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Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez: Analysis

By Gerardo Granados: The current World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight champion Emmanuel Dapidran [Manny] Pacquiao aka “Pacman” is the eight belt wonder, he is the mexicutioner, he has not faced top opposition lately because he has rather engaged against the most profitable opponents and it is a shame because he might have been able to defeat better fighters than the ones his promoters choose for him.

The current World Boxing Association (WBA) Super World and World Boxing Organization (WBO) lightweight champion Juan Manuel “Dinamita” Marquez is currently the best Mexican fighter, a three division champion, disciplined inside and outside the ring, and he is a smart boxer who was able to compete and hurt Pacman a couple of times in two epic fights.

Juan Manuel Marquez may have the congressman number, he knows the timing and correct range to connect and to avoid Pacman, he is able to stay at the adequate distance to complicate the aggressive style of Manny, even trainer Freddie Roach was concerned when the bout was announced, but if Freddie allowed Pacman to face Marquez it is because he knows very well that at the contract catch weight there is little chance for Manny to loose.

If you take out the first round of the first and the third round of the second fight it is quite impressive the dominance that Marquez had over Pacquiao in at least the half of the rounds that they fought. Sure Pacquiao draw the first fight with the controversy of the wrongful scoring of one judge who did not score the first round 6-10 as the rules dictates and won the second in a close fight, but not the less how is it possible that Marquez was able to get off the canvas three times in his first meeting, to recover and to end the fight at a high tempo? How is it possible that Pacman was not able to finish off his rival? How is it possible that Marquez was able to out box Pacquiao as he did? Some times it is too obvious but no one seems to realize what is real competitive fight.

It is a shame that the third fight took so long to be done, it came a couple of years too late. Now Marquez will be 38 years old and Pacquiao 32, it is true that veterans fighters have been able to upset young talented fighters but the young lions did not proved to have a fine tuned boxing technique as record holder Bernard Hopkins proved when he schooled the young champion Jean Pascal, or as the veteran Erik Morales performance against highly favorite Marcos Maidana who was supposed to annihilate the old lion.

Juan Manuel always seems to be in great shape between fights, at a couple of interviews he stated that he does not drink alcohol or smokes cigarettes and he may keep a really good heath and his physique might not correspond to the age he does has. But after eighteen years as a prizefighter you can not expect him to sill be as good as he was eight years ago, the same could be said about Pacman who debuted at a short age, he was only seventeen years old when he made his pro debut weighting only 106 pounds and conquered the WBC flyweight title by the age of twenty years old, Pacman has sixteen years as a prizefighter already.

Since his last meeting back on march of 2008 Pacman has conquered the WBC lightweight, IBO light welter, WBO welter and WBC light middle belts meanwhile Dinamita conquered and defended the WBA Super World and WBO lightweight belts. Both have engaged against good opposition but Manny has faced way bigger and stronger fighters than Juan Manuel did.

Now Pacman is even better than he was three years ago, he gained sixteen pounds of solid muscle and did not lost a bit of the speed that he had while campaigned at the flyweight division, he is stronger and he is way more powerful than the Pacman that campaigned at flyweight or super featherweight. Manny has corrected a few flaws on his defense and now is able to absorb the power punches of way bigger fighters like Antonio Margarito who out weighted him considerably by seventeen pounds by the time of the fight, Margarito was able to solidly connect Pacman more than once with shots to the body and to the head and still was not able to floored Pacquiao; not as fifteen or twelve years ago when Manny was knocked out by Rustico Torrecampo (KO3 accurate left to the chin) or Medgoen Singsurat (TKO3 – body punch) who were flyweights and were not considered to be as the best power punchers at their weight division. Pacquiao major advantage is the contract fight weight, even more because it is a comfortable catch weight for him; Pacman is facing a great lightweight who has fought only once at the welterweight division and looked too slow to compete at it.

Marquez has the tendency to drop his right hand and gets hit by upper cuts, he has been floored many times by the same punch, just as Pacquiao, Mayweather or Katsidis did. The question is in which round, not if will he get floored by a fast hard upper from Pacquiao; Ricky Hatton got caught by a precious left upper and the fight ended in a dramatic fashion. The major question for Marquez is if he will still be able to recover as he did in the past? At age 38 we can not expect him to keep his youth for ever. He showed signs of aging against Katsidis but Michael was tailor made for Juan Manuel to defeat because Katsidis is unable to block or slip, even less to move out of the range of the power punches of many top fighters in his weight division.

I am not trying to diminish Marquez, he still is a great boxer with supreme counter punching skills, and he does have good speed and power. But I wonder if his body will respond to him once more time, if his reflexes will be sharp, will his power be enhanced or will his legs be able to carry him for the full twelve rounds at a high tempo at 144 pounds catch weight? Will he have enough speed to compete as he did in the past against Pacman? Marquez edge is his vast experience, counterpunching skills and his trainer Ignacio Beristain.

The catch weight issue, if the welterweight limit is between 140+ up to 147 pounds then fighters should stick to it, but if both fighters agree to a reasonable catch weight then they better make no excuses after the fight ends. Problem for Marquez is that he may not be able to carry the extra pounds in his body frame, against Floyd he looked pudgy at 142 pounds and was too slow to compete against Mayweather. On the other corner Pacquiao can not make the full division limit, he has been weighting 142 pounds vs. De la Hoya, 144 pounds vs. Cotto, 145 ¾ pounds vs. Clottey, 144 ½ pounds vs. Margarito and 145 pounds vs. Mosley; an average of 144 ¼ pounds but he looks great and performs the same way at that weight.

Juan Manuel may be in a win – win situation, no matter what is the outcome of this fight he will still win a big purse. If Marquez lost then he was supposed to do so. If he wins then he will have a rematch with a huge purse guaranteed for him, but more important he would secure a place in boxing history for being the one who upset a fighter that for some is considered to be the greatest of all times, but as Pacman he would not be considered as the greatest by fans worldwide.

All the pressure might be on Pacman´s side, he is the pound for pound best and will be fighting another tailor made opponent who has showed signs of aging, and so he better look impressive dismantling his old rival.

The fight may not last the full twelve rounds but one thing is for sure, it won’t be a boring fight or disappointing as the Pacquiao vs. Mosley or Clottey fights were. Being Pacman a southpaw it will be important for both fighters to avoid being head butt and cut, because that could be a factor that might determine the outcome of the fight. Logic tells that Pacquiao will win by late stoppage in a thrilling fight but you can not count out Marquez just yet; remember that the Devil is savvy because he is old not because he is evil, and Juan Manuel Marquez is savvy, old and evil inside the ring. Will there be a fourth?

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