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Written by Ian Wallwork

This Saturday we will see one of the most anticipated fights of 2011 – the welterweight clash between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez. Pacquiao, boxing’s first ever eight-division world champion, will put his WBO Welterweight title on the line against Marquez, the thirty-eight year old Mexican who has won world belts in the featherweight, super featherweight and lightweight divisions.

The pair meet at the MGM Grand Arena, a worthy venue for such a notable boxing event. After some disappointing pay per view showings lately, I’m looking at Floyd Mayweather and Victor Ortiz here, we’re all hoping that Pac Man and Dinamita can put on a show worth staying up for. Especially for us Brits, who will be staying up all the way through the night and until the birds start singing. The four AM starts are worth it when you see magic happen in the ring, but lately this has been lacking. This time I’m talking about the Bernard Hopkins and Chad Dawson shambles.

The Pacquiao – Marquez History

Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez have prior form of course. This Saturdays fight will be their third in a trilogy of matches, and so far it has been a good rivalry. They first met in 2004, when Pacquiao challenged Marquez for his WBA and IBF Featherweight world titles. It was a great fight, with Paquiao knocking Marquez down three times, but the Mexican recovered to win the rounds after that on points. In the end the judges ruled it a split decision.
Pacquiao knocks Marquez to the canvas
This was a result that pleased nobody; not Pacquiao or Marquez, who both believed they had won, nor the fans, because, let’s face it, we don’t like seeing draws. It was obvious a rematch was needed. Unfortunately it took four year to arrive, with Pacquiao and Marquez meeting in 2008 at Mandalay Bay. This time it was different. In a fight dubbed “Unfinished Business”, the pair fought a close battle but a third round knock down by Pacquiao decided the night. He won by split decision after twelve intense rounds.

How do Pacquiao and Marquez Measure Up?

Well first off, both are not fighting at their natural weights. Pacquiao has spent time in nearly every weight class available, and Marquez is no stranger to moving up divisions. At welterweight though, Pacquiao is the most comfortable. It has been his home for three years now and the only boxer who can challenge his "best of division" status is Floyd Mayweather. Marquez’s last title fight was in 2010 against Michael Katsidis, where the two fought for the WBA Super and WBO Lightweight prizes. Marquez is taking a weight disadvantage into the ring with him on Saturday.

As well as this, he is also six year older than Pacquiao. At thirty-eight years old, Marquez is at the stage now where most fighters talk about retirement. So far, Marquez himself has not suggested he will retire, however some fight fans speculate that Pacquaio will make the decision for him by giving him a beating in the ring. Since the pair last fought in 2008, Pacquiao has gotten even better, and you could argue he was the biggest factor in greats such as Oscar De La Hoya and Shane Mosely choosing to end their careers.

Looking for a silver-lining, I would say that with age comes experience. But this is not the case here; despite their six year age difference, Pacquiao and Marquez have had nearly the same number of fights. Pacquiao has won fifty three of his fifty six fights and Marquez has won fifty three out of fifty eight. The difference here is that Pacquiao is markedly a better fighter than when they last met, and Marquez is starting to show his age. 

The Future for Pacquiao and Marquez

Everyone knows what is waiting for Manny Pacquiao in the future. There is one fight that most of the boxing world wants to see and that is Manny Pacquiao vs Floyd Mayweather. It has been talked about for years but so far has failed to happen. Plenty of reasons have been given by each side, but it is not worth getting into those here. Suffice to say, that the fight needs to happen soon. What if Pacquai loses to Marquez though? Well, it will devalue the Mayweather fight for sure, but not as much as if Mayweather himself were to lose a fight. Pacquiao does not have an ‘0’; his record is not perfect. He has lost three times in his boxing career, albeit the last coming six years ago against Erik Morales. If Pacquaio were to lose this fight, the biggest danger would be his retirement from boxing.

Which brings us on to Marquez. At thirty eight years old, and after a eighteen long boxing career, he surely cannot have too many fights left in him. If the Mexican loses to Pacquiao on Saturday, which many feel is the likely outcome, then I can’t see him fighting again. Put simply, any opponent open to him after PAcquai would be a lesser one. Marquez would be advised to quit with a still-great record. If he pulls it off and manages a win though, he could still have a few big fights open to him.

Manny Pacquaio vs Juan Manuel Marquez Prediction

Theirs has been one of the better boxing rivalries but it is by no means great. Their first fight was a close one, and it was only right there there be a second. The rematch, though, was different; Pacquiao was much better than Marquez. Since then, Pacquiao has improved even more, whereas Marquez if starting the natural decline of an older athlete. On top of this, Pac Man has been able to knock Marquez down in both their fights. I expect a Pacquiao victory tonight and it will come by a later round knockout.

For the upcoming boxing fixtures, click here