By Chris Cella
Prior to Saturday’s fourth fight between former champions Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao, the excitement for the showdown seemed to be dwindling. Fans and critics around the world voiced that the fight didn’t hold much bearing…it wasn’t for a title, both men appeared to have already given the sport their best years, it shouldn’t be on Pay-Per-View, etc.
Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank
Well, stats speak for themselves, and according to NSAC, Pacquiao/Marquez did a gate of $10,888,890, with 15,402 tickets sold, 0 unsold, and 908 comps.
And when the bell rang to commence the 37th round of the epic series between two of the games best warriors, both fighters came out as if they were fighting for their lives. Since neither fighter had anything to lose, it was expected they would put on a show and leave it all in the ring. But what wasn’t expected is that they would put on a favored candidate for “Fight of the Year.”
Marquez stated going into the fight that in order to win, he knew he had to knockout the eight divisional champion. Few believed he would. He did, with a vicious right hand flush to Pac Man’s chin with one second left in the sixth round…the punch that shook the boxing world.
Less than 24 hours after the KO loss, he spoke out.
“That’s sports,” Pacquiao told abc-cbsnews.com. “You win some, you lose some. If you don’t want to lose, don’t fight. Let’s accept it.”
Pac Man humbly went on to give affirmations to Marquez, and said he deserved the victory.
While there were mentions of a fifth war with Marquez, Pac Man simply smiled and said, “Let’s see.”
Manny Pacquiao has fought a decorated career and has earned the top regards as one of the best fighters to ever lace up the gloves. There is no question he will return, and Top Rank already has the date of April 20 in mind…opponent to be determined.
Bob Arum told the LA Times, “The world wants to see these two guys fight again more than it wants to see Mayweather, fighting in his style. I can’t predict that fight’s dead forever, but I can tell you right now nobody’s talking about Mayweather.”
Although ‘nobody’ is talking about Mayweather, it doesn’t mean the undefeated champion has nothing to say.
“Manny Pacquiao is a true champion,” Mayweather told FightHype.com. “I think he’s got so many different things going on the outside that he worries about, you know. But it was a good thing he was able to come into the sport, you know, piggyback off my name, and get a bunch of endorsement deals and make a good living. That’s a great living.”
About the possibility of their mega fight being put on hold due to the KO, Mayweather continued, “Pacquiao’s focus should be trying to take a vacation, get his mind right, and get a few tune-up fights so he can bounce back. I feel bad for him honestly. I really feel bad for him. I know he loves the sport of boxing, so hopefully he can bounce back.”
Although Marquez’s vicious right may be the nail in the coffin that puts the unrelenting Mayweather/Pac Man super fight discussions to rest, it has opened up a lot of room to talk about a fifth installment. And why not? The three previous fights were so close to really define who the standout star was amongst the two warriors.
Now some may say that Marquez proved he is the better fighter since he knocked Pac Man out. But prior to the knockout Pacquiao was leading on the judge’s scorecards, and one has to wonder that if he did get up from the knockdown in the sixth, how the remainder of the fight would have turned out.
Rather than answering any questions in this fourth fight as many fight fans and analysts had assumed it would, it has brought upon several more. If for nothing else, Marquez and Pac Man should again lace the leather up and go to battle for the simple fact that boxing needs the fireworks that were put on display Saturday night. Boxing fans need fights to get excited about, and Marquez and Pacquiao have proved time and time again they can deliver.