If the fourth Pacquiao-Marquez again goes the distance, the two fighters will have fought 48 rounds; a total of 144 minutes or two hours and 24 minutes.  In the ring, they would have been staring at each other’s face for an additional of 44 minutes, counting the one-minute break in between rounds and excluding the long exhaustive pre-fight introductions and post-fight interviews.

Manny Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Marquez

Manny Pacquiao, of the Philippines, left, and Juan Manuel Marquez, of Mexico. Pic: AP.

If they go 12 rounds on December 9 (Philippine time), that would bring the total they have been going at each other’s throat to almost three hours of hell.

And if history repeats itself, they are again bound to conclude their fight in another close and controversial fashion.

That is, if nobody between them decides to score a knockout and go home early to celebrate a decisive victory to, in the words of Manny Pacquiao, erase all doubts in the minds of boxing fans who the better fighter is between him and Juan Manuel Marquez, his longtime nemesis.

Many boxing pundits and arm-chair analysts have predicted a stoppage victory from either of the two Hall of Fame-bound fighters ever since they fought to a close and controversial draw in their first encounter.  That was some eight long years ago.

Both camps, including the fighters themselves, are again looking for that elusive knockout victory.

For Team Pacquiao, it is looking to reinvent the eight-division world boxing champion as the blinding bullet train.  In boxing lengua, the hardest punch is the one that you do not see coming. Pacquiao, before he became a consummate boxer-puncher, was the epitome of such during his wild swinging ways and younger days – the one that shellacked other Mexican boxing greats Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales.  Against Marquez, it would be futile for Pacquiao to be a thinking fighter and fight the Mexican’s fight by out-countering a counterpuncher.  Team Pacquiao is looking to blindside Marquez from all angles in a manner that made Oscar de la Hoya quit.  And from several pressers from the Pacquiao camp, they are exactly doing just that.  His team wants Pacquiao to move around, be the busier fighter and not allow Marquez to square off with his punches.

For Marquez, it would be foolhardy for him to engage Pacquiao in a toe-to-toe slugfest and be the aggressive fighter.  He can’t out-speed the speedster in the Filipino boxing icon.  He will be saving his stamina by minimizing movement around the ring and will wait for Pacquiao to be predictable coming in.  Marquez will wait in ambush and will be more accurate with his bombs, especially those right straights and uppercuts, if Pacquiao stands in front of him. He will be economical with his power punches but will unload them with gusto at every opportunity that comes his way.   Marquez is one of the more cerebral boxers in the history of boxing – a potent weapon against Pacquiao.  He has longevity to prove his mastery of that skill.  He also knows how to adjust to the level of competition and Pacquiao’s style brings out the best of him.

It will be a tactical fight between two fighters who are the best with their contrasting styles.

It will be up to the two fighters whether it will take another 12 rounds to determine the outcome or the fight is decided in less.

Forty-eight rounds or less, it does not matter, so long as we reach a final and decisive conclusion.