Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez will do it one more time -- hopefully for the final time -- on December 8 in Las Vegas. Bob Arum says the fight will be officially announced next Tuesday at a press conference in Los Angeles.
Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KO) and Marquez (54-6-1, 39 KO) have met on three occasions already, with none of the results proving satisfying. In 2004, they went to a thrilling draw, with Marquez battling back from three first round knockdowns to outbox the then-one-dimensional Pacquiao for the majority of the fight. In 2008, their best fight in my estimation, Pacquiao won a disputed split decision.
And last November, Pacquiao won a very disputed majority decision, in a fight where it seemed the majority of boxing fans felt Marquez had won the bout.
They have been the tighest rivals perhaps ever, their three fights and 36 rounds barely able to separate them on the official scorecards, let alone in the minds of the boxing public. No matter their age, their current status on pound-for-pound lists, or even the weight class, they can't help but be essentially dead even with one another.
The announcement has already met some backlash from some fans who are simply tired of the matchup and figure that there will never truly be a conclusive finish in this in-ring feud, and that the two could fight 100 times and have a debatable outcome every single time. That may be true. Another way to look at it is two of the premier fighters of a generation squaring off yet again, both still highly-regarded, even if they've lost a step or two, and both still eager to prove something against the other man.
This could also potentially be the swan song for Marquez, who just turned 39 a few weeks ago. Always a respected fighter, it took Marquez years to become a drawing card or attraction, and since his 2009 loss to Floyd Mayweather, he's definitely been able to put together a nice chunk of change for his retirement, and will get some more with this fight.
Will you be ordering on pay-per-view on December 8? I can frankly understand either reaction -- good or bad -- to this fight, and I think it's going to be interesting to see what the real response is now that it's official.