Four years ago, this day, super-featherweight supremacy was dealt with in the center of the boxing capital that is Las Vegas, Nevada. The sons of two boxing nations were host to one of the most anticipated super-featherweight title fights in boxing history. In one corner it was Manny Pacquiao, fresh off the destruction of Mexican legend Erik Morales, facing reigning WBC World Champion Juan Manuel Marquez.
After their thrilling first fight, in May 2004, it was only natural to anticipate the rematch. As we can all recall, it was in the first round that Marquez picked him self off the canvas three times in the first fight, only to make the type of comeback that we only see in movies. Both fighters believed they had won the first fight, which ended in a draw, so it was time to settle the score once and for all.
The fight was as razor-thin as you can possibly think. Juan Manuel Marquez found success with his right hand counter as Pacquiao unleashed flurries. In the third round Pacquiao dropped Marquez, which later proved to have been very crucial. The fight was so close on the judges scorecards that if you remove the knockdown this day in history may have been known as the day Marquez defeated Pacquiao. The fight proved to be a true testimony to the toughness and pride of these two fighters.
Manny Pacquiao put the pressure on “Dinamita” and found success with his straight left, while Marquez kept the “Pacman” honest with his counter right hand. There wasn’t a round where the closing seconds didn’t end with an exchange and flurry from both men. Despite not being labeled the boxer, Manny Pacquiao was landing just about as many jabs as Marquez. Compubox tells the story of how close this fight was. Marquez landed 42 jabs out of 201 thrown (21%) to Pacquiao’s 43 out of 314 (14%). In power punches Marquez landed 130 out of 310 thrown (42%) to Pacquiao’s 114 landed out of 305 thrown (37%).
Despite Marquez’s best efforts, it was both the knockdown in the third and Pacquiao’s agressive style which played a role in the judges favor in the split decision victory. Duane Ford 115-112 and Tom Miller 114-113 both scored it in favor of Pacquiao while Jerry Roth had it 112-115 for Marquez.
Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez broke records in Pay-Per-View for a fight under the Welterweight division. The fight also marked the end of an era in the featherweight and super-featherweight divisions. Both fighters moved up as Manny Pacquiao would run through the Welterweight division while Juan Manuel Marquez invaded and conquered the lightweight division.
Many would also argue that the second fight was the most exciting of all three affairs. This is one of those fights, along with the rest of the trilogy, that we will argue and debate about til the end of time.