Calls for Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez to fight for a fifth time on the exhibition circuit are getting louder by the day.
Since Pacquiao announced his involvement in the alternative method of fighting past retirement, the Marquez clash is high on everyone’s wishlist.
Some are even stating it would be the ‘most exciting exhibition ever’ if the pair decided to re-spark their long-running rivalry,
Their beef dates back to 2004 when Bob Arum made the masterstroke decision to put the lower-weight fighters together in a blockbuster featherweight title unification match-up.
The ensuing draw left everyone with their mouths open and wanting more as Marquez found himself on the wrong end of a bad decision.
Pacquiao vs Marquez rematch
It took four years for Pacquiao vs Marquez II to get over the line despite the stalemate. Another split-point fiasco saw Pacquiao take the spoils leaving a sour taste in the Mexican’s mouth.
They remained apart for three years until Arum managed to secure a trilogy. Again it was Pacquiao getting the nod with a third close verdict.
Determined to give Marquez a final chance, Top Rank took just thirteen months to announce the fourth fight for December 8, 2012.
That date will live long in the memory of JMM. He went into the fight knowing his career was on the downside. Marquez was battle-hardened but also battle-weary.
He had one shot against the speedier Pacquiao. That was to take him down. For months, Marquez and his team worked on a strategy to survive an early onslaught and land one telling blow that could end the contest.
Punch heard around the world
It worked perfectly. After four rounds of taking punishment and hitting the canvas, Marquez caught Pacquiao with an almighty shot. It was the punch heard worldwide as the “Pac-Man” fell flat on his face and was ultimately out of it.
Referee Kenny Bayless ended the fight immediately as Marquez began celebrating in amazing scenes.
At the time, it was automatically assumed they would have a fifth fight to give Pacquiao a revenge chance and Marquez the opportunity to level up at two wins each and a draw.
However, Marquez ended the saga on his terms after putting up with three debatable decisions. For him, it was the best way to end the rivalry.
He walked away despite calls from Pacquiao to agree on another. The Filipino even resorted to baiting tactics in an attempt to do it again.
“It actually is up to him,” Pacquiao told The Manila Standard after few months after his knockout. “Me? Well, everybody knows I’ll fight anyone.
“I am not scared of anybody. And that is the reason why boxing fans like me so much. I never avoid anyone. And I don’t choose easy fights. I will fight anybody, anytime, anywhere.”
“If he [Marquez] doesn’t want to fight me, then I don’t want to fight him either. So be it. It’s that simple.
“He says he doesn’t want to fight me because he won our last fight? Well, I am still ahead in the tally of our last four fights. I won two, lost one, and drew one.”
On his return, which ended up being a bout with Brandon Rios in Macau, Pacquiao added: “Bob Arum and I have been talking and will continue talking.
“What is definite is they’ll see me fight again come September. Not April nor immediately after that, as speculations are going.
“Tell the public that it won’t be long before I make them happy again when I fight.”
Hopes are growing that Pacquiao will get his wish in an exhibition. He’s already fought Combat YouTuber DK Yoo and was due to fight again in February.
Those plans seem to have faded, with Marquez certainly an option for late 2023.
So far, Marquez has resisted getting back in the squared circle despite agreeing to fight Miguel Cotto in 2021.
Cotto’s team confirmed the fight was off, having initially agreed to the exhibition.
“It is no longer on our agenda,” Hector Soto of Cotto Promociones told Primera Hota. “It’s not happening anymore. It’s over.”
Pacquiao vs Marquez V is a no-brainer if both fighters remain in shape. It has to happen at some point, if only for reminiscence purposes.