The last time they met, in November, Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 knockouts) eked out a highly disputed majority decision over Marquez (54-6-2, 39 KOs), with whom he has also battled to a draw and won a previous split decision.
Pacquiao floored Marquez three times in the first round of their initial meeting as featherweights in May of 2004, and dropped him once in the third round of their second as junior lightweights in March of 2008.
Pacquiao, who turns 34 on Dec. 17, chose to face Marquez over a return bout with Tim Bradley, whose controversial split decision in June dethroned Pacquiao as the WBO’s 147-pound titleholder and ended his 15-bout winning streak that included eight stoppages.
Marquez, who turned 39 in August, rebounded with April’s unanimous decision over Sergei Fedchenko for the WBO’s junior welterweight belt.
In this training blog distributed by HBO, Marquez recalled his second bout with Pacquiao:
MONDAY, NOV. 19: “In my opinion the second fight was the closest of our trilogy. It was a very hard-fought fight and much more exciting than the first one. This time Pacquiao surprised me a bit as he was not as aggressive as he had been in the first fight.
“He seemed to have become a more complete and certainly a much better all-around fighter. He was no longer a one-handed fighter like he was the first time we fought. The left-hand-happy Pacquiao had become a two-fisted fighter, using his right effectively.
“I was able to control the first half of the fight by dictating the pace and I was able to build a lead. I felt that I was hurting him which made me more confident, so I became a little more aggressive and it cost me as I got caught with a left hand and went down in the third round.
“I was angry at myself but I was not hurt. The last six rounds were very competitive and I felt he was trying very hard and I was able to counter him very effectively. I was landing a lot of right hands and knew I had the fight won. But once again the judges took my victory away by giving Pacquiao the nod by split decision.
“I still get very angry when I think about hearing those scores being read. After two fights I felt I had won at least 19 of the 24 rounds. Pacquiao’s four knockdowns made the scores closer than they really were. Look, after 24 rounds, I have two scores in my favor and one even and Pacquiao’s got three his way.
“But one of them was by only one point. Just like the first fight, I knew I beat him. And just like the first fight the judges did not see it my way. There is not much I can do about that. I did my best. Too bad the judges did not do the same.”
Photos courtesy of HBO
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com