Thank you and goodnight
Thanks very much for for reading and for all your emails and tweets. Kevin's report will be online soon.
Well, that was as definitive as it could possibly have been. An incredibly decisive counter punch left Manny Pacquiao face down on the canvas. Pacman was probably leading on points at that point, and there had already been a pair of cancelled-out knockdowns, but that final punch settled the argument. For now.
@busfield Ha Ha!I said round 8, but it came sooner!!Marquez KO'd the Pacman!— J Carson (@Justwitta) December 9, 2012
@busfield Wow! don't think there is a way back for Pacquiao now.Face down & out is not a good way 2 go.Two losses in a row is heavy.— Malik Gul (@MalikGul) December 9, 2012
@busfield .. I called it within 6 for Pacquiao but Marquez just delivered a KO more brutal than the one Pacquiao gave Hatton! Great fight!— Sam Ince (@Sam_Ince) December 9, 2012
@busfield Deserved win by Marquez. What next for Manny? Anything except the presidency please.— Craig Murphy (@Craig_in_Manila) December 9, 2012
@busfieldYES!!! Revenge is sweet for Marquez!! He leaves it in no doubt whatsoever. Even Adelaide Byrd can't screw that one up!!!— Aphra_Behn (@AB_Owl) December 9, 2012
The loser speaks
"I thought I had got him."
"I am so careless."
"I am so overconfident."
"It is a good fight. I am overconfident. I thought I got him."
"If they give us a chance we will fight him [again].
The victor speaks
Marquez, via an interpreter, says:
"We knew he was going to come out aggressive. We were able to capitalise on it."
"We knew it was a difficult fight but not impossible to win."
"We had to use our technique and skill and not let Manny connect as he has usually done."
(Was the win down to all those new muscles?) "We worked strength and speed."
(Will there be a fifth fight?) "We will relax and talk to the family."
Marquez takes the "Fighter of the Decade" Belt
Marquez is crowned. Pacquiao is head down in the corner.
Marquez has won!
That was sensational - Pacquiao was looking the stronger and then in the final ten seconds of the round, pacquiao came forward only to lean straight into a huge right hand counter that send him to the canvas. Pacquiao was lying prone, face first on the canvas for quite some time...
There's a huge amount of blood over Marquez's face. Pacquiao is coming forward now, tasting his opportunity. That left jab of Pacman's is doing most of the damage. Right at the end of the round Marquez catches Pacquiao with a huge right and Pacquiao is down. Unable to get back up even though that shot came right at the bell. Marquez has won!
Pacquiao still throwing more left jabs than right. And it's one of those that finally counts: And then Marquez is down - only as far as his left glove. He takes a short standing count. Pacquiao senses victory and charges forward. Marquez looks hurt and wobbles. Pacquiao looks desperate to make his edge count, but can't land a decisive blow. And there's a cut to Marquez's nose.
Guardian unofficial score: Pacquiao 10-8 Marquez.
Southpaw Pacquiao lands several left jabs, but Marquez looks determined, set on his course. As Pacquiao attacks he leaves himself open to some good left jab counters from the Mexican. The pair trade shots in several little explosive bursts. Mrs Pacquiao looking anxious ringside.
Guardian unofficial score: Pacquiao 10-10 Marquez.
Pacquiao moving forward trying to land his big straight lefts - some land, most don't. Marquez is responding by throwing big lefts to the body. And then a huge right from Marquez sends Pacquiao to the canvas. Huge punch. Pacquiao up swiftly but there is no doubt that he was stunned by that big punch. There's a real old scrap at the end of the round as Pacquiao comes back. But that was a dramatic moment.
Guardian unofficial score: Pacquiao 8-10 Marquez.
Pacquiao the first to land a decent combination. Marquez cautious but finally lands a decent bodyshot. Pacquiao also finally lands a pair of good left hand shots to Marquez's head. At the end of the round the Mexican maneouvres Pacman into the corner, but doesn't follow up. An extremely cautious start by Marquez. Do these boxers know each other too well? Is there anything either can do to surprise the other?
Guardian unofficial score: Pacquiao 10-9 Marquez.
The pair bouncing around, neither committing too much too early. The crowd clearly behind Marquez. Pacquiao ducking, moving his head a lot to avoid Marquez blows to the head. Pacquiao the more aggressive, but only fractionally. Certainly not a first round like the one all those years ago when they first met.
Guardian unofficial score: Pacquiao 10-10 Marquez.
The next time you here from me...
...will be at the end of the first round...
The fighters are introduced
Some minor booing for Marquez, who is wearing mainly black shorts. And lots of booing for Pacquiao, wearing mainly grey trunks.
Let's get ready to rumble!
@busfield: My final prediction? Manny to win in emphatic fashion. He needs it more than Márquez.— Sahil Bhalla (@IMSahilBhalla) December 9, 2012
@busfield providing Manny can keep his feet moving then I'd say its over inside 6 rounds..— Sam Ince (@Sam_Ince) December 9, 2012
@busfield Awesome . . . we have the world's worst judge/ in Adelaide Byrd on the panel. Just brilliant— Aphra_Behn (@AB_Owl) December 9, 2012
And Mark Brown emails:
Come on Juan Manuel, you can beat this guy. You've done it 3 times before.
Here comes Pacquiao
Here comes Pacman...
Kevin ringside writes:
This is when the butterflies do a lap. Can only imagine what Pacquiao and Marquez feel like. They've done it three times before against each other and have been around forever, but this is their real final. Bet Pacquiao comes out smiling, though.
And what happened in this ring five years ago tonight? Floyd Mayweather Jnr knocked out Ricky Hatton. Seems longer than that, somehow.
Here comes Marquez
Here comes the Mexican to the strains of The Who...
...followed by some kind of Mexican folk song that I don't recognise but most of the crowd are singing along to. (Send me a link if you know what this song is).
Adalaide Byrd, from Nevada, John Keane, from England, and Steve Weisfeld, of New Jersey.
Ringside Kevin writes:
Crikey, that was some glorious mangling of the old Star Spangled Banner. What a wonderful tradition that is in American sport.... even though this is a fight between a Mexican and a Filipino.
I rather like that the American anthem can be sung/played in so many different manners/styles.
Last minute predictions (and trash talking)
@busfield Marquez finally lands a straight stomp to Pacqiao's left foot, giving him the leverage he's been looking for to KO Pacman.— MyLaylaLovesMe (@LonliestColor) December 9, 2012
@busfield Manny has to win if there is any chance of his fight with Floyd happening doesn't he ?— Kostas Porphiriou (@KPorphiriou) December 9, 2012
@busfield what's your prediction for the fight mate?— 'A.A' (@Allen_1229) December 9, 2012
Pacquiao to win on points. And nobody is happy...
Star Spangled Banner
Because we haven't had enough buildup, here's a third national anthem...
Philippine National Anthem
Mexican national anthem
The crowd are getting into this one...
Manny Pacquiao vs Juan Manuel Márquez
And so, the final event is finally here. Apologies that it has taken so long getting here - believe me I wouldn't have started this blog quite so long ago if I'd known then when the start time would be...
Gamboa beats Farenas by unanimous decision
Farenas gave that his all - he's exhausted and bloody at the end. Gamboa was too good. But also looks like a decent opponent would find him out.
Kevin Mitchell writes:
Well, are you still awake? Almost there. That was a lively little affair, lots of little explosions by Gamboa, blood, knockdowns and a rather tame final round. Be surprised if the Cuban hasn't won it. But then I'm often surprised in this game...
Gamboa vs Farenas
Gamboa, wearing the biggest shorts in the universe, red, with blue diagonals and white trim, is still throwing some decent punches, but he's also not bothering to defend with his left. Last round coming up...
Gamboa vs Farenas
Kevin Mitchell ringside writes:
Gamboa a little too cocky for his own good and walks on to a right that might have finished it right there in the ninth. He's got talent, the Cuban, but no respect for his opponent. Fight in the balance here, if Farenas can get through again, because he has to be trailing. Great atmosphere at ringside - at last.
Eleventh round coming up and that means we are closing in on the Main Event...
Predictions (and trash talking)
@busfield Manny will make us Filipino's PROUD when he wins this fight, and even MORE PROUD when he knocks out that Mexican P4P wannabe— John Alfred Lirio (@JaWn_Awl_Phr_Ed) December 9, 2012
@busfield Pacman gets knocked out in round 8. Marquez has been saving enough energy for this fight.— Vida Medtech (@Vitelvit) December 9, 2012
@busfield pacman to win a controversial UDGreetings from karachi— Ghazan Marwat (@GhazanMarwat) December 9, 2012
And an email from Dunalen:
8 years ago, marquez was a world champion and people believed he was at the end of his career at 31. pacquiao was young, fresh and promising at 26. kudos marquez for staying fit to keep fighting at 39 and pacman for making a name for himself outside of boxing.
unfortunately, this unnecessary 4th fight means one thing, they are both moving downhill but refuse to acknowledge it.
in my opinion, pacquiao only accepted the fight for the guaranteed $25M prize. romney knows how expensive a political campaign can get.
Gamboa vs Farenas
Round 9: Gamboa gets Farenas into the corner, lands many, many punches and then gets caught by a surprise counter and ends up on the deck.
Gamboa vs Farenas
Round 8 and Gamboa goes down, but it's another slip. Gamboa still spending a lot of time with at least one glove down. Farenas still bleeding. But there's not a huge amount to separate them in these later rounds. But Gamboa leading comfortably from the early rounds.
Gamboa vs Farenas
Ivan Williams emails:
Gamboa is rather cocky, no? If he keeps his hands down like that, he might get a surprising knockout, LL Cool J style, "Mama said..."
@busfield good fourth round, Gamboa deserves to see the deck for being so damn cocky.— Craig Murphy (@Craig_in_Manila) December 9, 2012
A messy seventh round, including Gamboa landing on the deck, but called a fall rather than a knockdown.
In the background Marquez is gloved up and shadow boxing. He looks ready to fight. Pacquiao meanwhile doesn't have his gloves on and is just watching this fight on the TV.
@busfield Pacman wants this fight rather than a rematch with Bradley. He is unto something here. Pacman to KO Manuel in less than 10 rounds.— john padilla (@john_sins) December 9, 2012
And Taylor Ayres McLean emails:
Great fight reportage and sports blogging at Guardian.
Life is better without TV. Like boxing and baseball on radio used to be. No noise.
Big win here for Marquez.
Saludos from jersey city...
Gamboa vs Farenas
Five rounds in and Farenas is pretty badly cut, but hanging in. Gamboa's comfortably ahead on points I think and still throwing some big punches, but this could well go 12 and Gamboa hasn't fought for more than a year so exhaustion could yet play a part.
Gamboa vs Farenas
Kevin Mitchell writes from ringside:
A Mexican wave greets the start of Gamboa-Farenas, another mutual non-aggression pact - at least most of them are Mexicans. And then the Cuban rocked. Maybe we've got a fight at last. Gamboa can fight, if he wants to. And Farenas is pretty sure now that he wants to.
Gamboa and now Farenas now swinging them from the two-bob seats, as my dad used to say. Fancy Gamboa to finish it down the line, although he is a hugely unreliable conveyance (as my dad used to say).
@busfield Pacquiao wins with a 7th round KO— Mike Boogie (@Mike_saenzz) December 9, 2012
@busfield waiting to view the fight live here from Manila. PACMAN is a real icon here! We're all cheering for him!Pacman will win.— John Beck (@lifephilippines) December 9, 2012
Gamboa vs Farenas
Farenas now has cuts around both eyes. One (probably) from a punch, the other from a butt. Gamboa doing quite a bit of showboating, spending a disparaging period of the round with both his gloves down, even when he was theoretically defending.
Gamboa vs Farenas
First round was unsurprisingly cagey. The second less so. A big shot from Farenas led to a furious onslaught by the former Olympic champ. Just before the bell a big Gamboa combination put Farenas on the deck.
Big fight predictions
Mariano Aquino emails:
"Pacquiao on 10 rounds."
Mark Brown writes:
What's the betting that Marquez does a number on him again and Pac gets the decision (again)? Too much dosh riding on the Mayweather fight for Marquez to get a fair shake. It's America and money is god.
@busfield Boxing judges will somehow screw up the fight and put another stain on the boxing sport— Ace (@AceOfCakez) December 9, 2012
Yuriorkis Gamboa vs Michael Farenas
And, so, we have the last fight on the undercard, for the vacant WBA superfeatherweight title. Filipino Farenas has plenty of KO victories - and four draws. Olympic gold medallist Gamboa has won all of his 21 pro fights.
Kevin Mitchell writes:
50 Cent, recently split from Mayweather, lowered into ring a'la Naz, and does his rap thing. All very entertaining, but not much action in the ring tonight. Wonder if Mitt still awake?
So, rapper 50 Cent has just been lowered from the roof, singing. He's a promoter of the last fight before the main event...
More on that Pacquiao-Romney meeting
Mitt Romney in Pacquiao locker room. "Hello Manny. I ran for president. I lost." Seriously.— Greg Bishop (@nytbishop) December 9, 2012
#Pacquiao locker now near normal. And by normal we mean 35 grown men watching another grown man tape his hands. More fun than it sounds.— Greg Bishop (@nytbishop) December 9, 2012
@busfield PAC man to win by 10th/11th round ko— maca (@maca_official) December 9, 2012
@busfield Pacquiao late knock out, he'll give Marquez the first few then attack him towards the final rounds!— Aqeel Butt (@Aqeel_B786) December 9, 2012
@busfield: as an Indian waiting to watch the fight in NYC online after a long day college work. I'm hoping for a long classic match.— Sahil Bhalla (@IMSahilBhalla) December 9, 2012
@busfield Pacquiao and Marquez were born to fight each other forever!— Vapourmate (@vapourmate) December 9, 2012
That last one scares me a little...
Miguel Vazquez beats Mercito Gesta with a convincing unanimous points decision.
Duane Goodson returns:
Oh believe me 33 is not retirement age, I am not a cheerleader for Pac but at 33 he is young enough to take on Floyd (I'm afraid Manny will end my career) Mayweather. If he disposes of Manuel convincingly that sets up the "omg" fight.
That is the fight we want. But I'm not convinced that Pacquiao winning convincingly will bring it closer...
End of an era 2
The New York Times today asked how much longer these (and other) fighters would go on:
Pacquiao is also indicative of the state of modern boxing, of an era far closer to the end than to the beginning. He will turn 34 this month. Floyd Mayweather Jr. is 35; Sergio Martinez is 37. Ricky Hatton recently retired again. Erik Morales should. [Miguel] Cotto could.
More on that here.
HBO has Vazquez beating Gesta in all ten rounds of this fight so far. You're not missing much...
Merchant and Pacquiao
Now we have HBO's Larry Merchant interviewing Manny Pacquiao. Except Pacquiao is holding the mic and asking the questions:
Pacquiao: "What do you have to say about tonight's fight"
Merchant: "I have to confirm to everyone that I did win all the three previous fights."
Pacquiao: "That's my line"
End of an era?
To continue that theme, how much longer will these boxers go on? Will we ever get to the much-demanded, much-talked-about Pacquiao vs Mayweather fight? If Pacman wins does that make a matchup with Mayweather more or less likely? I suspect not because it will mean that the Pacman is still a boxer to fear. But if Pacquiao loses and Mayweather takes up the challenge, it would surely diminish the event.
There's a deluge of emails and tweets descending upon me. Lots of them asking what time the fight will be (An hour or so? Depends on how long the current fight and the last fight before the main event last). But lots of them very much looking forward to the fight. But over the last week or so there has also been much debate about why this fight is happening and what it will prove.
I’m struggling to get excited for this bout.
On paper that’s somewhat strange. All three of their previous bouts have been entertaining affairs where the aggression, speed and power of Pac and the defensive nous and counter-punching of Marquez combine. They have all been close, back and forth affairs, none of which have ever had a truly decisive winner. Both of these men are supremely talented boxers and both are almost certainly hall-of-famers. In recent years it is hard to think of 36 rounds that any other two boxers have put together which have combined the excitement and the high level of skill these two have shown.
But still, I find myself somewhat ambivalent.
This fight inspires feelings in me similar to another one, ironically featuring Marquez’s brother. Rafael Marquez and Israel Vázquez put on three classic bouts… fight of the year contenders all featuring guts, glory, blood heart and technique. And then they had a completely unnecessary fourth where both men, near to the ends of their careers already, looked old and tired. Marquez had more left than Vasquez, despatching the brave Mexican but his career has been little more than a disappointment since, headlined by losses to Juanma, Nishioka and Mijares. Vasquez has never fought since.
That is what I fear this bout will be. We know both men (Pac at 33 and Marquez at 39) are past their best and have one eye outside the realm of boxing (especially Pac with his political commitments). We know that Pac hasn’t looked great in recent bouts (even if you think he did beat Bradley). We already know how these bouts generally go; close rounds where Pac tries to hit and hurt Marquez before Marquez can counter his shots. Will this fight prove conclusively who the better man is? If Marquez wins does that show all of his previous losses (and the draw) were robberies? If Pac wins does that mean he wasn’t pushed to the limit in the three previous bouts? If either fighter stops the other does it do anything but show one has aged worse than the other? And worse… does a narrow, close bout with a controversial winner mean we see a 5th bout? Will these two end their days sat opposite each other in a nursing home, slamming their wheelchairs into each other while the equally ancient Jim Lampley and Larry Merchant continue to wheeze out their platitudes and one-liners?
I’ll watch. I’m a sucker and I’ll always watch. Boxing has me… I watched Jones vs Hopkins 2 afterall. But I struggle to care. I know the fight will be exciting. I know the atmosphere will be electric. I know that I may be seeing the end of one (if not two) greats. But I can imagine not bothering. I can imagine simply going to bed. And I don’t like it. I don’t like feeling that way.
The buildup to this fight has featured some of the usual trash talking and also some insinuations of unfair practices. Earlier this week my colleague Kevin Mitchell reported:
Pacquiao's straight-talking trainer, Freddie Roach, ignited the debate when he said that if the freshly chiselled physique of the 39-year-old Mexican was the result of natural training, he would, "kiss his ass". Roach has grown impatient with both rivals and colleagues recently, notably Pacquiao's own strength adviser, Alex Ariza, and describes the input of all conditioners and nutritionists as "bullshit".
His attack on Márquez prompted a swift reply from the fighter's controversial strength coach, Angel Hernández...."You cannot speak without having any proof. It is a faulty allegation on his part. It's not Manny; he has been a gentleman. Perhaps [Roach] is scared about the fight."...
...One of the reasons Roach is suspicious of Márquez's preparation is the continued presence in his camp of Hernández.
Hernández, a former Mexican national discus champion, was known as Angel Guillermo "Memo" Heredia when a chemist in the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative and was a key prosecution witness in the famous Balco case that exposed their supply of banned performance-enhancing drugs to a wide cross-section of prominent athletes in American sport.
More on that here.
Duane Goodson emails:
I think that Manny has the heart of a champion. He should have knocked out Manuel already based on what I saw in the previous fights. 3 round knock out is my prediction if it goes longer I will be surprised.
Well, that is sticking your neck out, Duane. And that sort of result would certainly conclude the debate.
Failed presidential candidate Mitt Romney wishes Pacquiao Good Luck and congratulates him on his successful political career.
How long until the main event? all your emails ask me. Probably another hour. At least. These thoughts from Matthew:
@busfield There's still two more fights to go before the main event and I believe both are scheduled for 12 rounds— Matthew Rhodes (@Consortium_11) December 9, 2012
@busfield Gamboa may finish early but the Vazquez/Gesta bout has a decent chance of going the distance. 90 minutes till main event I suspect— Matthew Rhodes (@Consortium_11) December 9, 2012
Next up is Miguel Vazquez vs Mercito Gesta, for the IBF lightweight championship (which is actually a real title, of sorts).
John Padilla sends an email similarly to many others clogging my inbox:
can you tell me please, from now, how many more hours before the fight, starts? Where i am, no one seems to know at what local time , the fight starts.
The fight should be about an hour from now. Should be. But it will probably be longer than that. As for what time that is where you are, well, that depends on where you are, John. It's 7pm in Las Vegas (I think). And this is always useful:
Makes me laugh every time. Every. Time.
Dominican Javier Fortuna beats Irishman Patrick Hyland on a unanimous points decision. I wasn't really watching the early part of the fight, but he looked in trouble in the later stages.
Trilogy vs Quadrilogy
Way back in 2011 when I liveblogged the last Pacquiao vs Marquez fight, and Bob Arum was promoting a very special night of boxing, he said this:
"If you ask me there is nothing better in boxing than a great trilogy. They give fight fans an opportunity to get to know the fighters through a whole body of work rather than on the basis on just one night, when one of the guys might be a little bit off or the referee has a bad night."
I haven't yet heard Mr Arum talking about how a Quadrilogy is even better. But he has been spreading the gospel about this series being one of the greatest ever. Is it? They are certainly very good boxers and have engaged in some serious boxing. But does it stand up to the greatest series? And in a series that is already 2-0, just what will this fourth fight prove?
What are they fighting for 2?
@busfield Pedantic correction to my pedantic correction; it's the "Fighter of the Decade" belt. Which doesn't make it any less stupid...— Matthew Rhodes (@Consortium_11) December 9, 2012
Indeed, even more ridiculous. Unless they can guarantee that the winner will get a shot at Mayweather.
Plus Matthew has advice on UK TV options:
MGM Grand latest...
Mitt and Mrs Romney here - but not her horse. Like the Presidential debates, Mitt has gone out early. Long night ahead. Sergio Martinez sitting next to birthday boy Bob Arum. Sergio's defence against Martin Murray is nailed for Argentina in April. Brit middles all well placed: Murray, last night's winner Darren Barker and Matt Macklin (watching back home). MM, a shrewd analyst, has gone for Marquez in the big one. Still think Pac will do it.
Fortuna vs Hyland
Into round 9 of Fortuna vs Hyland and the man in green has just pushed his opponent to the floor and then landed a low-blow seconds later. The referee is being pretty lenient with these. And after several rounds of sparring the pair have started going at each other hell for leather...
What are they fighting for?
@busfield Pedantic correction; the promoters aren't calling it the Fight of the Decade... the WBO invented a belt called that for the bout.— Matthew Rhodes (@Consortium_11) December 9, 2012
Which is even more ridiculous....
What will they do if we ever get a Pacquiao vs Mayweather fight? Especially if Marquez wins this fight and walks away with the "WBO Fight of the Decade" title?
Ivan Williams writes:
I'm looking forward to the fight. But, I would really prefer a knock out, versus someone winning on points.
I think everyone is with you on that one, Ivan.
MGM Grand latest...
Kevin Mitchell emails:
Press room heaving - with food. Fight hacks always had healthy appetites and an eye for a bargain: ie free nosh. They will filter down to the arena soon, no doubt. Most are website guys these days, as papers die across the world. Dublin feather Patrick Hyland (27-0) hanging in but trailing after five rounds against unbeaten Californian Javier Fortuna in WBA "interim" 12-rounder.
Adam Conlon in Manchester emails:
Marquez to win by two rounds
The key word being "by" rather than "in" I'm presuming, Adam.
@busfield Do you know what time the main event is likely to be??— LH (@LiamHine23) December 9, 2012
Probably 11pm ET / 8am PT / 4am GMT. Probably.
@busfield It's ten past two in the UK. Tempted to stay up to watch to big fight. I've got a feeling it could be Márquez's night at last!— Mathew Hampson (@mjhampson89) December 9, 2012
Anyone else for Marquez?
@busfield Is the fight on uk tv?— Darren James (@dazzlaj) December 9, 2012
Can anyone help, Darren? I'm in the USofA...
Yesterday Kevin wrote:
"Eight years, 36 rounds and three weight divisions have barely separated the two, but I'm taking the Filipino to edge it."
You can read the rest of his big fight preview here.
Kevin Mitchell is in the house. He will be sending over updates through the evening and his report after the fight. In the meantime, he's just emailed: "Bob Arum says Romney is in the house which, unfortunately for Democrats (of which Bob, 81 today, is one), in this case is not mob slang for up the river. 50 Cent also here after split with Mayweather. The stars are out."
While we wait for the main event, how about catching up with the history. The first fight was a stunning battle, featuring three knockdowns by Pacquiao in the opening round and a long, determined comeback by Marquez:
HBO have just unveiled the three fights on the undercard, so it might be a couple of hours until the main event. Depends how long these fights take, of course. First up will be Patrick Hyland, fighting out of NY via Dublin, vs Javier Fortuna. I won't be going round-by-round for that one, but will give updates. And feel free to get in touch with your thoughts via Twitter to @Busfield or via email to email@example.com
And so here we go again, Manny Pacquiao vs Juan Manuel Marquez - 4!
Pacquiao leads the series 2-0, with one draw, and yet bizarrely the feeling is that Pacman needs to win this fight comfortably - preferably via a knockdown - to prove himself the better of the two fighters.
Marquez has said over and over that he believes he won all three previous meetings. And there are plenty of others who support his view, particularly at the MGM Grand tonight - Mexican boxing fans in Las Vegas heavily outnumbering the support for the Filipino.
But perhaps it is Marquez who needs to make the statement: he is, after all, trailing 0-2 in the series and has been sent to the canvas several times.
Indeed, eight years ago when this pair first met, after just three minutes nobody would have expected the rivalry to go as far as a Quadrilogy. Marquez was knocked down three times in 90 seconds and clinging on. He recovered, turned that fight into a battle that the judges just couldn't split and led to a matchup that reappeared in 2008, 2011 and now 2012.
The pair aren't even fighting for a title belt - Pacquiao "lost" his to Timothy Bradley in June. So, it's pride at stake tonight. The promoters have to call it something so it's the The Fight of the Decade. Cynics are calling it the Fight of the Decayed, but that's just rude.
HBO's live coverage has just started (after several hours of weigh-ins, 24/7s etc etc). The fight could start as early as 10pm ET / 7pm PT / 3am GMT, but I will update those timings as the evening develops.
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