Steve Bunce on Boxing: Manny Pacquiao grudge match looks a real knockout

He leads by two wins, but many believe the true score is 3-0 to Marquez

Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez have shared the ring in three championship fights, fought to a gruesome standstill in most of the 36 completed rounds and will do it again on Saturday in one of boxing's best rivalries.

So far the score is two wins for Pacquiao, after the first fight ended in a draw, but there are many in the fight game that believe the true score should be 3-0 in Marquez's favour. The three judges in the three fights have sat and scored 108 rounds and their final tally is remarkable: 54 rounds to 54 rounds. None of the same officials will take a seat on Saturday at the MGM in Las Vegas.

"I never wanted the second fight, the third fight and I certainly never wanted this fourth fight," said Freddie Roach, who has shaped Pacquiao into arguably the best boxer of the last decade. "Manny wanted this fight and he wants to end the controversial series with a knockout."

The pair last fought in November 2011 in the same MGM ring and the fight lacked some of the intensity of the previous two encounters. However, when it was over it looked like Marquez had finally gained some degree of revenge, but the judges returned a majority decision with two going for Pacquiao and one returning a drawn verdict. It seemed to me at the time that the last result had more to do with keeping alive the fight between Pacquiao and the reclusive Floyd Mayweather, a fight that is thought would generate half a billion dollars for the ailing Vegas economy; Mayweather has beaten Marquez easily but has spent five years agreeing and dismissing terms for a Pacquiao showdown.

"Everybody knows that the last fight was not even close," claimed Marquez during a conference in LA three weeks ago when nobody in the Pacquiao business said a word in disagreement. "It was easy for me on the night and this time I will have to knock him out." Pacquaio, according to Roach, slipped him a piece of paper and written on it was : "I need a knockout."

Eight years ago in the first fight Marquez was over three times in the opening round, but cleared his head, survived and according to one judge won 10 of the 12 rounds. At the end of the fight it was declared a draw – with the judges splitting their vote one for Marquez, one for Pacquiao and one a draw – and a natural and immediate rematch was delayed as Pacquiao met and beat quality fighters and Roach stuck firm to his belief that "Marquez is all wrong for Manny."

In the 2008 second fight at the Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, it was a split decision in Pacquiao's favour 2-1. "If my hand had been raised in the first two fights then I believe that I would be the big star," said Marquez, whose anger last year after losing once more led him to vow never to fight Pacquiao again. "I changed my mind, I want to retire with a victory over him."

They have each been in some of modern boxing's greatest fights, winning titles from flyweight to light-middle and sharing multimillion-dollar nights in the ring. However, they are each insisting that this time it is personal and perhaps in this cynical age, where calculated risks in all sports are rare, they just might be telling the truth.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own