Fight fans would be hard-pressed to find a more hotly-contested and hotly-debated series in boxing than Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez, the fourth installment of which goes down this weekend (Sat., Dec. 8, 2012) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
While Pacquiao is officially ahead 2-0-1, arguments can (and very vehemently have) been made that either man should be undefeated in the trilogy. As the two familiar foes prepare for perhaps their final confrontation, the debate has only intensified.
Thankfully, HBO -- the pay-per-view (PPV) home of the upcoming prize fight -- has put all three of their fights on YouTube for free. In this, the first of three "Settling the Score" segments, we will look back at Pacquiao vs. Marquez I, contested at featherweight in May of 2004.
Was a draw the right result? Did Marquez battle back sufficiently from a disastrous first round to earn a nod?
Let's find out.
Round One: Pacquiao comes out aggressively with his southpaw jab. The first lead left comes inside 30 seconds, Marquez hunting the counter. Good right from Marquez. Feeler jab exchange. Counter one-two from Marquez. Counter left from Marquez is answered by a monstrous left straight that puts him on his seat. Pacquiao comes in with a vengeance and slams a series of left hands home until he scores a second knockdown. The FIlipino phenom is relentless as he pursues Marquez to the ropes and puts him down a third time. Somehow, Marquez withstands a veritable cavalcade of bombs in the last thirty seconds to survive the round, nose bloodied. 10-6 Pacquiao,
Round Two: Another pair of left straights connect, answered by Marquez uppercuts. Good counter left from the Mexican. Another left from Pac-Man. Body shot and left straights for the FIlipino and another. Marquez responds with a hook. Both men land their power hands. Things slow down at the halfway point. 2-1 for Manny. Jab and another left. Flurry by Marquez inside. Hard shots by both men to end the round. 10-9, 20-15 Pacquiao.
Round Three: Jabs early. Right hook by Manny. Marquez body blow and a left hook upstairs. Good right to the breadbasket from the Mexican strays low. Good exchange. Manny runs headlong into a left and then a right. Counter left from JMM, both men land. Round ends with them tagging each other hard after a brief lull in the action. 10-9 Marquez, 29-25 Pacquiao.
Round Four: Marquez presses forward to start and lands a combination. Big left and right from Manny, then his lead left. Body shot Manny. Manny just blocks a counter uppercut. Pacquiao with a left. Stiff jab from JMM, who responds to a hard left with a pair of body shots. Right from the Mexican, right hook Pacquiao. Pacquiao avoids a one-two and lands a right. Body shot countered. JMM with a right. Very close round, slight edge 10-9 Marquez. 38-35 Pacquiao
Round Five: Jabs early. Counter right from JMM. Pacquiao to the body with a right. Right from the Mexican, then one to the body. Both men connect with their lead hands. Good combo from Pacquiao, but Marquez snaps Manny's head back with a right. Unfazed, Manny lands a pair of lefts, only to run into yet another counter. Good pair of rights for the Mexican, then a left to the guts. Big punches by Marquez as he forces Manny to the ropes. Brilliant round from JMM; 47-45 Pacquiao.
Round Six: Pacquiao with a lot of movement early, but eats a thudding left to the body. HUGE right hand from Marquez sends the Filipino stumbling back; Pacquiao comes back with big shots of his own, but can't reach JMM. Nice counters high and low from Marquez after getting tagged with a left. Good uppercuts and body shot from Marquez. Right to the body. 56-55 Pacquiao.
Round Seven: Both men connect with lefts. Hard exchange in close. Right from JMM and a pair of jabs. Right hands connect for both, left from Manny. Left from Manny, left from Marquez in response. Manny with a right. Big left from Manny and a good one-two. Marquez digs to the body as they trade hard. Thumping right to the body from the Mexican. Marquez catches Manny with the end of a right hand, then eats a big left and responds with a right. Another very, very close round, but I'm leaning towards Manny. 66-64 Pacquiao.
Round Eight: Marquez just misses with a one-one-two. Marquez combo blocked, clinch. Pacquiao with a sneaky lead left. Clash of heads. Lead left to the body from Manny, right up top. Marquez with a straight to the body of his own. Pacquiao with another left, Marquez smacks him with a right and nearly scores a knockdown as Manny stumbles. Pacquiao firing back, there's the bell. 10-9 Marquez, 75-74 Pacquiao.
Round Nine: Pac-Man connects with a lead to the body. Stiff double jab from JMM. Marquez again digs to the body as Manny tries to bull his way inside. Marquez with a right to the body. JMM backs Manny up with combinations, but Manny comes back and lands a left. Right uppercut by Manny grazes his foe. Marquez doubles up his right and slips a left. Pacquiao with a hard left and another. Another. Right from Marquez and another to end the round. Excellent slugfest near the end, all tied up at 84-84.
Round Ten: Good right from Marquez, left to the body from Pacquiao. Right hook by Manny, straight to the body by Marquez. Good combinations from both, left straights from Manny. Another left by Manny. Jabbing by both, uppercut to the body in close from JMM. Pacquiao with another left. Marquez lands well on the ropes to end the round, but not quite enough. 94-93 Pacquiao.
Round Eleven: Left from Marquez lands, then a solid counter right. Good left from Pacquiao, but he eats an uppercut in close. Marquez with a straight. Right hook by Manny. Marquez lands well in close. Left hook. Lead left Pacquiao, lead right Marquez. Pacquiao power shots fall close. Both land hard shots in the last ten seconds. Marquez round, clearly. 103-103.