Some fans said they weren't excited. Too bad for them if they didn't wind up biting the bullet and tuning in, because they missed a classic on December 8, when Juan Manuel Marquez finally beat Manny Pacquiao, knocking him out cold in the sixth round of their fourth fight in Las Vegas.
Marquez and Pacquiao didn't generate enormous buzz, but the atmosphere in Sin City was electric at the weigh-in on Friday, and for the fight on Saturday night. Perhaps Marquez's supporters truly believed his time had come; whatever it was, something was definitely in the air on the weekend of the fight, and expectations of a potentially tactical bout -- like their third encounter in 2011 -- were blown away quickly, as the two came out swinging for the knockout.
Pacquiao-Marquez IV has been named Fight of the Year by several outlets, and you can add BLH to that list.
Also receiving strong consideration was the October 13 bout between Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado, which was so hyped up as a slugfest on paper that some started to believe there was no way it could actually meet expectations. Then they got into the ring, and it was bombs away, all the way. A 2013 rematch is reportedly in the works.
|Manny Pacquiao vs Juan Manuel Marquez IV||6||1||0||33|
|Brandon Rios vs Mike Alvarado||2||3||2||23|
|Orlando Salido vs Juan Manuel Lopez II||0||1||3||9|
|Roman Gonzalez vs Juan Francisco Estrada||0||1||0||3|
|Robert Guerrero vs Andre Berto||0||1||0||3|
|Victor Ortiz vs Josesito Lopez||0||1||0||3|
|Marcos Maidana vs Jesus Soto Karass||0||0||1||2|
|Anthony Crolla vs Kieran Farrell||0||0||1||2|
Pacquiao-Marquez IV had it all. High drama, intensity on the big stage, a true event, a beyond passionate crowd, great fighting from two of the best, and a lights out knockout finish that dropped jaws across the world, as one of the modern greats, Manny Pacquiao, hit the canvas unconscious on a right hand counter from Juan Manuel Marquez. One second, Pacquiao seemed in control. The next, it was all over.
When you shake down everything that boxing is, all the reasons to follow it, and you look past the black-and-white, I don't think it really gets any better than Pacquiao-Marquez IV.
Runner-up for me was Orlando Salido-Juan Manuel Lopez II, a fight so great even Gus Johnson's all-time worst commentary couldn't hurt it. Brandon Rios-Mike Alvarado came in third. Not a bad year, with three fights like these, and plenty more that deserved consideration, too.
It doesn't get much better than Marquez vs Pacquiao, and this was the best fight yet in the four bout series. Everything you could ask for in a prize fight was delivered. Intense high level action, dramatic swings in momentum and an unforgettable ending. It was an adrenalin rush from start to finish, and my clear choice for Fight of the Year.
With the benefit of hindsight, I’m happy to hold my hands up and say I wasn’t convinced of the necessity of a fourth Pacquiao-Marquez fight. Come 6am (UK time), for which I deemed it worth staying up through Vazquez-Gesta and a poor Top Rank undercard for, there was no doubt what the most viscerally exciting – and, indeed, the defining – fight of the year was.
It was a fight that had everything: a true event, played out through momentum swings, flash knockdowns, toe-to-toe warfare and a spectacular conclusion that, fittingly, felt like a slow-motion replay from the first viewing. Here’s to chapter five.