The third time wasn't the charm for Juan Manuel Marquez. As such, Manny Pacquiao's victory Saturday night could finally set the table for boxing's ultimate clash: a pay-per-view megafight involving the Filipino congressman and Floyd Mayweather.
At the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Pacquiao won a majority decision -- 115-113 and 116-11 -- at 144 pounds, while a third called it a 114-114 draw on Nov. 12. The result left Marquez and his camp fuming and on the wrong end again on the scorecards: their first bout at 125 pounds in 2004 was a draw, while the second in 2008 at 130 pounds was split decision.
Punch stats credited Pacquiao with landing 176 of 578 punches, while Marquez connected on 138 of 436. Relative to power punches, the count was 117 to 100 in favor of the victor, who suffered a cut inside his mouth and over his right eye.
In the very near term, the question is how many homes bought Pacquiao-Marquez, which benefited from an array of marketing tactics and support. After that, all eyes in the boxing and distribution communities are eyeing Cinco de Mayo.
Given Pacquiao's struggles against Marquez and Mayweather's unanimous decision over the Mexican champion in September 2009, which drew over 1 million buys and generated $52 million in PPV revenue, the stage could finally be set for the bout fight fans have long been waiting for.
However, Pacquiao and the "Pretty Boy" will have to overcome their stances on drug testing, which capsized a meeting in 2010, as well as animus that has resulted in the former filing a defamation suit against the erratic Mayweather.
Mayweather in September knocked out welterweight champion Victor Ortiz in controversial fashion. That bout, which carried the most expensive suggested retail price ever for a PPV boxing event at $59.99, drew 1.25 million buys and garnered $78 million in PPV revenue -- a record for a non-heavyweight PPV fight, according to Golden Boy officials.
That mark would surely fall if Pacquiao-Mayweather ever materialized. Mayweather has been talking up fighting on May 5 and looking for the "little fella." Pacquiao's promoter Bob Arum, who has repeatedly said the bout will never happen, nevertheless has bandied about a retail fee of at least $70 for what be the biggest ring sport attraction in the new millennium.