In May 2004, Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines knocked down Juan Manuel Marquez, who then held the IBF and WBA featherweight titles, three times in the first round of their epic 12 round encounter.

Somehow the bloodied and battered Marquez of Mexico managed to hold on until the final bell and emerge with a draw. If not for the fact that one judge, Burt Clements didn’t know that he could score a 10-6 round, Pacquiao would have won the fight, however.

Over the next four years, Pacquiao would garner worldwide acclaim as the conqueror of, among others, Erik Morales (twice) and Marco Antonio Barrera. In doing so, he has become a bonafide pay-per-view superstar.

Marquez would make some bad career decisions, one of which resulted in him losing one of his titles to Chris John for a paltry payday. He did, however, re-emerge as a genuine threat to Pacquiao by winning two titles and beating the likes of Barrera and Rocky Juarez.

Now, at the age of 34, Marquez is being viewed as an extremely viable challenger for the rampaging 29-year-old Pac Man.

This Saturday, March 15, Pacquiao, 45-3-2 (35 KOS), and Marquez, 48-3-1 (35 KOS), will enter the ring for their eagerly anticipated rematch at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. At stake will be Marquez’s WBC super featherweight crown. The fight will be televised on HBO Pay-Per-View.

Most people agree that Marquez is the more technically proficient fighter, but believe that Pacquiao’s explosiveness and the sheer volume of punches he throws make him dangerous for anyone.

If Marquez could survive such an early onslaught in their first fight and come back to earn a draw, the reasoning also goes that he should be given a good chance of winning the rematch.

Let’s see what 15 boxing insiders had to say:

Tim Smith, New York Daily News: “Marquez is four years older, but Pacquiao is four years better. He has developed his right hand and really improved during the time between fights. He is the better all-around fighter.” Pacquiao by decision.

Nick Charles, commentator, ShoBox: The New Generation: “I think the ravages of the last four years have affected Marquez more than they have Pacquiao. Neither is shopworn, but I think that Pacquiao is the fresher fighter and will win by decision.”  Pacquiao by decision.

Steve Farhood, commentator, ShoBox: The New Generation: “I’m going against the grain and picking Marquez. I thought he deserved to win the first fight. He figured out Pac Man’s style better than anyone. I have a sneaking suspicion that Pacquiao is starting to slow down a bit. Marquez should be able to take advantage of that.” Marquez by decision.

James Moore, undefeated junior middleweight, 14-0 (10 KOS), who is headlining the “A Fistful of Shamrocks” show at Madison Square Garden, which is also taking place on March 15: “Marquez should outbox Pacquiao and win a decision. Technically I think Marquez is a little better. He looked very good against Rocky Juarez. Because he’s so technically sound, he won’t walk into Pacquiao’s power and get caught like he did last time.” Marquez by decision.

Pawel Wolak, undefeated junior middleweight, 19-0 (13 KOS), who is fighting the co-feature on the March 15 show at MSG: “Marquez overcame three first round knockdowns to outbox Pacquiao and “win” on points in their first fight. Pacquiao is explosive, but Marquez will fight much smarter than he did the first time.” Marquez by decision.

Mike O’Sullivan, co-owner of Celtic Gloves Promotions, which is promoting the March 15 card at MSG: “Pacquiao has had four years to get better. He’s too explosive for Marquez and will stop him within eight rounds.” Pacquiao by stoppage.

Iran Barkley, former multi-division champion: “Marquez might bring it, but Pac Man is a workaholic and he won’t let him get going. Pac Man has got power, but if he doesn’t finish Marquez early he’s in for a long night. Pac Man got better the last couple of years, so I’m picking him to stop Marquez.” Pacquiao by TKO.

Emile Griffith, former multi-division champion: “Manny Pacquiao is one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world today. He will have an easy victory over Marquez. He is too fast and too strong.” Pacquiao by stoppage.

Sean Sullivan, editor of Boxing Digest magazine: “Pacquiao has learned a lot in the last four years, ever since their first encounter. Under trainer Freddie Roach, he has added elements to his repertoire so he won’t be confused by Marquez’s boxing tactics like he was in the first fight.” Pacquiao by decision.

Bruce Silverglade, matchmaker for Celtic Gloves Promotions and the owner of Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn, New York: “My antenna tells me that Pacquiao will stop Marquez by the fifth round. He’s very determined and he has a lot to prove. He doesn’t have that many fights left in him, so he wants to go out in a blaze of glory in his last few fights.” Pacquiao by stoppage.

Bernard Fernandez, Philadelphia Daily News and president of the Boxers Writers Association of America: “The best of Pacquiao beats the best of Marquez. Pacquiao has a lot of interests outside of the ring, but I think that in the last year he has been able to focus more on boxing than he did before. He understood what was happening with the diversions and has taken steps to not let that happen again.” Pacquiao by decision or late round stoppage. If forced to pick, Fernandez said he would go with the TKO.

Peter Wood, author of “Confessions of a Fighter: Battling Through the Golden Gloves” and “A Clenched Fist: The Making of a Golden Gloves Champion”: “I take my predictions very seriously, but I am in left field on this one. I have to go with Pacquiao because he’s aggressive, explosive and has too much muscle. But as much as I think it is his time, I am uncomfortable picking him to beat such a tough opponent.” Pacquiao by decision.

Jill Diamond: WBC female boxing chairperson: “This is a hard one. My instinct says Pacquiao, but I’m going to pick Marquez. He’s hungrier and edgier and he wants to get back at Pacquiao for the last time. This will be an even battle, but Marquez will prevail.” Marquez TKO 12.

David Selwyn, manager of female flyweight champion Eileen Olszewski and Ronica Jeffrey and Cristy “Code Red” Nickel: “Pacquiao has moved to a higher level than Marquez in the last couple of years. Pacquiao should win by a very wide and convincing decision.” Pacquiao by decision.

Bob Mladinich, TSS: “Marquez came so close to beating Pacquiao the last time, even after that terrible beginning. Pac Man appears to be the kind of fighter who lives and dies by the sword. I believe that Marquez might just be savvy enough to win a close decision.” Marquez by decision.

Totals: 15

Pacquiao: 10

Marquez:  5

Pacquiao by stoppage: 5

Marquez by stoppage: 1

Pacquiao by decision: 5

Marquez by decision: 4


I'm thinking Juan Manuel Marquez takes this fight by unanimous decision.
Marquez is a master boxer and as we know, Pac-Man can be outboxed. Let's not
forget that Erik Morales defeated the Filipino by simply boxing. Marquez is
more technically sound than Morales and I expect him to win this fight with
a score of 116-112 after another rough start.

I am going with the Clubber Lang/Rocky Balboa angle for this fight.

Marquez has the determination of Clubber Lang at the beginning of Rocky 3. I have this vision of Marquez doing his training in a dungeon while his opponent is signing autographs and posing for pictures for magazines. Unfortunately for Marquez, this is not a movie, and this version of Manny Pacquiao is not flying back and forth to the Philippines to make a new CD. Pac Man is coming to fight. However, of all the opponents Pacquiao has fought in the past 5 years or so, there were only 2 that seemed to outbox him. Eric Morales is one, Marquez is the other. In their first fight, Morales actually used Marquez’s counterpunching formula to baffle the Filipino warrior. The method worked to perfection because Pacquiao fell in love with the 1-2 punch in both fights. According to Manny’s camp, the old strategy is out the window. If what they say is true, Pac Man has the tools to win. But Manny will not win by knockout. Marquez has too much willpower to lose like that. I expect a very close fight. And there will be some heated exchanges. I would not be surprised if Marquez knocks Pacquiao with a counterpunch in the middle rounds. Marquez just seems like he has more to prove. But when in doubt, think of common opponents, Marquez had a tougher time with M.A. Barrera than Pacquiao did. I like the younger man. Pacquiao by SD.

 I like Marquez by the decision he should have gotten the first time.

Marquez figures to be a little past his prime now, while Pacquiao
should be better than in 2004.  Manny's 2007 form wasn't
scintillating, but he should have enough to edge out a narrow

Another fine matchup that prefight analysis indicates could go either way on paper (or screen), but might turn out like Toney-Holyfield where the outcome vibe was crystal clear once they walk into the ring. Marquez has not improved as much as Pacquiao since the first fight, but he had stronger fundamentals to begin with. This feels like one of those situations where the Vegas odds (approx 2 1/2 to 1 Pacquiao) are just right. Don't be surprised if Pacquiao roars to an early, if less than spectacular victory.