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10:25 PM December 6th, 2012

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By: Sev Sarmenta, December 6th, 2012 10:25 PM

When Manny Pacquiao was shopping around for a suitable opponent in January this year, Juan Manuel Marquez’s name cropped up anew despite three previous battles between them. The first one was a draw, then the next two were narrowly won by Pacquiao.

We noted in this space back then that boxing icon Oscar De La Hoya was quoted as saying that a fourth fight with Juan Manuel Marquez offered nothing new.

And yet here we are: Two days away from the fourth installment of one of the most intriguing rivalries in professional boxing.

Despite our initial apprehension that a fourth fight with Marquez would be redundant, we are thrilled anew because it is another Pacquiao fight.

Again on Sunday, mid-morning Church services, regardless of denomination, will suffer in attendance. There will be only trickles of passengers waving at the few jeeps or taxis that will hit the road. Sunday business will be slow and will pick up only after the fight.

We don’t have that many Pacquiao fights left, those inspiring moments when a relatively small man is fighting for all of us as the world watches. At 34, Pacquiao is at the top of his game but even he will not be able to defy Father Time.

The buzz from Las Vegas is that the Pacquiao-Floyd Maywetaher Jr. fight is already in the works but this is all speculation until the two protagonists actually sign on the dotted lines.

Marquez, 39, continues to fight not because he has to but there is that nagging ghost that reminds him he’s had three previous tries against Pacquiao. Nothing is more haunting than unfinished business and Pacquiao represents smears on his impressive fight record.

Each time Marquez reviews the fights in interviews, he cannot comprehend why the judges did not believe he had won at least twice.

There is clearly a score to settle because the previous results were not conclusive.

The battles have been classic duels between Pacquiao the puncher-aggressor and Marquez the wily counterpuncher.  This has always been a boxing formula for a slam-bang bout, whether it’s in Vegas or in a weekend provincial four rounder.

It is not prudent for boxing commentators and writers to demand a knockout in a fight because this comes either through proper setup and pounding and a fair amount of luck. Intentionally going for a knockout is dangerous territory for boxers because it makes them gung-ho or gigil (over aggressive), as we say in Filipino.

There is no boxer in history who could accurately determine the round of a KO.  Sports scribes love to hear a semblance of a prediction because it makes for good copy. But even “The Greatest,” Muhammad Ali, could not precisely predict a KO, even with his deft use of poetry.

But this is exactly what is needed to end this rivalry: a knockout. A knockout takes out the judges’ cards, and whatever controversy that could be attached to their evaluation or addition.

he way I see it, only Pacquiao has the capability for a KO win because he’s floored Marquez four times before. He has the KO punch that Marquez the counterpuncher never really had.

My forecast: Pacquiao, by KO in whatever round. This should make for great boxing history and for a joyful Sunday evening in the country.

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