If Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao were two normal fighters, duking it out on a small undercard, Marquez would've walked out the winner Saturday night. The 38-year-old far and away landed more impactful punches and seemed to have an answer to almost every one of Pac-Man's offensives.
But it wasn't enough for two reasons.
The first reason is explained by using the Tao of the Nature Boy, Ric Flair: 'To be the Man, you gotta beat the Man.'
Marquez may have won the fight in many eyes, but in a title fight, you gotta beat the champ. Champions don't lose close fights -- especially ones like Pacquiao.
How Marquez held back for the last two rounds is beyond me. For his corner to tell him to stay the course is one of the worst pieces of advice in the history of big fights. Why not go all out? It's about legacy. He didn't win either of the first two fights and his camp decides to leave it up to the judges? That's silly.
The second and biggest reason is simple economics. There is no way in H-E-double hockey sticks that anyone involved in the boxing world is going to do anything to jeopardize the sport's greatest asset -- the dream fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.
It's the one fight that purists keep holding out hope for and the last great fight that keeps a fading boxing audience hanging around. They're talking about a crowd of over 100,000 in Dallas, for crying out loud. Toss in the pay-per-view gate, and no wonder you keep hearing $100 million dollars as a sort of magic number to get these two in the ring.
The heavyweight division, which fuelled sports fans' appetites for much of the last 100 years has gone MIA for the better part of the last decade, and a lack of bona fide American stars has hurt in mainstream appeal. I know boxing fans will think I'm an idiot, but 20 years ago, most of my friends were fight fans. Now it's an afterthought.
There is no other big fight out there after Mayweather and Dan Hill's singing partner. They've danced around it for years, using up every smoke and mirror option to keep them apart. Enough already. Now is the time.