• Steve Bunce

Pacquiao v Marquez is not only about justice

Steve Bunce December 4, 2012

It won't be a case of delivering justice on Manny Pacquiao for Juan Manuel Marquez this Saturday when they go into the ring for the fourth time.

In many ways a degree of justice has already been administered on the Filipino for his 'victory' over Marquez last year. That fight was such an open-and-shut win for Marquez that it was not even funny, it was a huge injustice.

But Pacquiao had the same thing done to him against Timothy Bradley in the summer. If anything the decision to award that fight to Bradley was even more ridiculous.

Bizarrely, I don't think the fight between Pacquiao and Marquez in Las Vegas last year was fixed.

Everyone involved in the fight that night: the press, the judges, the promoters in Vegas, only had eyes for one man and it just seemed like everything was being done subconsciously to keep the half a billion dollar showdown with Floyd Mayweather on track.

I was interested in making that fight happen too in 2008 and 2009 but since 2010 it hasn't grabbed me. The fight is two or three years overdue but Mayweather has been so good at stringing this fight along over the years and hinting that after this or that fight he will fight Pacquiao. Between now and the first bell on Saturday I am 100% certain Mayweather will pop up and talk about how the fight is still alive.

Manny's goal in this fight is to win clearly, without controversy and emerge as the better fighter, that will make his team a little bit stronger when going into a discussion with Mayweather. For Marquez the carrot is being able to go off into retirement as a happy man, with a final win over his bogeyman.

In many ways the fight is a safe one for Pacquiao because if he loses in a close-run decision, the fight with Mayweather still has legs. Were he to fight a lesser opponent, and lose, the Mayweather fight would lose value. But if he can win his team may finally sit down with the American's people and discuss a fight which is already six years too late.

Power-packed Price
Last week I said that David Price's fight against Matt Skelton would not be easy and I still don't think it was, for 180 seconds at least. However once Pricey adjusted his feet in the second round, his power took its toll. He punches that much harder than other heavyweights at the moment and it was certainly too much for Skelton. But everyone wanted a few more rounds, including Pricey, but there's nothing you can do when someone 17st hits you in the liver.

Even though Tyson Fury also won against Kevin Johnson, I don't think the two moved any closer to getting in the ring together. Instead, as horrible as Fury's fight was, it moved him closer to a world title fight.

Plus he got the most valuable thing in boxing: 12 three-minute rounds, of which he won every second, and that is heavyweight gold. You could call it priceless. Heavyweights gaining rounds and not looking good is part of the experience.

Early in Muhammad Ali's career he had a 10-round fight with Duke Sabedong in Las Vegas in 1961. If my memory serves me correctly the fight was meant to be on TV but it was so awful, Ali winning every round, that it wasn't aired. His management still got paid in full. I wonder if a similar deal had been offered to Fury's camp, whether they would have taken it?

Looking forward to next year I think either Price of Fury will fight one of the Klitschko brothers and my gut feeling is that it will be Fury.

A bout between the two Brits will be put on the backburner for a while because that remains a fight, regardless of whether they win or lose against a Klitschko.

Moving a lot further down the Boxing food-chain; Andrew "Freddie" Flintoff's fight with Kevin Dawson was an entertaining 'Rocky' fight but I hope it was just a one-off.

If Freddie goes on to fight in Vegas it might make nice reality TV but I don't really want to see it happen, even though he did a lot for promoting boxing.

There was talk last week that the fight was a disgrace to boxing but, in my books, it was perfectly OK to happen once.

Freddie's fight meant that the Commonwealth welterweight title between Denton Vassell and Ronnie Heffron still didn't get in the papers. However it did mean that those two fighters ended up getting more money than if they were fighting at Oldham Leisure Centre - the probable alternative venue.

Anyone who thinks it was a disgrace should go and see Denton and say 'listen Denton I think we should take 30% of your pay' because if Freddie hadn't happened he would have made 30% less in Oldham.

Those two are booking family holidays this Christmas because of Freddie's presence on the bill.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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Steve Bunce has been ringside in Las Vegas over 50 times, he has been at five Olympics and has been writing about boxing for over 25 years for a variety of national newspapers in Britain, including four which folded! It is possible that his face and voice have appeared on over 60 channels worldwide in a variety of languages - his first novel The Fixer was published in 2010 to no acclaim; amazingly it has been shortlisted for Sports Book of the Year.