Manny Pacquiao, left, and Juan Manuel Marquez pose for photos during a news conference, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, in Las Vegas. Pacquiao and Marquez are scheduled to face off in a welterweight boxing match on Saturday.
Manny Pacquiao, left, poses for photos with Miss Philippines Janine Tugonon during a news conference, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, in Las Vegas.
Juan Manuel Marquez, right, poses for photos with Miss Mexico Karina Gonzalez during a news conference, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, in Las Vegas.
LAS VEGAS (AP) — By
now, there's nothing Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez don't know
about each other. After 36 rounds in the ring — many of which could have
been scored either way — there's not much fight fans don't know about
the two, either.
They'll probably do 12 more rounds Saturday
night, and if their three previous fights were any indication, the
decision will be close. If styles make fights, their styles make for
fights that can confound the ringside judges just as much as they do the
people who pay to watch.
So what's the intrigue of fight No. 4?
What reason do fight fans have other than the possibility of Marquez
finally winning to spend money that for a fight that could be as
predictable as the other three?
Maybe just because there's a good chance you'll never see the two ring generals battle each other again.
"I think this is the last fight with him," Pacquiao said.
"Last time," agreed trainer Freddie Roach. "We're going to knock him out. End of story."
might prove difficult because it didn't happen in the first three
fights and the general perception is that Pacquiao is beginning to slip,
if just a bit. While no one is suggesting Pacquiao is still not a very
good fighter, his last two fights were a disputed win over Marquez and
an even more disputed loss against Timothy Bradley.
The line in
the Pacquiao camp is that the fighter wasn't focused against Marquez
last time because of domestic problems and that he was robbed against
Bradley. They claim he has something to prove, especially if he is ever
to get Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the ring, and has been ferocious in
"The fourth fight could be the same as the last
three, but Manny's hungrier now," Roach said. "I don't think Marquez has
seen the best Manny yet."
The rivalry between Pacquiao and
Marquez goes back eight years, when they first met for the featherweight
title and Pacquiao came out and floored Marquez in the first round.
Marquez got up only to go down two more times in the round, yet somehow
managed to end the round on his feet.
Marquez would not only
survive, but come back to dominate the later part of the fight. He
salvaged a draw on the judge's scorecards, the first of three decisions
he felt unjustly favored Pacquiao.
They met again at 130 pounds in
2008 and the fight was almost as close. Pacquiao won one scorecard,
Marquez the other, while the third judge favored Pacquiao by one point,
giving him a split-decision win.
Then they fought last year at 144
pounds and Pacquiao won a majority decision that angered both Marquez
and the crowd at the MGM Grand arena, which booed heavily when it was
"Everybody knows what happened the last few fights,"
Marquez said. "I want to be more aggressive this time, but with
intelligence, because Manny is a very dangerous fighter."
Pacquiao is facing Marquez for a fourth time instead of fighting a
rematch with Bradley, who was awarded a decision over Pacquiao in June
that was roundly dismissed by most in boxing, speaks both to the
economics of boxing and the fact the undefeated Bradley doesn't have
much of a following.
Marquez brings the Hispanic audience, which
should translate into higher pay-per-view sales, and he also brings a
well-earned reputation as the one fighter who can solve Pacquaio's
somewhat unorthodox style. He might be an aging fighter at 39, but
Pacquiao also has been showing the signs of his 17-year career in
And while Pacquiao is widely acclaimed as one
of the great offensive fighters of his era, Marquez might be one of the
best counterpunchers. All three of their fights have had tremendous
action, and there's no reason to believe the fourth fight will be any
That's especially true if Pacquiao — who renounced his
drinking and partying ways after having marital problems last year —
trained as hard for this fight as he and Roach say.
"I think he
has the fire underneath him that he used to have," Roach said. "He had
four knockdowns in training camp, which were his first since the
(Miguel) Cotto fight. He wasn't so compassionate in sparring this time."
fight will be at 147 pounds, a full 22 pounds heavier than the boxers
were in 2004. Marquez, in particular, appears to have bulked up, leading
Roach to question how natural his weight gain really was.
Marquez wore a bulky coat while meeting with reporters Wednesday as if he were trying to conceal his physique.
"Maybe I'm bigger, but I need to be fast, and I need to be quick to win this fight," Marquez said.