by Cliff Rold
And now for chapter four.
With the 2012 boxing season winding down, fans get their latest installment in the epic saga of boxing’s two-headed pay-per-view monster. Rarely if ever in the pay TV era have their been two fighters in the same class who can consistently draw what has been seen from Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather. Pacquiao hasn’t failed to hit the one million buy mark in years.
Is the seeming lack of buzz about his fight this weekend a sign that a miss is coming?
And, hit or miss, is Pacquiao’s place as a titan hanging in the balance against the toughest riddle of his career?
These are the picks of the week.
Pick It: #1 Manny Pacquiao vs. #3 at 140 Juan Manuel Marquez (Saturday, HBO PPV, 9 PM EST/PST)
Putting aside the atrocious abortion that was Manny Pacquiao doing Gangnam Style and officially allowing 24/7 to jump the shark, this fight has received more grief than necessary. Sure, it would have been nice to do a fresh match but, at the end of the day, it’s still Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KO) and Marquez (54-6-1, 39 KO). Presumably, this is it. One would have thought as much last year but the debated nature of the verdict kept "IV" viable. Last time boxing had a prominent four, Israel Vazquez and Rafael Marquez delivered an epilogue to a trilogy and not a chapter of its own. Could this be something different, more akin to Bobby Chacon-Rafael Limon IV? That might be optimistic but we know these are still two of the very best and they’ve yet to deliver less than a great night at the fights. Aging, they fight for the championship of each other and all hope someone, anyone, can make it clear. It hasn’t happened yet. This series begs for a conclusion. If it doesn’t deliver, it could be a long night with a mediocre undercard with two heavy favorite fights featuring Yuriorkis Gamboa (tell us again why not doing business with Top Rank earlier this year worked out so well?) and Javier Fortuna. The exception is a Lightweight belt clash between titlist Miguel Vazquez (32-3, 13 KO) and undefeated Mercito Gesta (26-0-1, 14 KO). Vazquez fights aren’t always fun but the winner here is worthy of wondering.
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Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene and a member of the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board, the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org