A trilogy of fights just wasn’t enough. In a sport which is becoming dominated by money, it was never going to be enough. Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez makes money. It’s as simple as that. No matter how many of us all said we wouldn’t buy the fourth instalment of this fight, the chances are that come fight night, the initial stubbornness we had vanishes quicker than Saul Alvarez did from Madison Square Garden last Saturday. We will fork out our hard-earned to watch these two commence battle once more; praying and hoping that for once there is a conclusion we can all be satisfied with.
Fight number one ended in a draw; fight number two ended in a split-decision win for Pacquiao and fight number three ended in a majority decision victory for Manny. We’ve had every outcome imaginable, bar one; a knockout. Given how the first three fights have gone it’s unlikely we’ll get one. But you never know; stranger things have happened.
Aside from the three various outcomes listed above, all three fights share the similarity that they have been incredibly close. The third fight was the one many felt was the most decisive in terms of a winner. And the judges got it wrong.
I’m assuming you will have seen the first three fights, and more than likely have seen other bouts involving each man, so I’m also assuming you know how each of them fight. Buuuuuuut, in case you have been living somewhere other than earth then this is basically how things transpire when they come face-to-face in Nevada: Manny is aggressive and Marquez counter-punches him for 12 rounds but doesn’t get favoured by the aggressor-friendly Vegas judges. In twenty words there’s a summary of fights one, two and three.
Fight number four will feature much the same, but the winner will be decided by who wants it more; whoever fights with the higher intensity and, most importantly, whoever lands the cleaner punches.
For this bout, there is a significant switch in the three judges scoring the bout. A quick browse over their records indicate that they prefer the cleaner, more effective punching as opposed to the in-effective aggression that so often gets rewarded.
Judge one – Adalaide Byrd.
2012 notable fights: Brandon Rios vs. Richard Abril – 117-111 for Abril; Miguel Cotto vs. Austin Trout – 119-109 for Trout.
Judge two – Steve Weisfield.
2012 notable fights: Miguel Cotto vs. Austin Trout – 117-111 for Trout; Tomasz Adamek vs. Eddie Chambers – 116-112 for Adamek.
Judge three – John Keane.*
2012 notable fights: Ricky Hatton vs. Vyacheslav Senchenko – 77-76 for Hatton at time of stoppage; Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. vs. Andy Lee – 58-56 for Lee at time of stoppage.
*Keane’s two most notable fights of this year have both ended inside the distance, so to give a better idea of his preferences in scoring it’s worth mentioning his scorecard for Andre Ward vs. Carl Froch (118-110 for Ward), and his card for James DeGale vs. George Groves (115-114 for Groves).
I’m sure if you were to scroll through every single fight of each judge you would be able to find a questionable decision, but the point I’m attempting to make here is that, for the most part, these three judges are favourable towards the fighter who lands the cleaner punches.
Team Pacquiao are not stupid. They will have done their research when the judges were announced. This leads me to believe that Pacquiao will fight with a higher intensity than he did in the previous fight. If he’s going to emerge victorious, he’s going to have to be much more aggressive in the ring than he usually is. He’s going to have to take chances; take one to land two – that sort of thing.
For Marquez, well, it’s clear that his style troubles Pacquiao. If he is to win he’s going to have to make sure his punches are the more eye-catching; similar to what he did in the third encounter. If he is able to do so then he should, finally, get that elusive win over his long-time rival.