- Juan Manuel Marquez, 48, was inducted into boxing’s Hall of Fame over the weekend.
- The Mexican fighter is known mostly for his historic four-fight rivalry with Manny Pacquiao.
- Marquez KO’d Pacquiao in 2012 with his right hand — a hand which was cast in plaster on Saturday.
“Juan had power in both hands, but it looks like we’re doing the right hand, which produced some excitement in that fourth fight with Manny Pacquiao,” announcer James “Smitty” Smith said as the wet plaster was stirred ahead of the casting.
The COVID-19 pandemic put Hall of Fame ceremonies on pause in recent years.
However, three classes were inducted in one summer festival, with notable inductees including Floyd Mayweather, who cried ahead of his first speech Saturday; Laila Ali, who is the famous fighting daughter of Muhammad Ali; and Wladimir Klitschko, who was unable to attend because of his country Ukraine’s ongoing war with Russia.
There were speeches, a banquet, and a parade of champions, which took place across Verona, N.Y.
Marquez joked about Manny Pacquiao, who he fought four times
Marquez fought a who’s who of modern great boxers, including Marco Antonio Barrera, Floyd Mayweather, and Timothy Bradley.
“I looked forward to fighting the best,” Marquez told Showtime Sports on the lawns of the Canastota museum Saturday. “I fought with Morales, I fought with Barrerra, Mayweather, Juan Diaz, and other great fighters. I feel great to be here.”
Marquez is mostly known for his historic four-fight rivalry with Manny Pacquiao, whom he finally defeated by knockout in 2012 after a hat-trick of disputed results, including one draw and two losses.
To Showtime, he pretended to forget the name of Pacquiao, his great rival, before calling the Filipino former eight-weight boxing champion “the best opponent in my career.”
In their first ever fight back in 2004, Pacquiao knocked Marquez to the floor three times in the opening round.
The Mexican said his career may have played out entirely differently had it not been for referee Joe Cortez, who allowed Marquez to carry on fighting. The boxer recalled pleading with God, “Help me, I need you,” and he went on to outbox Pacquiao before being awarded with a contentious split-decision draw.
The rivalry ended 10 years ago in the fourth fight, when Marquez dropped him for good with the counter right hand — the same hand he set in plaster at Canastota.
“Pacquiao has speed, power. But I’m an intelligence fighter and want to use counter punches in every fight,
Marquez said. “I always thought what I need to do to win the fight — intelligence and experience.”
He said he felt he won the first fight, thought the second bout was close, “but I won the fight, too.” He said he thought he won the third match “clearly.”
Marquez said that Pacquiao has since requested a fifth match between them but, for him, “the chapter is closed.”
He said: “After four fights, I think I won the four fights.”
The Pacquiao knockout was Marquez’s ‘most dramatic win’
American sportscaster Al Bernstein, who was inducted into boxing’s Hall of Fame in 2012, marveled to Insider about Marquez’s brilliant finish of Pacquiao a decade ago.
“The man who is known as one of the great counterpunchers of the last 40 years, his most dramatic win was from a counter right hand,” Bernstein said.
“It’s kind of the perfect statement to make about him.”
Marquez announced his retirement in 2017, ending his boxing career with a pro record of 56 wins (40 knockouts and 16 decisions) against seven defeats.