Lower weight superstars Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez fought their epic rivalry over two decades: fights one and two coming in the 2000 to 2009 decade, fights three and four taking place in the decade that has just ended. And it is argued by many passionate fight fans that Marquez and Pacquiao gave us THE boxing rivalry of the modern era.
Back in the ’20s it was Tunney-Dempsey. In the ’30s it was Louis-Schmeling. In the ’40s it was Robinson-LaMotta. In the ’50s it was Robinson-Fullmer/Robinson-Basilio. In the ’60s it was Ali-Liston. In the ’70s it was Ali-Frazier. In the ’80s it was Leonard-Hearns. In the ’90s it was Bowe-Holyfield. And in the 2000s it was Pacquiao-Marquez.
Two fighters so evenly matched, so brilliantly skilled and so fiercely determined to win giving their all and thrilling tens of millions with each of their four incredible battles. As fans know, the two first collided in Las Vegas (Vegas hosting all four showdowns) back in May of 2004, with the two duking it out to a 12-round draw at featherweight. The rivalry begun, we had to wait almost four full years for the rematch, which finally came in March of 2008 up at super-featherweight. Once again the two failed to settle their differences; Pac Man winning a controversial 12-round split decision.
Another near four-year wait was endured, before the two fantastic and fantastically evenly matched warriors fought again. In November of 2011, up at welterweight, the two gave us another nail-biter, with Pacquiao again winning via close, debatable decision, this time a majority verdict. Was Manny’s star power swaying the judges? Would there be a fourth fight between the two future Hall of Famers?
As it turned out, the most shocking fight of the series was saved for last. The fourth battle, which took place in December of 2012, also at welterweight, ended as conclusively as is possible for a boxing match. This time, Marquez shocked the entire world. Another gruelling war was shaping up, with savage punches and knockdowns exchanged, before ‘IT’ happened. With a second remaining in the sixth-round, “Dinamita” crashed home with the punch of his career, a right hand that instantly knocked Pacquiao out. It was as special as it was so utterly unexpected. Without a shred of doubt, this was The KO Of The Decade.
Four great fights, fought over eight years, producing 42 sizzling rounds of thrilling warfare. Pacquiao won the series 2-1-1, but Marquez ended the rivalry with one helluva bang. Again, Marquez KO6 Pacquiao is The KO Of The Decade, 2010-2019.
Happy New Year, fight fans.