Right after Manny Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 KOs) defeated Shane Mosley in a lackluster fight, boxing fans clamored for an opponent who’d fight back. Juan Manuel Marquez (53-5-1, 39 KOs) was the most logical choice. Between the two of them, they've given us 24 rounds, with but a one point separating the two in those two fights. Fans want a real fight and that’s exactly what they’ll be getting come November 13.
The first 24 rounds
Their first two fights were classics. In total, Pacquiao and Marquez have given us 24 action packed rounds and are poised to give us a few more before this rivalry ends. Pacquiao-Marquez is one of the best rivalries of this generation and it almost did not happen because Pacquiao blitzed through Marquez in the first round of their first fight. But the Mexican fought back and won most of the following rounds to get a draw.
This result might have been painful to accept for both fighters but it ended up being beneficial for both of them. For Marquez, the draw made everyone realize just how special he is. He was always second fiddle to the Erik Moraleses and Marco Antonio Barrera's of the world. But after the fight, people saw that Marquez now belongs to the upper echelons of boxing.
For Pacquiao, this fight made him realize that he needed more than just his left hand to be successful. If this draw didn’t happen, there’s a huge chance that Pacquiao would not have developed the use for his right hand.
In the second fight, people were expecting Pacquiao to dominate Marquez because of his right hand’s vast improvement but the fight was similar to the first one. Marquez gave Pacquiao trouble through his counterpunching. Pacquiao won rounds by hurting Marquez. It was Pacquiao's knockdown in the third round that made the difference in the fight.
After that match, Marquez begged for another shot but Pacquiao dismissed him, saying their business is already finished. How was Pacquiao to know that their paths will cross again?
What has changed for Marquez?
Marquez has changed a lot since their last meeting. He has turned himself from a pure counter-puncher to an aggressive boxer. He still possesses uncanny counter-punching but he is more exciting now than he was before. Marquez has also honed the use of his uppercuts and sharpened his already deadly lead right hand.
He used this newly found strategy to rule the lightweight division with dominant wins over Joel Casamayor, Juan Diaz, and Michael Katsidis but Marquez never got the glory he felt he deserved. To truly take his legacy to a higher level, he knows he needs to defeat Pacquiao and that’s exactly what he’ll try to do come November 12 (November 13, Manila time).
What has changed for Pacquiao?
The development of Pacquiao’s right hand is the best improvement in his arsenal. His right hand was born after the first fight against Marquez from the need to develop a back-up plan in case the left straight isn’t working. Now Pacquiao’s right hook is nearly as dangerous as his wallop left.
He used this right hand to knockdown then Ring Magazine light welterweight champion Ricky Hatton. He also used this to drop then WBO welterweight Miguel Cotto. The result of the second fight woke Pacquiao up. He realized that he needed to step his game up if he wants to be remembered as one of the best fighters to ever lace up gloves.
NEXT: Bad blood between the two