They say familiarity breeds contempt. Surely, that is the overwhelming emotion Manny Pacquiao must feel towards Juan Manuel Marquez after the Mexican legend brutally knocked him out in their fourth encounter at the MGM Garden Arena on the 8th December, 2012.
Despite showing far greater head movement, and proving a much more elusive figure to find than in their previous three encounters, Marquez still managed to locate Manny Pacquiao’s chin with counter right hands with unerring accuracy.
In some instances, Marquez, like a chess grand master, seems to know Pacquiao’s next move before he does, a point perfectly illustrated by the knockout.
Deep in the closing stages of the sixth, Pacquiao over-committed as he launched into another inhibition-free onslaught, which allowed Marquez to unleash a perfectly timed and dispatched counter over hand right, that exploded off Pacman’s chin, sending him crashing face down onto the canvas in the last second of the round.
Given the context, it was one of the most devastating one-punch knockouts the sport has ever witnessed.
The result was sweet revenge for the ridiculous judging decision, which robbed Marquez of his first official victory against Pacquiao in their third fight, valid for the WBO Welterweight title, on the 13th November 2011.
Marquez was so incensed by the judging aberration, which awarded Pacquiao a majority decision victory 115-113, 116-112, 114-114, that he stormed out of the ring, declining a post-match interview such was his frustration and anger.
His sense of injustice, at what he felt was another unjust defeat to his Filipino foe boiled to point of combustion, and he vowed that after what happened in Vegas, he would never again stay in Vegas.
Thankfully, the chance at redemption helped Marquez change his mind and he returned to the scene of the crime to mete out his own kind justice to Pacquiao, which rendered the judge’s score cards entirely irrelevant.
Many think that the perfectly delivered counter punch from ‘Dinamita’ should be the full stop of the most thrilling fight series that has punctuated the boxing world over the last decade.
But, after the fight Pacquiao, barely in full possession of his faculties, hinted that he would be again willing to go to war with Marquez for a fifth time.
However, now that Marquez had finally laid the ghost of Pacquiao to rest he treated the idea with disdain he thought it deserved, and instead opted to challenge Timothy Bradley for the WBO Welterweight title - the belt the ‘Desert Storm’ so controversially won from Pacquiao on June, 2012.
Ultimately, his quest to become the first Mexican in history to claim world titles in five different weight classes was quelled by Bradley, who took boxing’s beloved professor to school in what was undoubtedly the watershed moment of his unbeaten (officially, anyway) career.
Now, with the 40 year old Mexican seemingly at a crossroads, he may not be so loathed to entertain the idea of a fifth contest with his long time adversary before he calls time on a legendary career- that will forever be defined by his epic rivalry with Pacquiao.
A convincing victory for the 35 year old Filipino against Brandan Rios next month will only serve to increase the clamour for one last battle between the two ageing warriors
And as much Marquez himself is reluctant to renew his rivalry with Pacquiao, as far as the boxing world is concerned, contempt will certainly not be the offspring of any announcement of a 5th fight between the future Hall of Fame foes.
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