• Steve Bunce

Why Pacquiao v Marquez V makes sense

Steve Bunce December 11, 2012
Juan Manuel's 'perfect punch' left Manny Pacquiao sprawled on the canvas © Getty Images

Juan Manuel Marquez's right which knocked out Manny Pacquiao was a perfect punch, a rare treasure in professional boxing.

I can only count seeing such a punch on a dozen occasions in my life and if you throw one just once in your life you are doing well.

If that punch didn't land then I think Pacquiao would have won the fight but that punch, which probably travelled all of two inches, re-wrote their history.

Ironically it was not dissimilar to the punch that Pacquiao hit Ricky Hatton with in 2009 and it was the same type of punch that left Roy Jones on the canvas against Glen Johnson back in 2004.

Juan Manuel Marquez's right which knocked out Manny Pacquiao was a perfect punch, a rare treasure in professional boxing

A large part of these two fighters' careers have involved one another so what's next for them? If Marquez had nicked a points decision after 12 rounds I think he would have retired and been a very happy man.

However because of the nature of his win and the fact that he could triple his money in a $20-odd million re-match, I think he will stay around. That means a Pacquiao-Marquez 5 or even another fight between the Mexican and Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Don't worry too much about everyone's favourite Filipino though because Pacquiao can do one of several things. He might go for revenge against Tim Bradley, who he fought in the summer and was clearly the winner, but he hasn't seemed particularly interested in that option so far.

But, in theory, that would give him some confidence before trying to fight Marquez again, and as his promoter Bob Arum said on that idea: "Why not?"

Or he could re-route himself and fight Mayweather in November next year, by-passing Marquez completely. Yet the fight which carries the most cash common sense is a fifth fight back in Las Vegas with Marquez in May, it's that simple.

Pacquiao's trainer Freddie Roach raised a point in the pre-bout shenanigans by saying that the change in Marquez's physique between this fight and their contest in 2011 didn't look natural.

He didn't elaborate but it's quite a thing to say. I don't think it's impossible to create that physical change in one year and that is how long Marquez has been working with a specialist conditioner who has a murky past.

Angel Hernandez is his name now but in 2008 he was involved in a fabulously high-profile drugs case and back then he was known as Angel Heredia.

He was a government witness in a case against the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, and he was basically an informer on deeds that went on at BALCO. A snitch in the illegal business of drug dealing.

He admitted his involvement in the unsavoury goings on and the case ensnared a lot of track athletes.

He says now that he is clean and only deals with clean athletes but there will always be people who talk. Of course, the bottom line is that both Marquez and Pacquiao took, and passed, all the local and required drug tests for this fight.

Pacquiao, who has sailed through all of his drug tests, has fought underneath a cloud of suspicion for a long time anyway. That's one of the reasons why a bout with Mayweather has not yet taken place - the others being the split of the money and Mayweather's vast ego.

Roach will no doubt be keeping a keen eye on this weekend's fights as his former charge Amir Khan is in action in what I would argue is the biggest fight of the Bolton man's career, even if it ends up as an easy win. It is a must win fight.

Roach was dumped after Khan lost to Danny Garcia in July and if Khan suddenly looks amazing then it will be seen by some as a double blow to his methods after Pac-Man's loss. Crazily, Roach was the saviour of Khan's career four years ago and I don't think his reputation has suffered a great deal since Khan switched to Virgil Hunter. Fighters switch all the time, no big deal.

When any high-profile fighter loses an important fight, one of the first things to go is the trainer. It's in everyone's interest in Khan's 'new' camp to try and create a story that Khan is a different fighter now, even if doing so suggests that the previous trainer was wanting in some areas But that's the way boxing is and people should not imagine it has ever been any different.

His opponent this weekend, Carlos Molina, is a light puncher and although he is unbeaten, he operates at a weight below Khan so Amir not only needs to win, he needs to win big.

After back-to-back defeats I think it's obvious he needs a confidence booster and his promoters Golden Boy look like they have got him a sensible win.

Having said that, I don't think it will be a knock out because Khan will have no reason to stop him early and my hunch is he would prefer to get a few rounds under his belt.

So looking past Molina, I think his next fight will be a re-match with Garcia because the American's knock out five months ago really damaged Khan's career and altered its course. But whoever he fights next, it certainly will not be as easy as this one on Saturday.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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Steve Bunce has been ringside in Las Vegas over 50 times, he has been at five Olympics and has been writing about boxing for over 25 years for a variety of national newspapers in Britain, including four which folded! It is possible that his face and voice have appeared on over 60 channels worldwide in a variety of languages - his first novel The Fixer was published in 2010 to no acclaim; amazingly it has been shortlisted for Sports Book of the Year.