The passing of Smokin’ Joe Frazier reminded fight fans across the world just how significant he was to the sport of boxing. It also reminded them that his legacy will forever be tied to that of Muhammad Ali because of the epic trilogy of fights that showcased courage, athleticism, determination and proof positive that those two fighters were simply made for each other thanks to their stark contrasts in personality and fighting style. The legacy of Muhammad Ali would not be as colossal if it wasn’t for Joe Frazier. And the same can be said about Frazier’s legacy without Ali. However, one man had to come out on top, and that man was Muhammad Ali. There’s another trilogy that may be coming to its conclusion on November 12th that features two fighters that were God sent to fight one another. Of course, Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez III doesn’t come with the allure that the “Thrilla In Manila” had, but it is about as perfect a matchup of two fighters that there ever has been.
Right now, Juan Manuel Marquez is the Joe Frazier to Manny Pacquiao’s Muhammad Ali. Pacquiao is the whirlwind of punches that is as blindingly quick to opponents as he is catastrophically devastating. Marquez is the ring tactician whose counterpunching style offsets speed and power. Pacquiao is the star with the smile and charm that all megastars have. Marquez is a star in his own right, but is not a ham for the camera and doesn’t have a side career as a congressman, singer and actor. Marquez is a fighter first. And as much as the Filipino has mowed down his competition in emphatic fashion, Marquez appears to have Pacquiao’s number when the two step into the ring. The average fight fan may not understand just how evenly matched Marquez and Pacquiao have been in their two previous fights.
Think about this: Juan Manuel Marquez was literally a round or two away from being Manny Pacquiao. The Mexican had to peel himself off the canvas three times in the first round in order to fight back and earn a draw in their first bout in 2004. 2008’s clash was decided by the slimmest of margins as one judge saw it in favor of Marquez 115-112 while two judges saw it in favor of Pacquiao 115-112 and 114-113. Both fights were beautiful symphonies of violence that captivated fight fans across the globe. To this day, Marquez has been steadfast in his claims that he won the first two fights, and there aren’t too many that would refute his claims. Four years later, he gets to prove to the world if he is in fact right.“This is why we are doing this third fight,” Marquez explains. “The first two were very close and this fight should end all doubt. We are not the only ones saying we won the fights. There are a lot of fans and media out there saying the same thing – that we won those two fights.”