This is what makes the Pacquio-Marquez II fight a tough match to call. The two had fought to a controversial draw before and chances are they might again give us a Fight of the Year candidate offering just like their first encounter.
But will it be a split draw again?
Oppps. Not so fast.
The March 15 rematch between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez will both be a strategic and tactical battle.
He who imposes his will and sticks to his game plan when it suits him shall win the supremacy over strategy. But he who adapts to every adversity every single minute of the fight will have to bring with him a bag of tactical plans.
Confused? Well, the Pacquiao-Marquez II will be a battle of strategy and tactics.
The two protagonists have the styles of their opponents to their own likings.
Manny is like the mighty Philippine eagle who swiftly darts in and unloads his patented left straights and is gone before his prey even knew it has been struck. And his punches now are coming from all angles.
Marquez is more like a rattle snake who strikes at the slightest provocation with his deadly combinations. That is why he loves to stand toe to toe with his opponents.
But both have since evolved to become better boxers than when they first met.
Manny is no longer the one-dimensional fighter he once was criticized. He as added a repertoire of powerful rights hooks both to the body and to head off the left jabs of his opponents and devastating uppercuts from both hands. He is harder to pin down for more than three seconds and has developed a granite-like chin. His speed is still there and he spins even quicker, giving everyone difficult angles to square off their counters.
Marquez on the other hand has added aggressiveness to his otherwise predictable style of fighting, knowing perhaps that his pure counterpunching would not sell big.
Who gets the good measure against his opponents will not just be confined to Pacquiao or Marquez.
Their rematch extends to their corners and promoters, too.
In Freddie Roach, Manny has one of the best cornerman in the business today. Top Rank’s Bob Arum has repeatedly admitted that Manny is his crown jewel among his stable of marquee fighters. Arum had definitely bigger plans for Manny and hurdling past Marquez will open up more doors of opportunity for his ward.
With Nacho Beristain, Marquez has developed into one of the best counterpunchers in all of boxing today. Marquez signed with Oscar dela Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions after years of lurking in the shadow of other Mexican featherweight and super featherweight greats Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera.
So, in a way, when Pacquiao and Marquez go for the World Boxing Council super featherweight title on March 15, it is a fight that extends beyond their quest to settle an unfinished business.
It also means owning the bragging rights for both their respective trainers and promoters. (Edwin G. Espejo was former editor in chief of SunStar General Santos City)