Pacquiao vs. Marquez – Can we believe the hype?
By John F. McKenna (McJack): Eight division champion Manny Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KO’s) is hard at work preparing for yet another fight with his long time nemesis WBO lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez (54-6-1, 39 KO’s). Pacquiao and Marquez will clash for the 4th time on December 8 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
As is usually the case whenever a big fight looms just over the horizon, the hype machines for both fighters are in full swing. Reports coming out of Pacquiao’s training camp at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood suggest that Manny is demonstrating a focus that has not been seen by those close to him in years. Long time trainer Freddie Roach is well pleased with what he has seen thus far in Pacquiao’s preparation for his 4th encounter with Marquez.
We hear similar comments coming out of the Romanza Gym training camp of Marquez in Mexico City. Trainer Nacho Beristain has also expressed delight in his fighter’s preparation ahead of his battle with the Filipino icon. Even Top Rank CEO Bob Arum is getting into the mix by remarking on how well Marquez has looked in training.
But we heard similar comments in the lead up to the Trilogy fight in November 2011. Freddie Roach went on record by stating that he expected an early KO by Pacquiao in the 3rd fight, possibly as early as the first round. And no one can forget what Manny’s strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza prophesied before the 3rd fight. Ariza went way out on a limb by saying that he was so sure of a Pacquiao victory that even if God himself came down from on high he could not save Marquez from his inevitable fate.
Apparently God had other ideas as most fans who witnessed the fight thought Marquez deserved the decision.
It was not until after the fight that we learned of all the turmoil in the Pacquiao camp. The alleged drinking, gambling, womanizing and late night partying are now well known. Roach has also acknowledged that his fighter was not totally focused, which could be the understatement of the ages. The point is however, that we heard none of that prior to the fight.
It goes without saying that even a fighter of Pacquiao’s talent cannot fall back and rest on his laurels. Being an international icon and a huge celebrity in his native Philippines is not conducive to putting on ones best performance.
The message is clear. We as fans cannot believe all the hype. We need to do the best we can to separate the hype from reality.