Manny Pacquiao in a 'must-win' situation against Juan Manuel Marquez
Manny Pacquiao (left) and Juan Manuel Marquez pose during a press conference in Beverly Hills, Calif., Sept. 17, 2012. (LUCY NICHOLSON/Reuters)
If you believe the hype, scalpers will pocket upwards of $5,000 for a top ticket to see Paul McCartney at Rexall Place next month. Not bad, considering Sir Paul will likely warble for at least an hour.
Compare that to the anticipated $30,000-plus some online brokers will get for a single ringside seat to watch the fourth fight between Manny Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KOs) and Juan Manuel Marquez (54-6-1, 39 KOs), Dec. 8 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas - a fight Pacquiao insists he must win by quick KO in order to silence his critics.
As reported by ESPN.com, Pacquiao's trainer, Freddy Roach, said the fighter wrote a four-word note to himself during a Sept. 17 media conference. According to Roach, the note read simply: "I need a knockout!"
In a subsequent interview with the website, Pacquiao, the only eight-division champ in boxing history, explained: "I want to erase the doubt of the last three fights. There's so many people still asking if I won them. I think to myself, 'Something is wrong. I have to do it again.' This time, I will train hard to put this fight up in the history of boxing. I want to make this fight short. I want to knock him out."
Pacquiao decked Marquez three times in the opening round of their IBF/WBA featherweight title bout in 2004, but the Mexican came back strong enough to earn a split draw. One judge had it 115-110 for Pacquiao, another favoured Marquez by the same score and the third scored it even at 113-113.
In their second clash, for the WBC super featherweight crown in 2008, Pacquiao was awarded a split decision by scores of 115-112 and 114-113 on two cards, while Marquez won 115-112 on the third.
Last November, fighting for the WBO welterweight title, PacMan got the nod in a majority decision, winning 116-112 and 115-113, while the other judge scored it a 114-114 draw.
My guess is that the Filipino Flash will make good on his prediction to KO Marquez this time - but it won't be quick. Both men are fully aware this is likely the fight that will define their respective careers and cement their legacy, so look for a war of attrition.
For the 33-year-old Pacqiuao, it's his last chance to convince the world that a $100-million showdown with unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Jr. is still plausible. For the 39-year-old Marquez, it's an opportunity to prove he got a raw deal in at least two of their previous meetings.
Either way, it won't be pretty. But eminently watchable.
After watching Paul MacKenzie demolish Ryan Disher and Rob Nichols beat up Sandy Pembroke on KO Boxing's recentOpposites Attack card at Shaw Conference Centre, a reader sent an e-mail query about the history of 'walkouts' - fights staged after the main event.
Contrary to popular belief, the concept was not spawned for the benefit of either print media or TV deadlines. Rather, boxing's first walkout - between Canadian heavyweight champ Jack Renault and world No. 2-ranked Billy Miske - was the result of safety considerations.
It was staged after Jack Dempsey defended his world title against Georges Carpentier at Jersey City, N.J., on July 2, 1921. With upwards of 80,000 fans at the outdoor venue, the promoters wisely decided to schedule a 'walkout' fight to keep part of the huge crowd entertained while thousands of other spectators jammed the exit gates.
IT'S ABOUT TIME
Nearly a year after the death of Smokin' Joe Frazier, the City of Philadelphia has launched a webpage to raise funds for a life-sized statue of the late, great former heavyweight champion of the world.
At www.frazierstatue.com, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter says: "Joe personified the Philly fighter, a fearless warrior who worked his way to the world title. He was a great ambassador for our city. Help me honour his legacy with a contribution to the Joe Frazier Statue Fund."
Frazier, who in 1971 beat Muhammad Ali in boxing's first showdown between two undefeated champions before losing a pair of rematches (1974 and '75), died of liver cancer last November. He was 67.
After Frazier's death, Philadelphia was roundly criticized for having a statue of celluloid champ Rocky Balboa, but not its real-life champion. At Frazier's funeral, the Rev. Jesse Jackson said: "Rocky is fictitious, Joe was reality. Rocky's fists are frozen in stone, but Joe's fists were smokin'."
In fact, the Balboa statue was a gift to the city from actor/producer Sylvester Stallone after Rocky III was filmed in Philadelphia.