By- Ivan V. Natividad
Las Vegas, Nev.- Tonight Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez meet for a fourth, and final bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Considering the history between the two welterweights (2 close, controversial wins for Pacquiao and a draw) both fighters look to win decisively, in order to put to rest all doubts of who the better fighter is. Those looking to break some bread and bet on the fight, should look at some key factors before going all in.
Stats can be deceiving
Pacquiao has never loss to Marquez, and is once again the clear favorite on paper running at a current line of -370. While Pacquiao knocked Marquez down a total of four times in the first three fights (three in the opening round of their first) he never knocked him out, and as boxing fans we have to concede that all three of their previous fights could have gone either way. As a counter-striker, Marquez seems to have Pacquiao figured out, but has never really hurt him. Pacquiao seems to fall into the same strategy of “strike hard strike first” whenever it gets into the mid-late rounds, a strategy that may be his downfall without proper defense.
“I will fight a smarter fight and a more aggressive fight,” he says. “If the knockout is there I will go for it.”
Marquez’s physique raises questions
Anyone at the weigh-in could tell that Juan Manuel Marquez has undergone a physical transformation. His biceps seem more definitive, his shoulders are thicker and his chest is wider, and although he weighed-in yesterday four pounds lighter than Pacquiao, it didn’t look it.
It is not unusual for fighters, or athletes for that matter, to change their diets or workout routines, which would change the composition and appearance of their body. But Marquez’s transformation comes at the age of 38, and after he hired Angel Guillermo “Memo” Heredia as his strength and conditioning coach. Heredia is infamously known for his involvement in the BALCO case, where he testified for the government against track coach Trevor Graham, about his involvement with PED’s.
While Marquez denies the use of PED’s, and says he is willing to take a drug test to prove it, he has admitted that Heredia has made a difference.
“I’m working with Angel [Heredia], I’ve changed everything,” he said. “I feel great because I’ve had a 20-year carreer and I did it the same way for 18 years. But now, Angel has changed everything.”
No distractions for Manny
According to Pacquiao’s famed trainer Freddie Roach, this may have been one of Pacquiao’s best training camps. Manny’s camp usually works in the Philippines half of the time so Pacquiao can attend to his duties and affairs as a congressman, eventually moving to LA to work at Roach’s Wild Card Gym. It is reported though that this training camp Manny and has worked only in LA, giving Pacquiao an easier atmosphere to focus on his workouts.
“This has been my best training camp in a long time,” Pacquiao said. “I feel like the old Manny Pacquiao.”
The Experts weigh in
For the most part boxing analysts and experts pick Pacquiao to win the fight. Former Heavyweight Champion “Iron” Mike Tyson says Pacquiao will win, but he has to “win big.” Tyson went on to talk about the strength and endurance of older fighters in the modern era.
“I don’t know what’s going on with these fighters nowadays, the older they get the better they get, the more punches they throw, it’s incredible.”
Roger Mayweather, uncle and caoch of Floyd Mayweather Jr., says Pacquiao has the advantage in the fight and that he doesn’t see him losing because “He’s got power on his side.”
However you choose to bet, bet wisely. I personally think this will go to decision again to Pacquiao, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Marquez wins. I unfortunately don’t think it will end with a knockout, unless Manny went through some mental transformation back to the Manny of old. I don’t think Marquez can knock Manny out, but as mentioned above, he does look much bigger and stronger, so we will see. If Marquez wins, it will be by knockout. Here are the straight odds: