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30 JULY 2014

 

“Notes from Juan Manuel Marquez Conference Call”


By: Marc Livitz: Juan Manuel Marquez participated in a media conference call today from his training facilities in Mexico City. The Mexican legend is currently a lightweight titleholder and is widely recognized as one of the top pound-for-pound boxers in the world today. He will face Manny Pacquiao for the WBO Welterweight title at a catchweight of 144 lbs. on November 12 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The fight will be the third meeting between the two. They battled to a hotly contested draw in 2004 and then Marquez dropped a controversial split decision loss to Pacquiao in 2008. Joining Marquez on the call was his legendary trainer, Ignacio “Nacho” Beristain and Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, who opened the conference call. “Thanks for joining us today. We have with us on the phone the legendary
Juan Manuel Marquez and his trainer, Nacho Beristain. We’re now just ten days away from the event and with great anticipation. It’s a pleasure to be on this call with such a great fighter, who is one of the greats of our era. On November 12, he’ll have the fight of his life”, Arum said.

Both fighter and trainer agreed that their time together in training camp had been beyond productive. Marquez said he was “ready for the biggest fight and has prepared well in a great camp.” Beristain agreed. “This has been the best camp he’s ever had. We’re looking forward to the fight and we’ll give a great challenge on the 12th”, he stated.

Earlier in the day, Marquez’ November 12 opponent, Manny Pacquiao and his trainer Freddie Roach both indicated that they were ready to prove that Marquez will not leave the ring victorious and no room for doubt would be left in the minds of fans as to who the clear winner of the fight would be.

Nacho Beristain kindly brushed off any concern over the past two fights as he stated, “We know that we are prepared to win again. They can say they’ve won the first two. So be it. We feel the same.” Marquez agreed and added, “This third fight is happening because we both feel that we won and that the fights were close. We’re not the only ones saying we won the first two fights. We’ll be prepared.”


Beristain was asked to compare and contrast any differences that he now sees between the two fighters since they last met in 2008. The trainer spoke of this as he said, “Pacquiao has become better technically. He’s a much better boxer and a complete fighter. His punches are crisper and he’s not as wild as he was in the past. (Freddie) Roach has taught him well and his right hook has developed. Juan Manuel has a higher level of experience. The age isn’t a factor either. He’s focused and ready. He’ll fight like he’s 24.” Marquez is 38, while Pacquiao is 32.

Marquez was the first opponent of Floyd Mayweather, Jr. once the welterweight champion’s near two-year layoff from boxing ended in September of 2009. Marquez suffered a lopsided unanimous decision loss and was asked how he had been able to shake off the defeat and eventually earn a third bout with Pacquiao. Marquez answered, “He (Mayweather) is a defensive fighter with long arms. He’s difficult to fight and he doesn’t get involved in exchanges. We were able to get some wins to get back here. The fans and the press wanted this. Styles make fights and this will be a great one.” Nacho Beristain agreed with his fighter’s assessments of Mayweather when he added, “We would rather fight Pacquiao three or four more times than to fight Mayweather again. He’s a defensive boxer and he won’t let you fight, but Pacquiao does.”

The call was not without its flash points. Both Marquez and Arum reacted somewhat angrily when asked about their association with Marquez’ new strength training and conditioning coach, Angel Hernandez. Mr. Hernandez was an admitted supplier of performance-enhancing drugs to a few Olympic athletes several years ago. He was a known associate of the convicted supplier Victor Conte, who gained notoriety in 2003 as part of the BALCO (Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative) scandal. Marquez initially tried to remain somewhat ambivalent towards the subject and sought to keep the topic of the conversations to boxing. “He’s trained lots of fighters. He’s been very professional and we work very well together. We know that there are legal issues he may have to deal with.”

The idea that Marquez himself would be in any way linked to illegal substances is what seemed to irritate him a bit. He was asked why Hernandez’ background was never brought up in his training camp. He replied, “When I met him, I knew only of his background with athletes. It’s been news to me and it’s a shame, but I’ve worked so hard and I won’t stop training. Whatever doping tests they want to do, I’ll do it as long as he (Pacquiao) does it, too.”

Bob Arum interjected his views at this point. The Top Rank CEO stated to the members of the press listening on the phone, “Many of you are really behind the times. Some people were implicated in the BALCO case. These two (Conte and Hernandez) are the least likely to fool around with steroids. They know now you don’t need them and natural supplements used correctly will achieve the same results.”

Marquez indicated that his training methods had changed for the first time in eighteen years and that he was confident of being able to match Pacquiao’s speed and power. He stated that the fight on November 12 felt beyond personal to him, but that he has always respected Manny Pacquiao as a fighter. “Without a doubt, it’s personal. We both want it so bad, but here the biggest winners are the fans. We’ve never doubted that he was a great fighter. We have always defended him. We were able to put it all together and give the fans what they want”.

November 3, 2011



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