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PACQUIAO-MARQUEZ2SILotierzo is more keen to see a fourth scrap between these two, seen in Mexico, than he is Pacquiao-Mayweather. (Chris Farina)

This coming December 8th two of the best pound for pound fighters in boxing over the past decade will meet for the fourth time in eight years. Yes, I'm talking about legends Manny Pacquiao 54-4-2 (38) and Juan Manuel Marquez 54-6-1 (39). Officially, Pacquiao holds an overwhelming 2-0-1 edge over Marquez according the the record book. And if you only read the record book and never saw any one of their three fights, you'd put the book down believing that it is Pacquiao who was the superior fighter. And that of course would be wrong.

In three very competitive fights against each other you're splitting hairs in saying who actually got the better of it. Pacquiao has landed the harder punches and scored the only knockdowns, but Marquez has landed more cleaner shots and has exhibited the superior ring generalship. Actually, the only thing you can say with impunity is Pacquiao has been more dominant since moving up from 126-130 than Marquez has been. Then again the only fight Marquez wasn't really competitive in was his welterweight bout against Floyd Mayweather back in 2009 when Floyd pulled a fast one on him and weighed in over the agreed upon 144 catch-weight. And in all fairness, Pacquiao has yet to meet Mayweather and is vulnerable to being out-boxed by Floyd the way Marquez was.

However, let's forget how Mayweather matches up with Pacquiao or Marquez for the moment. Let's discuss Pacquiao-Marquez IV. I can't believe that some boxing fans and aficionados are actually griping at the idea of Pacquiao and Marquez fighting a fourth time. If there was ever a fighter in boxing who deserves to fight Pacquiao and relish all that comes with it, it's Juan Manuel Marquez, the only fighter that Manny hasn't conclusively beat once in three fights. Pacquiao, who won his series in the ring and on the scorecards against the other two legends he fought, Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera, cannot make that same claim over Marquez.

In three fights between Pacquiao and Marquez, there's been one in my opinion that it can't be argued for either fighter, and that's their third fight. I can see the argument for either one of them in the first two fights, but not in their last meeting. Marquez clearly out thought and out fought Pacquiao for the better part of 12 rounds when they last met back in November of 2011. Neither fighter was down or hurt, but if there were 15 clean punches landed in that bout, Marquez landed 11 of them. If anybody deserved a decision nod over Manny Pacquiao, it was Marquez, not Timothy Bradley who was the beneficiary of a gift decision when he fought Pacquiao this past June.

The thought that some boxing observers could gripe about Marquez getting another shot at Pacquiao is mind boggling. First of all, if there is one authentic throwback to another time and era when the best fighters constantly fought the best available opposition, it's Marquez who has done that his entire career. Marquez is a great fighter and technician whose style closest resembles a counter-puncher, but he has shown that he can box and punch according to who the fighter is in front of him.

Juan Manuel Marquez may not be a star the likes of Pacquiao or Mayweather, but he is every bit the real fighter they are. And maybe that's the problem, we never hear anything about him unlike Manny and Floyd who dominate the boxing scene until their next fight is announced. If there ever was a fighter I wanted to see get another crack at Pacquiao along with the monumental payday that comes with it, it's Juan Manuel Marquez, the fighter Pacquiao has been in the ring with and fought the most rounds against and still has yet to prove that he's the better or greater fighter.

As for how the fourth fight will go? What we know is Marquez probably can't beat Manny by decision. Especially after the outrage over Pacquiao getting hosed in his last fight against Bradley. So that means Marquez will perhaps fight more aggressively and that will be to Pacquiao's benefit. On the other hand, Marquez has to be supremely confident based on how well he did against Manny the last time along with how average he looked in the Bradley fight.

In addition to that, Marquez knows if he can just get one official verdict over Pacquiao, most observers will acknowledge that it was he who got the better of it (in the ring not on the scorecards) between them over four fights. Whereas Pacquiao has to try and defend his 2-0-1 edge over Marquez, something that is very disputable in the eyes of the boxing public.

Fans and writers can bitch and complain about Marquez getting another shot at Pacquiao all they want, but don't count me among them. I for one am very glad that Marquez is getting another opportunity and payday against Manny. He deserves it based on his career accomplishments as a fighter and more than that, Manny hasn't defeated him once conclusively, yet.

Pacquiao and Marquez are two all-time greats meeting at what are still meaningful points in their careers. All three of their fights have been (at the very least) really good. I'm sure this one will be too. If people don't want to watch it, it says something very bad for the lack of boxing IQs of contemporary viewers. People are going to miss these guys when they're gone, and they should be grateful for any chance they get to see them in the ring together. I'm actually more excited about this fight than I would be about Mayweather-Pacquiao, which I think would, frankly, be a mismatch at this point.

Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com

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