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A boxing soap opera!

If there is a series of boxing fights that would be awarded as the “fights of the century”, it would probably be the series of fights between the one and only Octuple Champion Manny “Pac-man” Pacquiao of the Philippines and the only boxer who not only challenge him inside the ring but also the only boxer who cannot believe that he was beaten by Pacquiao and put up an allegation that the belt to be won was stolen from him not only once but several times, the Mexican “Dinamita” Juan Manuel Marquez.

Boxing gloves

Pac-man though fought more than hundreds of times already including his amateur and professional bouts has considered his fights with the Dinamita as the most challenging of them all and has taken the Dinamita as his most greatest match ever. Marquez on the other hand has also considered Pacquiao as his strongest threat and his biggest ultimatum dream to defeat. That is probably the reason why the fight turns to become a series more than a trilogy like any other soap operas to be followed by the boxing enthusiasts to watch out for the following chapter.

Who are they?

Manny Pacquiao or Emmanuel Dapidran Pacquiao was born in Bukidnon Philippines on December 17, 1978, married to Jinkee Jamora with four children. He was a Sargeant of the Philippine Army, an actor, a recording artist, a product endorser and a politician as he is the Congressman of Saranggani Philippines. He was the first and the only boxer who had won eight different divisions world title. He has a professional boxing record of 54 wins, 38 by knock-outs and 16 via decisions. His losses include 3 knock-outs and 2 via decisions. And lastly he has 2 draw fights. Manny Pacquiao is indeed the greatest Filipino boxer of all time and one of the greatest in the world. Pacquiao’s major world titles are as follows; WBC Flyweight Champion, IBF Super Bantamweight Champion, WBC Super Featherweight Champion, WBC Lightweight Champion, WBO Welterweight Champion and WBC Light Middleweight Champion, while his The Ring/Lineal Championship world titles includes Lineal Flyweight Champion, The Ring Featherweight Champion, The Ring Super Featherweight Champion and The Ring Light Welterweight Champion.

Juan Manuel Marquez Mendez is a 40 year old Mexican boxer who was married to Erika Mendez and has 3 children. He was an accountant to several Mexican government offices. He was one of the three professional boxers of Mexico who was able to garner four division world titles. Marquez had an amateur boxing record of 46 bouts and a professional boxing record of 62 fights which includes 55 wins, 40 by knock-out, 6 losses and 1 draw. He also has the remarkable 28 consecutive wins before he experienced again losing. Considered as the Mexico’s greatest boxer of all time, Marquez is now the third among the top ten list of the “The Ring’s Pound for Pound Boxer”. His major world titles include IBF Featherweight Champion, WBA (Super) Featherweight Champion, Interim WBO Featherweight Champion, WBO Featherweight Champion, WBC Super Featherweight Champion, WBO Lightweight Champion, WBA (Super) Lightweight Champion, Interim WBO Light Welterweight Champion and WBO Light Welterweight Champion.
Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel “Dinamita” Marquez Part I

Drawing of Pacquiao and Marquez boxing against each other

The Beginning!

Both fighters are in the limelight, both came from a recent victory, one from winning a new world title and the other from defending his title. Pacquiao had just won The Ring Featherweight title defeating Marco Antonio Barrera of Mexico and Marquez had just retained IBF Featherweight title against Derrick Gainer of the United States both way back six months before their face-off fight. Manny Pacquiao’s standing is 38-2-1 while Juan Manuel Marquez has a ratio of 42-2 before their bouts.

May 8, 2004 at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, all are set for the fight and every boxing enthusiast is excited to watch the show. Trying to retain their titles and win another championship, both are confident to win the match. The introduction of the two fighters in the entrance to the ring made an impression already as while the Filipino fighter was cheered joyfully by the audience, the Mexican fighter was booed by the viewers, the reason, we have no idea why.

The fight between the two fighters is indeed one of the most breathtaking fights in the history of boxing. The first part of the game is manipulated by the Filipino boxer as he made his opponents fell down three times, but the eagerness of the Mexican boxer cannot be paralleled as he continuously striving hard to counterpart the jabs and trying not to mind all the punches that hit his body. It seems that Marquez is just studying the moves of Pacquiao and had generated to learn how to avoid the offense. The scene turned around and it is time for the Mexican fighter to make his offense himself and this time, he had made a soaring high score to equal what had been set by the younger fighter.

Both throws powerful punches to each other, both are putting all their strength to their fists and both are determined to win the bout. The first quarter of the game went to Pacquiao’s side but there is a round that made the gap so narrow and the Dinamita fighter would take all the chances to even out their score.

By the middle of the entire game is favoring to Marquez as he was able to wound the Pac-man and made the audience giggle as it is his turn to hurt tremendously the Pac-man. But still the Filipino boxer would not be a boxing champion of many divisions if he would just easily give up on a fight that is not favoring him, instead he regained his strength and begun again to manipulate the exchanging of punches and dominated the offense in the game. And this time, Marquez seemed to be more ready to face the lousy punches and evade the stronger ones. This part of the game again starts to favor Pacquiao, as the Mexican boxer was not able to counterpart the punches that Pacquiao enjoyed during the first part of the game. Marquez is still on the mood to throw jabs but this does not make Pacquiao even moved. It is actually the unparalleled speed of the Dinamita that Pacquiao cannot outbreak making the number of punches between the two maybe equal but the aggression of the Filipino fighter is winning him the bout until the tenth round of breath taking boxing.

The final round comes and both parties are still eager to win, their advisers are telling their fighters that the bout is favoring them, probably to boost their egos and to continue striving for the victory. Pacquiao’s coach Freddie Roach even told Pacquiao to knock Marquez out on the final round. The audience’s standing ovations marked the game ends and not even one from them is breathing while waiting for the announcement of the winner.

 

Scorecards show 115-110 for Pacquiao, 115-110 for Márquez, and 113-113 making the fight DRAW. Then the intrigues come, controversial arises as there are reports that the third judge had a mental lapse and had a score 10-7 instead of 10-6 in favor of Pacquiao. If this mental lapse was corrected earlier it was Pacquiao who will crowned as the winner via split decision.

Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel “Dinamita” Marquez Part II

The Rematch!

After the first encounter with the Dinamita, Pac-man had a several fights including another trilogy yet as breath taking as his fight with Marquez, his three time fight with another Mexican boxer Erik Morales. Pacquiao lost to him during their fight on March 2005 but regained his title during a rematch on January 2006. Morales demand a third fight and again, it is Pacquiao who won. Another Mexican Boxer named Marco Antonio Barrera tried to snatch the title to Pacquiao but unfortunately lost on October 2007. This is the best time for Marquez to take his turn for a rematch. Juan Manuel Marquez on the other hand also had a several fights before his rematch to Pacquiao and these include his winning bouts against Terdsak Kokietgym of Thailand, Jimrex Jaca of the Philippines, Marco Antonio Barrera of Mexico and Rocky Juarez of the United States.

March 15, 2008 at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, four years later after their initial encounter, the two legendary fighters are set to meet again to end whatever unfinished business they have. Pacquiao after defeating his six consecutive opponents, who happened to be all Mexican, was obviously still hunger for his greatest Mexican foe, the Dinamita himself. And Juan Manuel Marquez after losing a title to Chris John of Indonesia had re-powered his strengths and re-burst into flames his popularity via knocking out his opponents and winning via unanimous decisions was perhaps not contented unless he proved himself again by taking vengeance to someone who defeated his co-Mexican boxer none other than the “Pac-man.

The fight between the two boxers is far different from their first bout, as Manny Pacquiao is more subtle and careful, making it sure that his strength would not compromise his balance, his wildness was lessened and he is more finesse but the aggression is still there, while Juan Manuel Marquez is trying to make the control, still he is the underdog among the two of them when it comes to score making the first round favor Pacquiao with only one point. Still this is far better that their first bout when Marquez fell down three times on the first round. Dinamita decided to take control and adopt his opponent’s style on the next round and he probably did it also well as he get even with Pacquiao in the cards. The succeeding rounds can be categorized as an epitome of human drama, there is fall, then rise again, then fall and then rise again for the two fighters are equally strong and fast. There is some round that Pacquiao was cornered to the rope and Marquez took the advantage by giving his foe his powerful fists that landed several times to Pacquiao’s jaw. This made Pacquiao left behind on the score of four to one in favor of Marquez.

But Pacquiao, maybe younger than his opponent is also a titlist and he would not be able to garner title if he is not ready to face this kind of situation. Probably, he realized that he is only moving backward trying to avoid the Dinamita’s offense and thought that it is not his style. He again begun to counterpart the punches and gave Marquez his killing punch causing a cut to Marquez’s face. Both now are wounded, both are still trying to outdo the other and the rounds became hard to read as there is no making advantage and no one is also left behind. The last part of the fight is actually hard to read, though the wounds from Dinamita’s eyes is getting worse and the blood that runs to his face was very visible to the judges but he is still in shape to fight and the face of the Pac-man can no longer be drawn also. So at this point, the audience would just depend on the decision of the judges as the scoring became unpredictable during the last part of the fight.

 

115-112, 112-115, and 114-113, are the numbers that catches everyone’s attention, the next most important thing in a boxing soap opera. It is not a draw, someone won via split decision and it was Manny “Pac-man” Pacquiao. Again because of the closeness of the fight, though there was a declared winner, the other party which is from the Dinamita’s could not find any reason why they had lost and arguments were raised regarding the matter. As the decisions of the judges are always final, Marquez’s side had to admit the decision and just hope for the next rematch. Marquez challenged Pacquiao again for a third fight as he cannot believe that he had lost the fight and Pacquiao as a real born champion could not say no to someone who not only challenged his title but most importantly he wanted to defend his name. And many had guessed that a third fight between the two fighters is possible, and this would probably be the most watched and the highest grossing fight ever. Let’s see.

Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel “Dinamita” Marquez Part III

After the two equally successful and controversial fights of the two boxers, the third chapter of the soap opera is about to be unleashed who among from the two fighters deserved to wear the belt of the champion. But before the third encounter, Manny Pacquiao had a seven consecutive wins from June 2008 to May 2011 against boxers from United States boxers David Diaz, Oscar De La Hoya and Shane Mosley, Ricky Hatton of United Kingdom, Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico, Joshua Clottey of Ghana and Antonio Margarito of Mexico. While Juan Manuel Marquez also had five wins and one loss against Joel Casamayor of Cuba, twice from Juan Diaz of the United States, Michael Katsidis of Australia and Likar Ramos of Colombia. Marquez had lost the fight to Floyd Mayweather Jr. of the United States. Pac-man and Dinamita would have their third fights to finally end the allegations of whoever is better among the two. This third fight was even promoted via broadcasting the event in CNN and at the Major League Baseball playoffs on TBS.

November 12, 2011 at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, the audiences are as lively as the previous fights of the two, all the networks that would feature the fight are so happy as it garnered 1.45 Million pay per view buys. This fight was actually HBO’s comeback for Manny Pacquiao.

Just like the previous two fights, both the boxers are in shape to knock-out the others, the aggression of Manny Pacquiao was still there, the Speed of Juan Manuel Marquez was still unparalleled and the two are still strong in giving out their punches. Again, round one to round three went to Pacquiao with 10-9, round four and five is for Marquez with 10-9 also and so on and so forth. And the twelfth round finished without anyone from them was knocked-out, there is no even fall down on this third fight unlike from their previous two bouts. In the end it was again Manny Pacquiao won the match with 114-114, 115-113, and 116-112.

 

But unfortunately, the controversy did not stop here; some of the boxing analysts believe that it was again Marquez who won the fight and not Pacquiao. Some of the audience even reacted violently by the decisions of the judges by throwing some trash like soda’s can and among the likes. Other boxing organizations showed their own version of judging and some showed that it was Marquez who won but there are also others that showed their own scorecard and it was Pacquiao who deserved the victory. There are even videos and pictures showing Marquez was cheating by stepping on Pacquiao’s foot several times, but according to his coach Freddie Roach, this is just natural and common for the fighters who were evading their foot to collide. And because of these controversies, (and probably because of the earnings which is actually overwhelming) the fourth fight and another chapter on these two legendary fighters from the Philippines and Mexico could be possible.

Manny “Pac-Man” Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel “Dinamita” Marquez Part IV

Almost a year after their third fight, chapter four and probably the final chapter of the boxing soap opera the Pac-man versus the Dinamita would have its schedule and arrangements. Before their fourth encounter, Manny Pacquiao lost his WBO Welterweight title against Timothy Bradley of the United States on June 2012 while Juan Manuel Marquez won Interim WBO Light Welterweight title against Serhiy Fedchenko of Ukraine on April 2012. This fourth encounter between the Filipino and Mexican boxer would decide of whoever will be crowned as the “Champion of the Decade” by World Boxing Organizations. Again the fight would be covered by HBO and was promoted by CNN and a city tour from both Mexico and Philippines. Win or lose, Manny Pacquiao would profit a guaranteed 26 Million US Dollars while Juan Manuel Marquez would bring home 6 Million US Dollars.

December 8, 2012 MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, the two fighters were introduced with some controversies, both the boxers are booed of course by the respective fans of their foes. Round one passed by so fast without any remarkable movement from the two boxers, the aggressiveness of Pacquiao was still there and the speed of Marquez was still commendable. One thing for sure, the description of this round one is far behind from the round one of the previous three fights. Round two made an even scorecard; both fighters are in good shape still and it s obvious that both of them are trying to look for the soft spot of the other. Round three starts the game when a strong left hand of Marquez moved Pacquiao to the rope and to the canvass and Pacquiao trying to regain his strength was obviously stunned by that punch. In round four, Pacquiao landed several pure fists but not all landed on Marquez’ body making him compromise his openness to the Mexican’s jabs. Round five seemed to favor Pacquiao as his dream of killing punch landed Marquez’ face that made the Dinamita fell down. But that is just a short break for him as he was able to stand up fast. Though it is obvious that he was hurt because he was bleeding in his nose, he was still determined and it seemed that something running in his mind. Round six came with Pacquiao looks so confident probably because Marquez’s face is full of blood, so taking advantage of the opportunity; he attacked Dinamita with a lot of left jabs leaving himself open to Marquez’s very huge right jabs. And then, another history in boxing occurred, Manny Pacquiao is down and was not able to regain his position again. Juan Manuel Marquez had won via knock-out making him the new “Fighter of the Decade” champion.

 

And then, compliment words came from both fighters, Pacquiao to Marquez; “he deserved the victory” and Marquez to Pacquiao; he is a great fighter and could have knocked me out any moment.

The four series of fights between the two boxers is actually the epitome of a human life drama, sometimes you’re up and sometimes you’re down. You just have to accept whatever the consequence of losing and learned from it. And by winning, the challenge of life has not ended by bringing home the belt, neither by profiting from the game.

The Soap Opera of Boxing Ends……for now.

Edited by Henrik Jørgensen
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