by Chris Robinson
When taking a look at the fourth fight between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez, there have pretty much been two lines of thinking.
There are those who are opposed to the matchup, feeling as though 36 rounds between the two rivals is more than enough, while others can’t deny the kind of riveting and compelling excitement that Pacquiao and Marquez create when they cross paths.
Speaking with Larry Merchant on Wednesday, I came to find out that the longtime HBO analyst actually seems to be looking forward to the fight.
“If Pacquiao-Mayweather still can’t be made, I would rather see this than a rematch with Bradley for a couple of reasons,” Merchant stated. “One is, they fought three good fights. Good and close. There’s an old saying that ‘Too much of a good thing is a good thing’. Even though we think we’ve seen that fight before, those are damn good fights.”
Pacquiao is coming off of a split-decision loss to Timothy Bradley on June 9th in a fight that nearly everyone watching felt he did enough to warrant the decision in. Certain people felt that some type of corruption might be taking place when two of the three 115-113 scorecards were ready in Bradley’s favor and Merchant seems relieved to not be seeing a rematch right away.
“Secondly, I think by not fighting Bradley, you reduce or neutralize the conspiracy theorists, who think that the bad decision that Bradley got over Pacquiao was to set up a rematch or an immediate rematch,” Merchant would explain.
One of the subplots heading into Pacquiao-Marquez IV is the apparent lack of desire coming from Pacquiao in recent fights. Serving as a congressman in the province of Sarangani in his native Philippines, Pacquiao has seemed to fall prey to his long list of obligations outside of the sport and Merchant is curious what version of Manny we will see come fight night.
“That will be the story, Manny trying to show he still has the fire that we saw when he was younger,” Merchant stated. “And Marquez [will be] still trying to get the decision in a close fight.”
For Merchant, it’s imperative for Pacquiao to fight with the same hunger that typified his career when he was on his way up.
“Is he going to fight like he’s defending something he has or like he’s trying to get something he wants?” Merchant asked. “The young fighter fights and trains and focuses like he’s trying to get something he wants. Once he has it, it’s hard to sustain that over a long period of time. So, maybe the bad decision he lost has given him the incentive to try and show that he hasn’t lost it.”