On Saturday night, boxing icon Manny Pacquiao will go toe-to-toe with Mexican hero Juan Manuel Marquez for the fourth time.
Due to the controversy surrounding the first three fights, both fighters feel that a fourth encounter is necessary to settle the score.
The first fight was declared a draw, which I agree with; unfortunately, I did not see the second bout.
As for the third fight, I scored it in favor of Pacquiao by a very slim margin.
Marquez feels that he was cheated in all three fights, and many in the boxing world agree with him.
At the same time, Pacquiao wants to prove that the two victories over "Dinamita" were legit.
This will be the second fight of the 2012 calendar year for both fighters. Here is how we got to this point:
Pacquiao VS Marquez III—which took place a year and four days ago—came about after the "Pac-Man" failed on his second attempt to get a fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
After that legendary battle, Pacquiao tried to secure a deal with Mayweather one more time.
When the third round of negotiations broke down between the two camps, Mayweather booked a bout with Miguel Cotto instead.
Pacquiao was open to fighting Marquez again at that time; instead, Marquez went on to defeat Ukrainian light welterweight contender Serhiy Fedchenko in April.
Meanwhile, Timothy Bradley had already issued a challenge to Pacquiao after his November 2011 knockout of Joel Casamayor.
Bradley eagerly awaited a response from the Filipino congressman, but he wound up waiting a lot longer than he had hoped.
When Pacquiao found himself out of options, he accepted Bradley's challenge.
The fight took place in June, and by then Floyd Mayweather was already serving his jail sentence.
The world was shocked when the judges ruled in favor of Bradley, giving Pacquiao his first loss in seven years. It was also his first loss as a welterweight.
I was one of hundreds to score the fight in Pacquiao's favor.
Many felt that the loss was payback for the controversial decision the former champion was given against Marquez.
Regardless, this now put Pacquiao's back against the wall and a future fight with Mayweather in doubt.
In the aftermath, Miguel Cotto was the first one waiting in line. He was looking for a rematch from their 2009 fight, which Pacquiao won in dominating fashion.
Cotto was turned down because Pacquiao wanted to move up to super welterweight—to take the fight as Cotto had requested.
Once Floyd Mayweather was released from prison, he announced that he did not plan to fight again until 2013.
From there it looked like we would get a Pacquiao/Bradley rematch; that was, until Juan Manuel Marquez came calling again.
While Pacquiao does deserve a rematch with Bradley, fighting Marquez will make more money.
It will also put the many doubts from the first three fights to rest.
Everything is hanging in the balance for Manny Pacquiao. Here is my take how a Pacquiao loss on Saturday affects his future:
For starters, a loss to Marquez will most certainly cancel out a future fight with Floyd Mayweather.
Mayweather has already beaten Marquez, so Marquez beating Pacquiao would give "Pretty Boy" Floyd his ticket to possible fights with either Miguel Cotto or Canelo Alvarez.
If Pacquiao does lose on Saturday, he would have to decide whether to continue fighting or focus on his political aspirations.
Pacquiao is up for re-election in the Philippines, and it seems like a landslide victory for him is guaranteed.
Pacquiao's wife Jinkee is also running for office in their native homeland. Should Pacquiao lose to Marquez, it's very possible that he would take time off to focus on his political career.
Should Pacquiao be unable to get that dream fight with Mayweather, rematches with Cotto and Bradley are his best options.
I could also see him stepping in the ring with guys like Amir Khan, Danny Garcia, and Carlos Molina.
His only other options are to move up in weight or retire. I look forward to a very exciting fight on Saturday night.
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