December 6th, 2012 By John Signorella
STORIED RIVALRY COMING TO END SATURDAY
New York, NY- For the fourth time in almost a decade, “pound for pound” elite fierce competitors Manny Pacquiao (53-4-2, 38 KOs) and Juan Manuel Marquez (54-5-1, 39 KOs) will once again battle over 12 or less welterweight (147) rounds at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, Saturday at 9 PM ET on HBO PPV.
MANNY’S PATH OF DESTRUCTION
Since his “coming out party” massacre against Marco Antonio Barrera (W TKO 11), Boxing Writers Association of America’s “Fighter of the Decade” Manny Pacquiao is the first boxer in history to win a staggering eight world titles in eight different weight divisions. Considering the level of opposition he has faced: thrice scrapping with Erik Morales (L UD 12, W TKO 10, W KO 3), three times going to war against Juan Manuel Marquez (D 12, W SD 12), and by pounding out one sided drummings over world renowned pugilists such as Oscar De La Hoya (W TKO 8), Ricky Hatton (W KO 2), Miguel Cotto (W TKO 11), Joshua Clottey (W PTS 12), Antonio Margarito (W UD 12), and Shane Mosley (W UD 12), Manny’s ring endeavors have proven to be credible accolades in support of his status as an all-time great and living legend. Yes, even factoring in his last effort; a horridly scored 12 round controversial points loss to Timothy Bradley.
CLOSER LOOK AT PAC MAN
Many of “Pac’s” victims have been systematically broken down by “master” trainer Freddie Roach’s pre fight observations. Roach’s fight plans consist of strategies and tactics which are usually executed with relative ease by Pacquiao resulting in emphatic victory for the Filipino phenomenon. During such conquests, Manny has shown his own brilliant ring intellect by displaying an ability to control a foe by making an opponent fight his type of fight. On the contrary, (as seen in the early rounds in his bout against Cotto), Manny, (on occasion) can get caught up in the heat of the moment, become distracted, deviate from his predetermined fight plot, (but to his credit) make the adjustments necessary to beat his opponent at their own game. Pacquiao’s unique style is a hybrid of aggressively fast paced boxing accompanied with sound defense. In consideration of his overall attributes of speed, power, movement, and genius boxing IQ, (at his best) Manny Pacquiao may not only be the game’s most complete fighter, he may be the most dangerous. Albeit as suggested by several commendable media outlets in regard to his involvement in movies, music, religion and politics, Manny may be “burning the candle at both ends” and possibly losing some focus toward the hurt business of boxing. With his lackluster performances of late, evidence of that theory is beginning to show.
MARQUEZ: STILL AMONG THE BEST?
Prior to his failing bid at “pound for pound” greatness against the mighty Floyd Mayweather Jr. (L UD 12), Juan Manuel Marquez fought two epic wars with Manny Pacquiao. During that display of violent pugilistic brilliance, Marquez survived a total of four knockdowns, three of which happened in the very first round of their first encounter. Amazingly; Marquez fought back and managed to earn a draw. Knockdown number four came in the second bout, which ultimately led to Juan losing by just a point. In his next affair with Pacquiao, the popular consensus was: if Juan was able to do what he did best in the previous bouts without hitting the canvas, he’d win easily. It happened. Marquez put forth a stellar performance, however (to most experts and fans) the Judges made a huge gaff and awarded Manny the victory (L MD 12). Despite the disappointment to Marquez, throughout the 36 hellacious rounds that spanned three fights with Pacquiao, Marquez became the only boxer to really give the “Pac-Man” issues over the past decade. In addition, Juan Marquez is a vastly experienced craftsman who holds a multitude of impressive wins over such warriors as Marco Antonio Barrera (W UD 12) Joel Casamayor (W TKO 11), Rocky Juarez (W UD 12) Juan Diaz (W KO 9, W UD 12) and Michael Katsidis (W TKO 9).
A CLOSER LOOK AT MARQUEZ
Many of Marquez’s “big fights” have turned out to be “old school” brawls displaying intestinal fortitude which produced drama unparalleled to just about anything else seen in life. Juan is a consummate professional and master at his Mexican style of boxing. Like his counterpart, Marquez also enjoys the brain trust of one of boxing’s most dedicated scientific trainers in Nacho Bernstein. In addition to all of those aforementioned attributes, one of the more astonishing qualities of Marquez is that he comes to fight equip with what I call the “Hell code”: meaning Juan tries to take you to Hell and if need be, he’s willing to go there with you and is well aware that only one of you will make it out. The “Hell code” is a rare trait not possessed by many in the difficult sport of boxing. The legends that have fought successfully with this code of conduct are a special breed of animal; Marquez is surely one of them.
THOUGHTS AND PREDICTION
Over 20 pounds gained in weight since their first encounter, both men have offered new approaches to their already cemented craft of destroying their adversity. The question that looms here is how much these adjustments will affect the outcome of this battle. Training camp footage of Marquez has shown that perhaps this time at the 147 pound limit, a win against a “top dog” in the division looks more feasible then the first time he traveled north against Mayweather (where Marquez was visibly smaller than his opponent). Preparation coverage of Pacquaio in the media has displayed a more focused and concerned version of Manny coupled with a sense of urgency from his team to prepare for war unlike recently seen in his last couple of affairs. In other words; Pacquiao and his camp are not taking Marquez lightly. On the technical side of things, in their first three contests: Pacquaio has shown to be the more powerful boxer while Marquez has shown to be the better tactician in the ring. But this time around, Marquez may be the overall stronger man due to his recently documented intense preparation and hunger. Based on that evaluation; I feel if Marquez brings his vastly educated boxing skill to the “dance” while being able to call upon his seemingly newly found strength to stay on his feet (and possibly take Pacquaio off of his): I feel Marquez has a great shot here to not only beat Pacquiao, but knock him out.