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List of Articles by Edwin G. Espejo



PACQUIAO WATCH: Controversy good for Pacquiao

By Edwin G. Espejo
PhilBoxing.com
18 Mar 2008



ALTHOUGH in my own scorecard Manny Pacquiao won in his rematch with Juan Manuel Marquez even if I may have erred in giving him the last round, it was a close decision nonetheless.

But it would be the height of stupidity and arrogance to call the decision a highway robbery as Marquez' trainer Nacho Beristain harped and would like us to believe.

To do so is to deny both fighters their proper place in one of the most memorable fights in the super featherweight history.
Pacquiao and Marquez are like the ivory and ebony keys of the piano that without each other, they would not make good melody. They are like sodas that without one serving as a tightly lid cap, there would be no pop. They are a study of contrast and, like opposite poles of a magnet, they attract. That is why the thin line of choosing who the better fighter is like choosing which is better, night or day?

And comparisons such as these will invariably spill over to giving verdict to a fight that is as close as your eyelids can be to your eyes.

All things considered, the narrow split decision awarded to Pacquiao and the arguments that followed it are good for boxing. And good for both boxers, too.

For Marquez, his two close fights with Pacquiao are what cemented his claim as one of the best boxers in the featherweight division in his era. Without Pacquiao, Marquez would have wallowed in anonymity as nobody would dare touch him even with a totem pole four years ago.

Nothing to be ashamed of for those two close calls. Although he may have suffered the worst beatings in his career via those four knockdowns in two fights, Marquez proved his resilience and durability by coming back strong enough to redeem himself.

Their two fights will still be debated long after their careers in boxing are over. And to my recollection, no other rivalry matched the intensity of the debate of the results of each of their fights. Only a decisive and convincing victory in a third and decisive match will put a close to the debate. But there are many ifs - if that third time happens and if the result will not be as close as the first two.

When the dust of the debate is over, the two will always be cited in tandem for their great encounters. Their careers will forever be intertwined and no one will be mentioned without each other when defining the highlights of their careers.

Along with Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales, Pacquiao and Marquez formed the other half of the quartet that restored respectability and excitement to the sports. The four may not share the same table and may loathe to be seated next to each other in the same couch of a train (with the exception of Pacquiao and Morales who have since become bosom friends and appeared in several beer commercials). But their respective rivalries are comparable to the era of Sugar Ray Leonard-Roberto Duran-Thomas Hearns-Marvin Hagler in the welterweight division, a period that produced some of the finest and fiercest competitors the sport has ever seen. Like the illustrious welterweight quartet in the 1980's, where one could be as dominant as the other on any given day, Pacquiao and Marquez and their contemporaries are becoming legends in their own right.

But it is Pacquiao who stands several cuts above them.
His narrow win over Marquez gave him the edge over the three other Hall-of-Fame bound boxers.

With still a good two or three years of competitive boxing ahead of him, Pacquiao's stock will continue to rise.
And with a display of endurance and longevity to go along with his superior skills, Marquez will continue to find himself in money bouts which eluded him when Barrera and Morales declined to fight him during their prime.

Pacquiao will be on course to rewrite records he already established in the world of professional boxing.
A third and conclusive fight between the two great fighters could happen, as many are now clamoring for it to happen.

It could come in the right time and for the right reward. But certainly not when one or both are already on the downslide.
To do that when the either of the two are no longer compettive would be a travesty to the sports and the prestige the two and their equally deserving contemporaries have brought to boxing.


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