By Miguel Rivera
Former four division world champion Juan Manuel Marquez, 44-years-old, made his retirement official on Friday, when he walked away from the sport after a long career which began in 1993.
Although Marquez fought numerous top fighters throughout his career, the highlights of his career would be the four fight series with Manny Pacquiao.
They first fought in 2004, with Marquez surviving three first round knockdowns to take Pacquiao to a twelve round draw.
They had a rematch in 2008, with Pacquiao winning what some felt was a controversial twelve round split decision. When the third fight took place in 2011, Pacquiao once again was able to pull out a close twelve round decision - and once again many felt it was controversial.
A fourth fight was scheduled to take place a year later, in 2012, with Marquez dropping Pacquiao in the third and then landing a perfect counter to knock the Filipino superstar unconscious in the closing seconds of the sixth round.
He views the Pacquiao victory as the best moment of his pro career.
"I think that's the unforgettable moment [in my career], not just for me, but for all the fans - how the fights were fought, how the rivalry with Manny Pacquiao was practically knit, but before Manny there were tough, tough, tough opponents , world champions. I remember the fights with (Juan) 'Torito' Diaz, with (Marco) Barrera, with Michael Katsidis, with (Joel) Casamayor and if we go back there were fights with Agapito Sánchez, Cedric Mingo, difficult opponents at the beginning of my career and from there I think the fights against Manny Pacquiao gave me the opportunity to face this Philippine fighter who in his time was the best pound-for-pound fighter, but that December 8, 2012 knockout was unforgettable," Marquez told ESPN Deportes.
"A path of bitter experiences, of happiness, it was a difficult road, because we know that somehow I was not a fighter supported by any promoter. What I won, I won with heart and based on my work, effort - so it was a beautiful but difficult road."