The upcoming fourth fight on Saturday night between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez has all the intrigue of a celebrity tennis tournament. That is, absolutely none. As a boxing enthusiast who loves the sport, this fourth fight may prove to be the last of both men’s careers. Why is this fourth fight so uninteresting? First, although Pacquiao’s performance against Bradley in his last fight was far better than his performance in Marquez III, clearly, Manny has lost a step. When a fighter as gifted and talented as Pacquiao once was, loses a step, it’s incredibly noticeable, far more than when a good fighter loses a step. The expectations are so high, that anything but a top-notch performance, is seen as a disappointment. Second, At thirty-nine, Marquez has lost two steps. Despite his huge heart and great chin, Marquez is no longer an elite fighter. In fact, he and his family should be concerned for his health. Any of these final bouts could be the one that causes him permanent brain damage. Third, people want to see Pacquiao, Mayweather and anything other than that fight is unexciting. Fourth, Marquez, had his butt handed to him against Mayweather and therefore, if the so-called super fight is to ever again be intriguing, Manny must knock Marquez out cold. If he couldn’t finish him off in their first meeting, logic and time would dictate he can’t do it now. Anything less, will be unacceptable to true fight fans. Finally, this is a “who cares” fight; it’s just not interesting. They fought three times and all three were very close affairs. On the other hand, a Bradley rematch would have been the far better choice despite the almost universal consensus that Manny won their first fight. Of course, Marquez is a safer opponent for Pacquiao and if he wins on Saturday night it will set up, at last, the fight with Mayweather that everyone wants to see. If that fight doesn’t happen immediately following this one, we will never see Mayweather vs. Pacquiao.
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