down in two controversial fashions. (Edwin G. Espejo writes for www.asiancorrespondent.com.)