By Miguel Rivera
Prior to 2012, Erik Morales was the last man to score a victory over former eight division world champion Manny Pacquiao. Morales won a twelve round unanimous decision over Pacquiao in 2005 - at super featherweight. He fought Pacquiao two more times, in 2006, and was knocked out both times.
Morales' countryman, Juan Manuel Marquez, raised the stakes by fighting Pacquiao four times. After fighting to a draw in 2004 and losing controversial decisions in 2008/2011 - Marquez knocked Pacquiao out in the sixth round of their welterweight match on December 8th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Morales and Marquez have often taken shots at each other in press and they were also trying to fight each other, but the match never happened. Marquez claimed that Morales ignored him several years ago, while Morales stated in 2011 that Marquez' had a chip on his shoulder and refused to fight him.
Putting their rocky history aside, Morales praised Marquez for what he called "the most significant win for Mexico in 2012."
"This year, 2012, was a year filled with good things and bad things [for Mexican boxing], but ultimately we received a win that warmed the hearts of everyone [in Mexico] and lifted Mexican boxing, and that was the victory of Juan Manuel Marquez. I'm happy for him, because we know how difficult it is to fight Pacquiao. Márquez showed great strength, despite his age [of 39]," Morales said.