Boxing takes the center stage this evening. The HBO PPV is live at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, 9:00 eastern time, when Manny Pacquiao (54-2-2) faces Juan Manuel Marquez (54-6-1). The fighters meet each for the fourth time after 36 epic rounds. Their last meeting on November 12, 2011 ended with a majority decision in favor of Pacquiao.

Many boxing observers believed that Marquez won the fight, despite scorecard totals of 114-114, 115-113 and 116-112. Pacquiao’s sluggish performance during the fight was the primary reason he should have lost to Marquez.  

The previous two fights ended in a draw and a split decision victory for Pacquiao.

The buildup for Pacquiao-Marquez 4 has centered on the idea of neither fighter being better than his opponent. Pacquiao and Marquez are evenly matched boxers.

Pacquiao, who fights southpaw, uses a strong right hook to put his opponents on the canvas. He mixes in jabs and feint, right hands to set up his power punches. Pacquiao is also active around the ring. Constantly moving his feet, Pacquiao limits the angles his opponents may have at their disposal. This forces them to trade punches, and works right into Pacquiao’s advantage.

While Pacquiao has had his way with numerous boxers in the past, he has yet to figure out Marquez.

Marquez is a conventional fighter who relies on jabs and ring generalship. In other words, Marquez always looks to dictate the pace of a fight. His jabs are stifling. The jabs set up Marquez’s combinations, which often forces his opposition to retreat. This allows Marquez to cut off the ring and bury his opponents with a flurry of punches.

Both Pacquiao and Marquez are good body punchers and they have strong chins. Their boxing styles are perfect compliments for each other and it makes up for a good action fight.  

The world of boxing needs a shot in the arm. With these two fighters squaring off in the Welterweight Division, there is a ton of interest. Although it is not the Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather mega-bout that fans have been clamoring for, but Pacquiao-Marquez 4 is a great way to end the 2012 boxing year. With so many contenders for the “Fight of the Year” distinction, Pacquiao-Marquez 4 just may take a claim as one of the year’s best bouts.

As they say, styles do make fights.   

Where To Watch Online: Pacquiao vs. Marquez IV