Pacquiao vs. Marquez: Changes Pac-Man Must Make in Part 4

Steve SilvermanFeatured ColumnistDecember 4, 2012

Sept 19, 2012; New York, NY, USA; Manny Pacquaio and Juan Manuel Marquez pose during the press conference announcing their fourth fight at The Edison Ballroom. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE
Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE

Manny Pacquiao has had the edge in his first three fights with Juan Manuel Marquez.

Even if he goes down to defeat in the fourth bout in their series on Dec. 8, the record will still favor Pacquiao by a 2-1-1 margin.

However, the first three fights have all been close. Pacquiao could be ahead 3-0 in the series, or with a few small scoring changes, Marquez could have a 3-0 advantage. Instead, Pacquiao leads 2-0-1.

None of this is lost on Pacquiao or trainer Freddie Roach. They know how close the two men are in overall ability and that Pacquiao has gotten the best of it from the judges through the first three fights.

They also know there is no guarantee that will continue to happen.

Pacquiao would like to make sure the fight is not in the judges' hands at the fight's conclusion. He would like to register a knockout or a stoppage so there is no opportunity for Marquez to get a little payback.

Pacquiao was close to registering a knockout in the first fight in the series in 2004. In that fight, Marquez came out in the first round going for it, and he landed a couple of hard punches early.

But in doing so, he left openings. Pacquiao took advantage of that vulnerability by landing a straight left that put Marquez on the canvas.

While Marquez got up quickly, Pacquiao continued to go after his man. He registered two more knockdowns before the end of the round, and the fight could have been stopped. However, the three-knockdown rule was not in effect in that fight, and referee Joe Cortez did not think Marquez was in danger of suffering any serious damage.

As a result, Cortez allowed that fight to continue. Marquez rallied and ended up turning what should have been a one-sided loss into a draw.

But in that first round was the strategy that Pacquiao must employ if he wants to change the pattern of the first three fights.

He must go for the early stoppage with heavy punches.

Marquez is vulnerable when Pacquiao is fighting at a fast pace in the early going. Marquez certainly warms up properly, but he is not the same fighter in the early rounds that he is when the fight reaches the middle rounds.

This is when Pacquiao has his advantage. He has to exploit this and continue to look for his power shots after the opening rounds as well.

If he continues to stay aggressive, it just may give him the edge to give him a much more one-sided decision or perhaps even stop the relentless Marquez in the fourth chapter of their sensational fight quadrilogy.