MANILA, Philippines – The fifth round of the epic fourth showdown between rivals Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez were among the best rounds of boxing in 2012, according to ESPN.
Pacquiao and Marquez fought for the fourth time on December 8 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, with both men promising to be aggressive and seeking a knockout.
“Marquez and Pacquiao have now waged 42 rounds against each other through four outstanding fights, and this round just might be the best of them all,” Rafael wrote of Round 5 of Pac-Marquez IV.
“Pacquiao was down in the third round, but evened the knockdown total in this memorable frame. He hurt Marquez with a straight left hand that sent him reeling and forced him to touch his glove to the canvas with a knockdown with 1:50 to go,” he wrote.
“Marquez was badly hurt, but he responded by landing a nasty right hand flush on Pacquiao, who walked through it and had Marquez wobbly and ready to go after landing a right-hand bomb with 40 seconds left.”
“Pacquiao was teeing off and going for the knockout, but the bloodied Marquez would not go down. He kept punching back as the round closed in violent, sustained action between the great rivals.”
As great as the fifth round between Pacquiao and Marquez was, it was not ESPN’s Round of the Year. That honor went to the 12th round of the middleweight clash between Sergio Martinez of Argentina and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. of Mexico.
Martinez had thoroughly outclassed Chavez Jr. in the first 11 rounds, but the Mexican nearly pulled off the upset with a remarkable 12th round.
“The 12th round of the fight – with Chavez’s go-for-broke near-knockout and Martinez’s incredible heart to carry ona fter getting dropped – was one of the most dramamtic in boxing history and the 2012 ESPN.com round of the year,” Rafael wrote.
“Chavez stalked Martinez in the first minute and then, with 1:45 left, finally broke through, landing a sweeping right hand that rocked Martinez. Chavez continued to punch while Martinez, with blood streaming from a cut over his left eye, fired back in a tremendous exchange,” he added.
Chavez Jr. finally knocked down Martinez with a series of left hooks, though the Argentine champion managed to beat the count. Martinez went down on a slip with about a minute left, but managed to stand up and went toe-to-toe with Chavez Jr. until the final bell.
“The round helped Chavez salvage a measure of his reputation and turned a blowout into cause for a probably rematch in 2013,” Rafael wrote. “It was that exhilirating.”
Among other contenders for Round of the Year was round 5 of the seven-round war between Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado, the fourth round of the light-welterweight clash between Danny Garcia and Amir Khan, and the fifth round of the flyweight unification bout between Brian Viloria and Hernan “Tyson” Marquez.