Tonight, one of the most heavily anticipated boxing matches of the year is finally going to happen. Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez will be facing off for the third time in their storied careers at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Their first fight in 2004 ended in a controversial draw. Manny managed to knockdown Marquez three times in the first round, but Marquez was able to miraculously recover and used his counter-punching to level the match. Their second meeting in 2008 was not without controversy as well. Despite being knocked down again, Marquez was able to win many rounds with his counter-punching style. In the end, Manny won a very tight split-decision, though either man could have been awarded with the victory. Both men claim that they won both fights, regardless of the decision of the judges. Now they meet for one last time to confirm once and for all who is truly the greater boxer.
Despite the close battles they have had in the past, Pacquiao is a heavy favourite to win the last fight in this trilogy. In the Ring’s pound-for-pound rankings, Manny is ranked as the #1 fighter in the world while Marquez sits at #5. Boxing experts from ESPN, and Yahoo! Sports have also tipped Pacquiao to beat his old rival.
Personally, I think Pacquiao should easily defeat Marquez. Since their last fight, Pacquiao has easily moved up in weight classes and has dominated boxers considered too big and strong for him, such as Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, Antonio Margarito, and Shane Mosley. He is no longer a one handed fighter. Besides his signature rapid hand speed, Pacquiao has added knockout power to both of his hands, and vastly improved boxing techniques to his arsenal of weapons. On the other hand, although Marquez is still a very good boxer, he has struggled in higher weights and has not improved as much as Manny over the years. I believe the first few rounds will be close as both fighters try to feel each other out. As the fight goes on though, I think Pacquiao will overwhelm Marquez with his combinations and punching power. The fight should be finished in the 6th round with Pacman scoring a stoppage via TKO ending all doubts on who is the better boxer of the two.