I have long been a fan of the great Juan Manuel Marquez who until Saturday last was probably the most underrated fighter of his generation. I have made a fair bit of money betting on Marquez in many fights that he wasn't picked by the bookies to win.
Going back to Victor Polo, through tough fights with genuine gunslingers such as Juan 'The Baby Bull' Diaz and Michael Katsidis; every time Marquez would pull it out of the bag and pull off the upset.
This is a man, don't forget, who beat Marco Barrera, another Mexican legend. He got up twice to beat great Cuban champion Joel Casamayor, another in a line of big punchers who could not stop Marquez. Anyone interested enough to research Marquez would quickly see his impeccable pedigree.
Growing up in Mexico he had a great amateur career, losing only once in 36 outings and winning two Golden Gloves tournaments along the way. The fights with Pacquiao are as exciting as any in history. Unfortunately for Manny in this most recent one he was desperate to make a big impression since his controversial loss to Tim Bradley and decided to go in for a gunfight with a proverbial Doc Holiday of gunfighters.
He should have realised Marquez would rather die than lose and is made of iron. Even pound for pound champion Floyd Mayweather could only manage a points win over Marquez. The same Mayweather who knocked out the at that time unbeaten Ricky Hatton. Mayweather also punched holes in and stopped renowned tough guys Arturo Gatti and Diego Corrales but couldn't truly put a dent in teak tough Marquez.
The world still wants to see a fight between Pacquiao and Mayweather because Pacman's ferocity alone will make it special. He should obviously ignore calls of retirement from the likes of Hatton who can barely hide the sour grapes he just tasted in his recent return and subsequent beating by a man who is a decent fighter but hardly a household name. Pacquiao keeps himself in prime shape, treating his body like a temple and is good for another couple of years yet-just look at Marquez who is almost 40 years old and still at top level because he too lives a monk-like existence with a strict training and nutrition regime worthy of such true champions.
Just because Pacquiao has been beaten by Marquez and in turn Marquez by Mayweather does not automatically mean the first guy also beats the third guy. Styles make fights. Take a look back at Hearns, Hagler and Duran. Marvin destroyed Hearns in three rounds but struggled with Duran's style and had a tough points decision. Hearns went on to destroy Duran with comparative ease.
Last Saturday night a great fighter went toe to toe with a great professional boxer and found himself wanting using those tactics as so many of his predecessors have. There's no shame in this defeat and if he chooses to dust himself off and move on he can still garner even more spectacular achievements than he has already.
If boxing history has taught us anything it's that no fight is decided until it is actually contested. In a fight with modern great and arch rival Mayweather, Pacquiao would ultimately, win or lose, shower him elf in glory and deserve to be recognised as one of a very rare breed - champion of champions.
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