On Dec. 8, two of boxing's best will face each other as Manny Pacquiao meets his fiercest rival, Juan Manuel Marquez, for a fourth time. Their story began on a spring night in May 2004. Pacquiao was coming off his biggest victory to date. The previous November, he had stunned Marco Antonio Barrera with an 11th-round TKO to claim the world featherweight championship. Marquez entered their initial meeting on a 13-fight win streak, having claimed two 126-pound belts along the way.
Halfway into the opening stanza, Pacquiao dropped Marquez with a right-left combo. PacMan would look to close the show early. He dropped Marquez twice more before the bell rang -- although Marquez would weather the onslaught. According to Compubox, Pacquiao landed only 11 of 73 punches in the round. Marquez, on the other hand, landed 13 of 40 shots. This round would prove to be critical after it was all said and done.
Bloodied and battered, Marquez endured another Pacquaio offensive in Round 2. Pacquiao threw a fight-high 77 punches, landing 18. But it was then that Marquez began to slowly turn the fight in his favor. In fact, he outlanded Pacquiao in power punches in eight of the next 10 rounds.
At the final bell, Marquez held a 158-148 advantage in total punches landed and a 122-100 edge in power punches. Pacquiao threw 200 more jabs (408-208), but he landed only 12 more than Marquez (48-36).
Judge John Stewart scored the fight 115-110 for Pacquiao, while Guy Jutras scored it the same -- only he sided with Marquez. Burt A. Clements scored the fight even, 113-113, resulting in a draw. Later, Clements admitted he had made a scoring mistake, scoring the first round 10-7 for Pacquiao, rather than the 10-6 that he should have tallied in a three-knockdown round. Had Clements scored the round correctly, the fight would have gone in the books as a win for Pacquiao.
It wouldn't be the last time that the scorecards would create controversy in this saga.
Statistical support for this story from Compubox.