Though it was close all throughout, pound-for-pound stalwart Manny Pacquiao squeaked out a majority decision victory over Juan Manuel Marquez last night (Sat., Nov. 12, 2011) from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The bout was close enough for Marquez to cast his doubts on the integrity of the ringside judges who scored in favor of his opponent. So distraught was he, that he actually said he was contemplating retirement.
And that would open the way for what would undoubtedly be one of the biggest fights in combat sports history -- Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather.
For his part, "Pacman" is more than willing to make it happen now (via ESPN):
"Let's get it on. Let's make the fight happen and give the people a good fight."
After watching Paquiao struggle against a 38-year-old with rapidly declining speed, one would think Mayweather would be as eager as ever to make the fight happen, and to do so right away. After all, Manny looked more human than ever last night, struggling mightily to make it through 12 rounds with his arch rival, Marquez.
"Money" May had to be licking his chops, dollar signs surely dancing in his eyes. Not only would this fight earn him the largest purse in boxing history, it's a fight he must feel supremely confident he can win.
There is just one wrinkle to this boxing dream. Bob Arum, promoter extraordinaire, has a fourth fight against Marquez on his brain.
"It was a great, great fight. I had Manny, but it was close, so why not bring them together again in May? It makes a lot of sense to do that."
That's what Arum told Yahoo! Sports shortly after the conclusion of last night's contest. It may not be the most popular sentiment, but it does make a measure of financial sense.
Wouldn't you pay $60 to watch Marquez give it one more go to see if he could finally finish the job?
Then again, Juan Manuel, as noted previously, is hesitant to accept an immediate rematch against his arch nemesis. That's because he's so utterly heartbroken at how each time he's stepped inside the squared circle with Pacquiao, he's been denied victory.
Not just by "Pacman," though -- by the judges, too.
Emotions run high after such a physically -- and mentally -- exhausting endeavor. But Marquez seemed steadfast in his refusal to even think about a fourth fight and it's difficult to blame him.
So, I ask again. Is it time for Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather?
It may just be.
For all the news, notes and fallout from Pacquiao vs. Marquez 3 last night in Las Vegas click here.