By Jack Price @PriceyJ97.
This Saturday night Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez meet in the ring for the 4th, and hopefully final, time. The rivalry between them started in 2004 when the two ring legends met for the first time and the bitterness hasn't really sweetened at all since. I'm not going to bang on about what happened in the past three fights and who I think won as you can find that all over the internet. The only thing that really matters is what's happening now. History tells us that it will be another exciting fight but it doesn't tell us who is going to win.
I am actually still very excited about this fight, and I just can't understand why some people are moaning about it. Yes, its the 4th time. Yes, both fighters are not the rapid-punching, explosive warriors they used to be. But this is still a grudge match and both men still have something to prove to the fans, the critics and most importantly themselves.
The fact that they're both moving towards the end of their careers and a lot older than the previous times they have met (Pacquiao: 33, Marquez: 39) could make the fight go either way. It might make them a lot more cautious because, as they have both found out in the previous fights, both of them are good at capitalising on the others' mistakes. But I'm hoping that they go the other way and go into the fight with the same mentality that they always have, maybe even a little bit more aggressive. This way we will be treated to another all-out, action-packed slug-fest.
I say 'slug-fest', but I suppose it actually isn't. My idea of a slug-fest is when two guys just get in the ring, neglect their defence, and just brawl with each other until one of them goes down. These two are ready for a war but they also use their brains and attempt to box. But eventually the boxing has to come to an end and it just does come down to which fighter has more heart and wants it that little bit more. We don't know why but its just something about these fights that makes both of them go absolutely mental.
I think this fight will go the distance, like the past three, although there is more chance of a knockout in this one. And this is purely down to the fact that both of them have stated on numerous occasions that they're aiming to the knock the other guy out to ensure that this time there is no controversy around who the winner actually is.
We've seen before that Marquez has not got the strongest chin in the world, but he does usually get back up and almost instantly recover. The Mexican has never been stopped in his 60-fight career so I can't see anything changing here. Pacquiao is also a little susceptible to power shots, although nobody has managed to knock him out or down in a very long time. As I said, both men are starting to slow down a little, Pacquaio more than Marquez, so this is another factor that will increase the chance of the fight ending before the final bell rings.
This will no doubt be another close one that will travel into the later rounds, and although Pacquiao is still the bookies favourite, I'm picking Marquez to win. He may be six years older but I do actually think he has aged a little bit better. Pacquiao's main weapons have always been his speed and explosiveness, and unfortunately for him these are the two things that usually go first. Marquez still has his accuracy and looked pretty sharp in his most recent fight with Serhiy Fedchenko. There's no doubt that Pacquiao won his last fight against Timothy Bradley but there were some weaknesses starting to come through.
Hopefully this will be the last time we see these guys in the ring together. I actually think the fighters are hoping this too. They both seem to be going into it as though it is their last fight of their careers let alone just the final fight between them.
The Pacquiao-Marquez saga has been fantastic for the fans, fighters and just everyone involved in the world of boxing. Let's just hope that they finish in the same way that they have been going in this fourth fight and get rid of any redemption they may have left inside them. This is the last chance for both of them to prove that they are better than the other.
So, December 8th is when its happening. If you're in the UK you may have to pay £15 to watch it on Primetime (SKY 498), but trust me, it will be worth paying for. The two biggest rivals of this era putting it all on the line for one last time. It really will be boxing at its best! Do not miss it.