When Manny Pacquiao takes on Juan Manuel Marquez tonight, he will not just be fighting one of the toughest boxers on the planet. He will be fighting the decline of his own career. Expect him to be able to overcome this greatest of opponents, pulling out yet another close decision.
What Gives Pacquiao the Edge
Everything that gives Pacquiao the edge will be on full display in the first several rounds, which Pacquiao has historically dominated in this rivalry. It has always been his strategy to come out with his fists on fire. This strategy has worked. In this rivalry, Pacquiao averages 16 more punches per round in the first three rounds.
Expect more of the same in this fight, with the same result. Pacquiao will outpunch Marquez in a big way early.
Eventually, this will give way to a more even fight. Pacquiao lacks the stamina he once had, and Marquez is one of the toughest boxers on the planet. Losing the early rounds won't be enough to keep Marquez down.
This is where Pacquiao's superior power and constant pressure will put Marquez away. Pacquiao remains one of the most brutal boxers on the planet, capable of dropping any boxer in his way.
Marquez has the ability to stick around, though. He has always taken a beating in this series, coming back to pick smart, powerful punches. Marquez's ability to counter Pacquiao's onslaught with a few well-timed blows will keep him around in this match.
Another factor working in Marquez's favor is the fact that he can neutralize one of Pacquiao's best weapons: his left-handedness. Many boxers are unprepared to face the ferocity from Pacquiao's dominant left hand, which has worked in Pacquiao's favor many times in his career. In their fourth matchup, though, Marquez will know exactly what to do to handle this.
An examination of previous scorecards shows that Pacquiao generally dominates early, with Marquez scraping his way back in the middle rounds. The final few rounds have been even.
Expect more of the same in this bout. Pacquiao will jump out to an early lead. Marquez will scrape his way back, but it won't be enough to overcome the younger Pacquiao.
This match will come down to some close scoring. No fighter has ever dominated in this series, and that won't change tonight.
Final Scorecard: Pacquiao 115, Marquez 112