By: William Holmes
If you walk into a bar on Saturday night and you see Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez on the TV, don’t worry, you’re not watching a rerun.
Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank
Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez will fight for the fourth time on Saturday night in the welterweight division. Trilogies are common amongst arch rivals, but it’s rare to see a rivalry so close and so disputed that the contestants fight four times.
On Saturday night Top Rank Promotions presents a PPV card with three world title fights and a main event between two of the top pound for pound boxers in the world. Ironically, the main event is not for a world title.
The following is a preview of the televised bouts on the PPV card.
Patrick Hyland (27-0) vs. Javier Fortuna (20-0); WBA Interim Featherweight Title
Patrick Hyland is handled by Snooki and has fought several times in the United States since he teamed up with her. He’s not exactly an exciting fighter, but when you have a big name star backing you you’re bound to get noticed by the boxing community.
Hyland is 29 years old and he’s long overdue to make his move for a legitimate world title. He isn’t known for his power, only 12 of his 27 victories have come by way of KO or TKO. He defeated former Pacquiao opponent Emmanuel Lucero by decision, but Lucero is in the midst of a seven fight losing streak. Other than Lucero most of Hyland’s opponents are average at best. He did beat Frankie Archuleta, but he has yet to take a fight that most would consider a “risk”.
His opponent, Javier Fortuna, is younger and more powerful. Fortuna, a southpaw, has 15 KO/TKO’s on his record and has only boxed 64 professional rounds. He won the Pan American Silver Medal as an amateur and won the Gold Medal at the Domincian National Championships.
Fortuna took his first “risky” fight against Yuandale Evans in April of 2012 and he won by a 1st round TKO. He later took on former champion Cristobal Cruz in July of this year and won by 2nd round TKO.
Fortuna is younger than Hyland, faster than Hyland, and more powerful than Hyland. He’ll also beat Hyland on Saturday.
Mercito Gesta (26-0) vs. Miguel Angel Vazquez (31-3); IBF Lightweight Title
The second title bout of the evening is between Filipino boxer Mercito Gesta and Miguel Angel Vazquez in the lightweight division.
Miguel Vazquez is much better than his record appears as his only losses came to junior middleweight champion Saul Alvarez in the welterweight division and Timothy Bradley in the light welterweight division. Vazquez has never lost in the lightweight division.
Vazquez isn’t known for his power, as only 13 of his victories have come by way of KO or TKO, but he is known for his frustrating style as he pop shots his opponent from the outside and then moving before he can get hit.
Vazquez was the first fighter to defeat Breidis Prescott after Prescott defeated Amir Khan. He’s also defeated Marvin Quintero and Ji-Hoon Kim. Vazquez will also have a considerable height and reach advantage, as well as experience advantage over his opponent.
Gesta was most likely helped by being a Filipino in order to get on this card and receiving a title shot. He’s from Cebu, Philippines and is a southpaw like Manny Pacquiao. He has 14 stoppages on his record so he’s about even on power with Vazquez.
Gesta however has never faced an veteran as crafty as Vazquez. To Gesta’s credit, all of his opponents since 2007 have had winning records, and his last opponent Ty Barnett was a decent fighter, but he’s making a big step up in competition.
Vazquez can be beat, but Gesta won’t be the man to beat him.
Michael Farenas (34-3-4) vs. Yuriorkis Gamboa (21-0); WBA Super Featherweight Title
This fight will not be close.
Gamboa is one of the best pound for pound boxers in the world and has never been beaten. He was previously promoted by Top Rank but has recently been picked up by 50 Cent’s promotional company. Gamboa is a four time Cuban national champion, a 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist, and a former WBA and IBF Featherweight champion.
Gamboa is three years the elder of Farenas but is also close to the same height. He has incredible power, 16 of his victories have come by way of KO or TKO. He has also easily defeated some of the best boxers in the featherweight and super featherweight divisions. His victories against Daniel Ponce De Leon, Jorge Solis, Orlando Salido, Jonathan Victor Barros, and Rogers Mtagwa looked easy.
Farenas’ best chance at winning is to catch Gamboa early and score an early KO or TKO. He has 26 stoppages on his record and that is an impressive feat for the southpaw.
But he’s never faced an opponent on Gamboa’s level. Not even close. His last fight against Takashi Uchiyama ended in a draw. Before that he had won seven fights in a row, but two of those fights were split decisions. He lost to Marlon Aguilar in 2010 and has two losses to lesser known opponents early on in his career.
It will be a shocking upset if Farenas wins on Saturday. It won’t happen.
Juan Manuel Marquez (54-6-1) vs. Manny Pacquiao (54-4-2); Welterweight
If you’re a fan of boxing, you likely have a strong opinion of who won the “trilogy” between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez.
But here’s something to chew on. In their three past fights, Pacquiao out landed Marquez 481-468, and he knocked Marquez down a total of four times while being knocked down a total of zero times.
To say Marquez got robbed all three times is to simply not be objective.
Pacquiao is also coming off a loss. Granted nearly everyone thought he won his fight with Timothy Bradley, but Pacquiao has bounced back from defeat before. He has never lost two fights in a row.
Pacquiao is six years the younger of Marquez and has boxed nearly 100 less total professional rounds than him. Marquez has also only fought once in the past year. Father time is not on his side and an old fighter can age rather quickly if he’s inactive.
To list the accomplishments and list the vanquished opponents of both fighters is unnecessary. If you’re reading this, you know how good they are. They’re evenly matched and know each other’s tendencies very well.
Marquez is only 0.5” taller than Pacquiao, and they have the same reach. Pacquiao has the speed advantage, but they are about even when it comes to power. Pacquiao has 38 KO/TKO’s on his record while Marquez has 39.
However, it should be noted that Pacquiao hasn’t had a stoppage victory in five fights. His last TKO came in 2009, over three years ago.
It’s obvious that Pacquiao is slipping, but is he a shot boxer? No. His last five fights (except for Marquez) have come against opponents who are naturally much bigger than him and have to cut weight to make the welterweight limit. Pacquiao does not.
Pacquiao has a lot to prove and the critics are getting louder and louder with each and every fight. The fourth time he fights Marquez will be the last time he fights him, but it will also be the first time he stops him.
If Marquez hasn’t been able to develop a strategy to stop Pacquiao by now, he never will be able to.