By Marc Livitz: If the third time’s a charm, then is the fourth time a deterrent? The Manny Pacquiao versus Juan Manuel Marquez saga will achieve the distinction of being called a tetralogy on December 8 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Through more than eight years, four knockdows and exactly thirty six rounds of boxing, we have gone to the judges’ scorecards and most have yet to find any total or comprehensive satisfaction. The issue as a whole won’t likely subside any time in the foreseeable future. It’s in many ways as divided as the United States.
In any case, Pacquiao (54(38)-4(2)-2) is beyond eager to silence the critics once and for all in a few weeks’ time. Although the arguments for and against his respective victories and draw versus Marquez (54(39)-6-1) need no introduction to even the most casual fan of the sport of boxing, a definitive end to the madness is most certainly on the minds of the paying customer. Manny and his trainer, International Boxing Hall of Fame elect Freddie Roach shared their views with the media this afternoon.
Many observers have dealt the cards of criticism in the direction of the "Pac Man" after his last few outings failed to produce the Pacquiao brand of fireworks, much less even firecrackers. He didn’t close the show, so to speak versus Timothy Bradley this past June and he may have finally felt the sting similar to Marquez’s disdain in regard to the two razor thin losses to Pacquiao he suffered in March 2008 and December of last year, respectively. What would lead most to believe that the fourth outing with the Mexican legend Marquez would not leave us with the same sour taste?
"This fight is really important to me. I need to put this thing to rest because he thinks he really won the three fights. I will try not to let this fight be as close as the previous ones. I didn’t finish as strongly at the end as I should have", said the multiple division former world champion.
Marquez has been able to seemingly match Pacquiao in pace, speed and precision during their previous three meetings. The Filipino sensation has been labeled at times as one who can be outboxed if done so with the best strategy. Without a doubt, Juan Manuel has been able to follow the steps to do so in the eyes of legions of his fans and neutral observers alike. Manny shared his views a bit on this matter.
"He is a great fighter and he’s very tough. The counterpunching has aways been his strongest point. He waits for the action, though. He’s not always aggressive so this time we can’t wait for him."
Regardless of the task presently at hand for the pound-for-pound contender, he is still unable to avoid the inevitable queries concerning the fight for which the entire globe clamors. Is a fight with Floyd Mayweather, Jr. still a possibility? Always tactful with his words, Manny simply commented, "Yes, I will still try to fight him and I’ll still be getting in the ring into 2014."
As for whether or not the boxing public could expect the Manny of old on December 8, the Congressman from Sarangani Province assured those listening that he would not disappoint this time and that his age would not be a factor. He is closing in on his 34th birthday, while Marquez will turn 40 next fall.
"We have been very focused in our training. We will bring more intensity and I will bring more action to the ring. I have worked on the speed and aggression in training camp. I’ve made a few changes and I’m ready to throw more punches. We know it will be important to use more combinations and move a lot more. I’m just giving him chance to prove that he can beat me. He has another chance to win the fight."
Juan Manuel "Dinamita" Marquez may have not grown or progressed into higher weight divisions as easily as Pacquiao may have over the past few years. The difference in his physical appearance has been clearly visible as of late. Nevertheless, Manny is not concerned about the bulk factor.
"My strategy has been to improve and develop my strength as well. I’ll also focus on the speed. I’m not worried about his strength."
His trainer (Freddie Roach) agreed when he added, "It’s not a factor because muscle doesn’t give you a better chin. He may be a little slower and we’ll try to take advantage of that."
Despite an independent panel of judges and seemingly a 99% rate of agreement in the eyes of the boxing world, Manny did in fact suffer his first official loss in over seven years this past summer. History may have erased the result all together, at least in the eyes of Freddie Roach.
"We will do our job as best we possibly can. I’ll get him ready. I thought Manny won his last fight eleven rounds to one, so I don’t consider that a loss. We’re just thinking about this fight."
November 21, 2012