For the third time since 2004, Juan Manuel Marquez will clash with Manny Pacquiao in a bid to put an end to the Filipino's 14 bout, five weight division win streak when the pair meet tonight at MGM Grand Casino in Las Vegas, NV.
Since their initial contest over seven years ago, Marquez has gone 11-3 (6), capturing or defending the WBA, IBF and Interim WBO featherweight, WBC super feather and WBO and WBA lightweight titles over nine world title bouts while defeating the likes of Marco Antonio Barrera, Juan Diaz, Joel Casamayor, Orlando Salido and Michael Katsidis while losing to Floyd Mayweather Jr, Chris John and Pacquiao.
Not a bad haul but it doesn't compare to Pacquiao's mark during that same time of 15-1 (9), capturing or defending the WBC super feather, WBC lightweight, WBO light welter, WBO welter and the WBC light middle titles while beating Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosley, Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Marquez, Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton and Antonio Margarito, losing only to Morales.
Southpaw Pacquiao has fought the bigger men, with his last six opponents weighing at least 140 pounds all the way up to 150 while Marquez has only faced two opponents who scaled 140 and above.
But will these accomplishments amount to anything when the bell rings tonight at MGM Grand? Yes and no.
Marquez will likely be squaring off with a stronger Pacquiao than the one he faced in 2004 and 2008 as the Filipino has been able to handle such bigger opponents as Antonio Margarito, Miguel Cotto and Oscar De La Hoya.
That may not be an advantage over Marquez, who is quicker than anyone Pacquiao has faced in over four years.
Age could be a factor in this bout as Marquez is now 38, six years the senior of Pacquiao, and the Mexican could have difficulty mounting a late surge in the championship rounds, in which the bout will likely be decided won or lost.
Pacquiao has become much better at punching with his right hand and whether or not Marquez can come with this additional weapon could become very important as the rounds wear on.
For Marquez to reverse the outcomes of his previous matches with Pacquiao, he'll need to follow the Morales vs. Pacquiao I fight plan that "El Terrible" rode to victory.
This would mean Marquez, a superb counter-puncher, must take the initiative and become more offensive to back Pacquiao up. When Pacquiao has moments of success, Marquez must immediately use the same tactics to retaliate, nullifying any counter attacks and stop the southpaw's momentum.
To prevent Marquez from pulling off an upset, Pacquiao must allow Marquez the distance he needs to set up effective counters but most importantly, Pacquiao has to be able to hurt Marquez and take away his confidence.
If Pacquiao can do that, and not overlook Marquez in lieu of any lucrative upcoming contests on the horizon, he should win the final installment of this thrilling trilogy.