Don’t follow boxing very often, but you want to know the gist of Saturday’s mega-fight between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez III? Follow boxing all the time, and want one place that rounds up all the links about the welterweight showdown you could ever want? This Ultimate Guide to the Nov. 12 pay-per-view bout is for you, no matter what kind you are.
We start, as always, with our package of coverage, because hey, it’s about as good an introduction to the fight and as much in-depth analysis as you’ll get anywhere, humbly. We kicked things off with an examination of whether the fight is legit competitively, or a fraud. Then we contemplated what was at stake. From there, we broke down the physical and mental keys to the fight, followed by an Alex McClintock-penned undercard preview and my final preview and prediction. We brought it all home with a TQBR Roundtable with the staff, and end it with this here blog post. Outside that package, you can check out a podcast I did here on Pacquiao-Marquez III with our friend GG at the Fight Game Blog, and our Scott Kraus will have a post up later with some suggestions for future Pacquiao opponents to spice up his future fights.
But images say things words can’t. The two highlights clips below will get you a look at the arc of both men’s careers, and a sense of how they fight. For once, I can’t quibble with HBO’s choices of which fights make the “Greatest Hits” lists — the fights selected are a pretty good approximation of the most important fights of both men’s careers. I could gripe about Pacquiao’s package including Erik Morales III over the first fight, or at Marquez’ package for leaving out the Joel Casamayor bout, and maybe some others, but this is much better than HBO usually does.
To get a sense of each man’s personalities, teams and stories, there’s no better source than the HBO 24/7 documentary series. Every episode will air tonight on HBO, and this edition will air all day Saturday on HBO Zone, and it’s all on HBO Go, too, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to catch up with it if you’re an HBO subscriber. If you’re not, here’s the debut episode.
If after all that you’re interested in watching the fight itself Saturday, the card for Pacquiao-Marquez 3 has a start time of 9 p.m., but don’t expect the main event to begin before 11 p.m. Your local cable or satellite promoter is offering it for approximately $55 on standard definition or $65 on high-def. Some of that cost — $25 — can be reiumbursed when you buy some Tecate beer, the continued sponsorship of the sport being something our Karl Greenberg recently wrote about here. Also, Top Rank Promotion’s website, a big and commendable innovator of using the Internet to promote and distribute fights, is streaming the fight at the same cost.
Should you care to watch the weigh-in, usually a non-event with a parade of half-celebrities, bad cheerleading and the occasional bit of entertaining posturing, you can catch it at 6 p.m. ET in a lot of places, including HBO’s website for the fight, on HBO itself and often on ESPN News. This time it could be a mildly meaningful weigh-in because how much Marquez can close the size gap on Pacquiao is crucial to his chances of winning, so there will be much parsing of Marquez’ physique (especially with a controversial confirmed steroid peddler helping him in this camp).
The mainstream media parachutes in to boxing coverage a fair amount for big fights, and while I wish they’d do it for some smaller fights, too, it does sometimes produce good reporting and writing. At The Wall Street Journal, Gordon Marino is in the camp of people optimistic that we’ll get another classic from Pacquiao and Marquez, and David Roth leans that way, too. The New York Times’ Greg Bishop has gotten very proficient at writing up the economics of big-time boxers, as they did here with Pacquiao and his “stimulus” effect on Las Vegas. USA Today’s Bob Velin goes into the would-be conclusive outcome of a final fight between these two. Tim Dahlberg of the Associated Press believes Pacquiao should be appreciated separately from Floyd Mayweather, Jr., and he’s right, but it’s also hard not to pine for Pacquiao-Mayweather. The New York Daily News’ Tim Smith explores the dark side of Pacquiao-Marquez III, as does The Los Angeles Times’ Lance Pugmire, while Yahoo’s Kevin Iole finds things to praise in both men. Gary Andrew Poole, writing for Time, goes into Pacquiao’s motivation for this fight, and compares how much both have changed since their last meeting. (It’s a popular theme of stories, actually, as The New York Post’s George Willis mines similar territory to Poole and Velin.) And ESPN’s Fight Credential is a reliable source of information and analysis on the fight. As usual, uniquely among the country’s big papers, my hometown Washington Post has a big “fail” on covering any boxing whatsoever.
So just to have some discussion of something in the comments section: What kind of business do you think the pay-per-view will do? I figure it’ll do no more than 1.2 million buys, probably more like 1.1. Provide your prediction in the comments section below.
As is the tradition, I leave you with some kind of wacky, zany, crazy video. This one is an object lesson in 1. Things you don’t do and 2. Things you don’t say on camera. But it does show the depths of Manny mania.