Four years after their epic, controversial draw in 2004, Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez met again, this time at 130 pounds. The WBC title that Marquez had won from Marco Antonio Barrera in March 2007 was on the line, as well as the vacant lineal championship from RING Magazine, as Pacquiao was ranked No. 1, and Marquez ranked No. 2. Many had them as the No. 2 and 3 fighters in the world pound-for-pound as well, behind Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Their second fight was held at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on March 15, 2008, one day after my 26th birthday. It was quite a boxing birthday gift.
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Pacquiao, now 29, had gone 7-1 since the draw with Marquez in 2004. He lost in 2005 to Erik Morales, but twice avenged that defeat with stoppage victories. His last fight was a ho-hum decision win over the aforementioned Barrera in October 2007, a fight more notable for being the first major event that Top Rank and Golden Boy presented together after thawing their first Cold War.
Marquez, at 34, was 6-1 between the two Pacquiao fights. His loss came in Indonesia to Chris John. He'd moved up to 130 pounds in 2007 to face Barrera, and finally scored a signature win for his career, though the scoring of the fight was criticized. The right man won, in the minds of most, the fight was exciting, and Marquez proved he belonged with the best in the sport.
The question going into this fight was whether or not Marquez still had enough at his advanced age to compete with the powerful, lighting-fast Manny Pacquiao. It was one of the most eagerly-anticipated fights of the year, and would be the last time Manny Pacquiao fought below the lightweight division, where he had a one-off with David Diaz three months later, followed by his jaw-dropping climb to welterweight, where he would annihilate and retire Oscar De La Hoya in December. Marquez attempted to chase Pacquiao up in weight, dethroning lineal lightweight king Joel Casamayor in September, but after the Oscar rout from Manny, the wait was once again on for Juan Manuel Marquez.
That wait ends on Saturday night. For now, let's look back on the rematch between these two great fighters.
You'll notice that Manny rehydrated 16 pounds overnight, up to 145 pounds. Essentially the weight he fights at now, too.
Lampley wonders aloud if this is just round 13, or if this is a different fight, with Pacquiao having progressed and developed a good right hand. Steward critical of Pacquiao's form. Marquez very cautious early, trying to lure Pacquiao in. Nobody lands much in the first half of the fight. Pacquiao with a left to the body. Pacquiao doing a good job blocking right hands upstairs, but then Marquez cracks him with a good one. Heads come together. Marquez making Manny miss. Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm. Good left from Pacquiao, Marquez strays low on a body shot (that's familiar). This really is just round 13. Pacquiao 10-9
Freddie still in his wearing a headband years.
Pacquiao popping away a little, starting to get more aggressive, landing little pot shots when he gets close. Marquez reaching for left hooks to the body. Right hand counter from Marquez a bit short. He's keeping too much range. Right to the body from Marquez. Left hook upstairs from Marquez lands -- that was a reach too, but it got home. Body shot by Marquez, Pacquiao with a left that Marquez feels. Manny swinging his left, missing badly. Marquez strays low again. Manny with a left upstairs. Right from Marquez. Pacquiao comes in, throwing, Marquez throws back, nobody landing big. Uppercut from Marquez, and a big left hook staggers Pacquiao badly near the end of the round. Marquez 10-9, 19-19
Marquez staying out of the pocket beautifully, just not taking big shots. BIG right hand for Marquez stuns Pacquiao, who walked right into it. Marquez feeding off the aggression, as a good counter-puncher does. Marquez leading with wild, wide left hooks, throwing a right hand behind it, not landing. Heads come together again. Jab to the body by Marquez. Marquez with another right, heads come together again as Manny fires back. Pacquiao finds the left a moment later. Cuffing little right from Manny, starting to come on now. BIG COUNTER LEFT AND MARQUEZ IS DOWN! That one gets me every time I see it -- a GREAT knockdown. Marquez hurt more on that one than any of the knockdowns in the first fight. Round ends just as Marquez is reeling again in a hot exchange, and Marquez follows Pacquiao to his corner talking to him. Lampley mistakes this for Marquez being too dazed to know it's the wrong corner. Pacquiao 10-8, Pacquiao 29-27
Pacquiao continues to bounce and look for those openings, and as good as he is technically, Marquez gives openings. Marquez being smothered by volume from Pacquiao here, and Marquez knows he has to make a fight. Pacquiao making Marquez miss a lot. Stiff, thudding left from Pacquiao. Not clean, but so heavy. Left hook from Marquez, Pacquiao just eats it. Marquez with a nice right hand near the end of the round. Pacquiao 10-9, Pacquiao 39-36
Steward says that Manny Pacquiao loves to fight more than anyone who's ever been in the ring. Slower round, with Manny moving forward and looking the aggressor, but winnable in the last minute. Marquez trying to figure out a plan of attack. Right hand from Manny. Jab from Pacquiao, Marquez with a hard right hand. Pacquiao clips him with a straight left. Another hard right from Marquez, and he's attempting to steal this round -- and is doing so. Pacquiao didn't do enough to overcome those two good right hands. Marquez 10-9, Pacquiao 48-46
Left to the body by Marquez. Good right hand by Marquez, chopping down on a hunched over Pacquiao. Marquez dominating the pace now, which is what happened in the middle rounds of the first fight. Left uppercut and a nasty right hand from Marquez. Pacquiao feels that one. Another left hook. All Marquez this round, maybe his best of the two fights combined. Right hand by Marquez, a counter when Pacquiao reaches too far. Manny all out of sorts in this round. Another right to put emphasis on it. Marquez 10-9, Pacquiao 57-56
Tactical fighting again. As great as these two fights are, their barnburner, action-packed qualities may be overstated in rosy memories. It's really great chess match boxing with some bombs. Once again the heads come together and Marquez is cut outside of his right eye. Pacquiao with a great right hook that stings Marquez. Left hand lands, and they start firefighting. "You can't outbox (Pacquiao)," Steward says again, even though JMM has (as Lampley points out). Marquez with a right. Lefts in close from Manny. Pacquiao 10-9, Pacquiao 67-65
Good right from Marquez, and he's catching Manny coming. Pacquiao bleeding pretty badly around his right eye now, and that one's stinging -- you can see Manny shaking it off, but feeling it. Clearly bothering Manny, getting blood all up in the eyeball. Marquez trying to pounce. Right hand after a left hook. Such a back-and-forth fight -- about as even as a fight at this level gets. Body shots from Marquez. Jabbing at the cut now. Big uppercut from Marquez as Pacquiao gets wild trying to steal the round. Manny strays low a hair. Marquez 10-9, Pacquiao 76-75
Pacquiao with a wicked right a minute into the round. Straight right from Marquez. Straight left from Pacquiao. Pacquiao swings a left from way downtown and misses. Pacquiao misses a left, but the right hook after is on point. Left hand lands for Manny, body shot from Marquez. Marquez again trying to jab the bad eye. Time called so that the doctor can quickly look at a new Marquez cut, on the eyelid. Right counter by Marquez, left from Pacquiao. Tight round. Pacquiao 10-9, Pacquiao 86-84
Left hand by Pacquiao staggers Marquez, and Manny tries to jump on the chance, cutting off Harold Lederman. Marquez survives and retreats, getting the reset button in action. Another hard left by Pacquiao. "Manny" chant goes up at the Mandalay Bay. Marquez with a big right as he tries to rally down the stretch after the hot start to the round from Manny. Marquez with the straight right again. Pacquiao's mouthpiece falls out. Marquez trying to close the round heavy, and lands another right hand. Pacquiao 10-9, Pacquiao 96-93
Marquez strays low again, Pacquiao takes a moment. Marquez with a right to the body. Marquez with a straight right, and another, and another shot. Pacquiao with a right of his own. Another tight, tactical round, with some hard blows traded. Marquez 10-9, Pacquiao 105-103
Marquez looking to have a big round, and he has a great first half, landing with both hands. Manny sort of cruising, or being controlled, one or the other. Marquez stings him on a counter, then knocks him back with a right, and blasts him with an uppercut. Marquez lands another right near the bell, and the fight ends with the two throwing. Marquez 10-9, Pacquiao 114-113
The Settled Dust
Generally speaking, I only score fights once, usually when I see them live (or for the first time on tape, whichever). When I scored this fight live in 2008, a few of these rounds were different, and I wound up scoring it 114-113 for Marquez. I now have it 114-113 for Pacquiao. I get the feeling I could watch this again in six months and go back to Marquez. This time, the knockdown was the difference for me.
To this day, however, I can't understand how Harold Lederman or one of the official judges scored the 12th round for Manny Pacquiao.
In my opinion, and I've always felt this way, this is the superior of the two fights. For as much drama as there was in Marquez trying to claw back in the first fight, this had more actual drama, more touch-and-go moments, and stayed hotter longer.
How did you score this one?