Saturday night they get it on in Vegas. This might be one of the few fights worth plopping down whatever the pay-per-view price is, because it's likely to be quite a slugfest.
Most Americans are aware of Pacquiao but I'm not so sure the same can be said about Marquez. Thing is, this guy's no slouch. He's won titles in 3 weight classes and has a record of 53-5-1, with 39 knockouts.
More importantly, he and Pacquiao have duked it out twice before in very close contests. In 2004 Pacquiao knocked him down 3 times in the first round. That's a pretty deep hole to climb out of -- especially on the judges' scorecards. Marquez somehow survived the early onslaught and the match went the distance only to end in a draw. Translation? Basically Marquez won the rest of the fight.
In 2008 they squared off for a rematch. Pacquiao won a very close decision. How close? According to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated, if one judge had scored just one round differently -- Marquez would have won. That's close.
So this is no gimme for Pacquiao. It should be an all-out rock-em, sock-em, non-stop war, in which both fighters are likely to get dinged up.
And where is Floyd Mayweather while all this goes on? In the catbird seat. I'll get back to that. Remember, Floyd's undefeated. One of those victories was over the same Marquez in 2009. Some say he's afraid to fight Pacquiao, and he may well be. The Filipino congressman is every bit as fast as Floyd and he hits harder -- with both hands. Plus he's a southpaw. Lefties are used to fighting righties, but not vice versa. Advantage -- leftie. Mayweather and his camp say they haven't signed on to fight Pacquiao because Manny won't agree to Olympic style drug testing. That excuse went out the window a long time ago. The Pacquiao camp has repeatedly said their fighter will submit to any drug testing whatsoever. They just want the fight to happen -- and I dare say most boxing fans the world over would agree with that.
So why is Floyd in the catbird seat? Two reasons. First, even if he never fights Pacquiao, as long as he's undefeated, like it or not, he'll go down in history as one of the best boxers ever. If he fought Pacquiao and got beat, there may be no guarantee of a rematch, and that would tarnish his legacy. No one knows how long Pacquiao will keep fighting and don't scoff at him being a congressman because he's very serious about a political future in his homeland. If he fought and defeated Mayweather -- what better time to retire? Manny already has all the money he'll ever need, and as CM of SI said, in 2013 he plans on running for governor (likely unopposed) of his province. In 9 years, he's expected to run for President. That most definitely qualifies as being serious.
The other reason? If Marquez defeats Pacquiao, and don't underestimate that possibility, Mayweather can point to the fact he already defeated Marquez, now a "superior" fighter, and Pacquiao doesn't deserve a "shot". If Pacquiao prevails, Manny's already on the record as saying he'd like to fight Mayweather but it's really not that important to him. Floyd can stall for a couple more years, knowing full well Manny will be a governor by then, and likely retired from boxing anyway. Either way -- he's got an "out".
Besides, who ever heard of a high-ranking political person getting into the ring to settle things with an opponent? That would be lunacy, right?
Hmmm. Maybe that's not a bad idea.
That certain "primary" circle jerk that's going on right now?
How much more entertaining would it be to throw the whole bunch of them in the "octagon", and see who finally emerges victorious?
Now THAT would be worth the pay-per-view price.
I'm thinking Manny wins this fight and goes into semi-retirement, but leaves the door open for one last mega-bout. No, not Mayweather. How's the Mittzilla Thrilla in Manila grab ya?
I'd pay double for that one.