In what can only be described as the biggest grudge match in boxing history, Manny Pacquiao looks to prove that he is still the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world when he takes on Juan Manuel Marquez.
Pacquiao's career outside of the boxing ring seems to have superseded his fighting. He has so many extracurricular activities (politician, entrepreneur, singer, etc.) that you have to wonder how much he has left in the tank.
Marquez has been waiting for this fight ever since Nov. 2011, when the judges gave Pacquiao the decision in their third matchup. Marquez has done great things in his career, but the one stain on his resume is an 0-2-1 career mark against Pacquiao.
Where: MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV
When: Saturday, Dec. 8 at 9:00 p.m. ET
Watch: Pay-Per-View ($59.95 for standard definition; $69.95 for high definition)
Live Stream: TopRank.com
|Welterweight Bout: Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez|
|Super Featherweight Bout: Yuriorkis Gamboa vs. Michael Farenas|
|Lightweight Bout: Miguel Vazquez vs. Mercito Gesta|
|Featherweight Bout: Javier Fortuna vs. Patrick Hyland|
Tale of the Tape
|54-4-2 (38 KOs)||Record||54-6-1 (39 KOs)|
Courtesy of Boxrec.com
Pacquiao's Keys to Victory
Use Speed and Power Combination; Let's Play Some Defense
For all the idle chatter about Pacquiao starting to slip, he has proven time and again that he is still the fastest striker in boxing. He put on a clinic in that controversial loss to Timothy Bradley, and did outstrike Marquez 176-138 in total punches and 117-100 in power strikes in their last fight.
Pacquiao has a decided advantage against Marquez in the speed department, which also allows him to play up his power. He has to set the pace in this fight and keep Marquez off balance heading into the later rounds to have a shot to end it before the judges decide.
On the flip side, Pacquiao needs to start playing some defense. Marquez's greatest asset is his ability to counter-punch, which is what gave Pacquiao problems in their last fight. The only real damage that Marquez did was as a result of counter-punching, because Pacquiao never kept his hands up to defend himself.
If Pacquiao wants to avoid any controversy this time around, all he has to do is keep his hands up when Marquez attacks. Doing that will prevent Marquez from doing any significant damage.
Marquez's Keys to Victory
Let Pacquiao Set Up Offense; Don't Get In A Slugfest
Marquez is one of the most unique boxers in the world. He has gotten better with age because he understands that the best offense comes from exploiting your opponent's aggressiveness.
Pacquiao is as aggressive as any fighter in boxing. He is going to come out swinging, looking to end the fight as soon as possible. That gives Marquez a huge opening to exploit, by attacking Pacquiao when his guard is down.
If Marquez can use Pacquiao's own offensive strategy against him, it is going to be a very long night for Pacquiao.
That being said, it is important Marquez doesn't get into a back-and-forth punching match. He can counter-punch with anyone in the world, but he is not capable of standing toe-to-toe with an elite fighter and matching him punch for punch.
Marquez has to pick and choose when and where he is going to attack, and when he does, he has to make his strikes count.
What They Are Saying
Everyone knows that Pacquiao and Marquez have a very personal rivalry. Each fighter believes he should be 3-0 against the other.
Marquez is desperately seeking vengeance after strongly feeling he was robbed in the third fight. At the press conference (via Dan Rafael of ESPN) earlier this week, Marquez was short and to the point about what he expects from this fourth match.
Never one to boast about himself, Manny Pacquiao is playing the perfect babyface heading into this fight. In an interview with Fox Sports, Pac-Man said that he wants to fight his fight this time around.
I have put everything into this training camp. I know I haven’t fought perfect fights against Márquez in the past and my incentive in this one is to fight the fight I should fight this time. If I do that I will not only win again but put away all doubts in the minds of the fans and Márquez on who is the better fighter.
It is refreshing to see Pacquiao humbled in a different way. He is often humble when speaking, but he seems to be more so this time around. He hears the whispers and wants to prove fans and analysts wrong.
Manny Pacquiao is a man on a mission right now. He has more incentive now than ever before to destroy anything and everything in front of him. Marquez doesn't have the power to knock out Pacquiao, though I am not sure Pacquiao can crack Marquez's chin.
It will be another close fight, but this time there will be no controversy.
Pacquiao wins via unanimous decision