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Will Marquez be competitive against Pacquiao?

Juan Manuel Marquez Manny PacquiaoBy John F. McKenna (McJack): No one questions the heart of World Boxing Organization (WBO)/World Boxing Authority (WBA) lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez (53-5-1, 39 KO’s) as he prepares for the Trilogy with WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 KO’s). Marquez and Pacquiao will square off for their 3rd fight on November 12 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

The first two classic fights ended controversially and as everyone knows controversy is a promoters dream especially when the combatants are ring legends as “Dinamita” and “Pacman” are. In their first match in 2004 fought at 126 pounds the fight was called a draw even though Manny had floored Marquez three times in the first round. It was later revealed that one of the judges had tabulated his scorecard incorrectly which deprived Manny of victory.

In the 2nd match fought at 130 pounds in 2008 Pacquiao again floored Marquez, but Juan fought back and even though Manny won the contest by a razor thin margin, many boxing observers feel that Marquez won the fight. As one might expect Juan feels he did enough to win both fights. Since the 2008 match Marquez has campaigned vociferously for another crack at “Pacman”.

Many boxing pundits believe that at 38 years old Marquez can still give Pacquiao fits and possibly pull off an upset. Looking at things realistically though let’s take a look at what “Dinamita” faces in the Trilogy match up. First, Juan has been showing some signs in his most recent fights that he has lost some speed. Not a significant amount of speed, but enough to allow someone with the speed of a Manny Pacquiao to land his lightning quick combinations. Boxing after all is game where contests are decided by fractions of seconds.

Second, Manny has legitimately grown into a welterweight and is comfortable fighting at that weight. As Vitali Klitschko so eloquently put it prior to his fight with Tomasz Adamek, Tomasz has eaten his way up to heavyweight from cruiserweight. Klitschko went on to say that Adamek was going to find out what it was like to be hit by a “natural heavyweight.” The same thing applies when Marquez attempts to come up to welterweight. Marquez will have to eat his way up to the higher weight and he will feel what it is like to fight a natural welterweight as Manny is now.

Third, Pacquiao has grown by leaps and bounds since taking on trainer Freddie Roach and conditioning coach Alex Ariza. He is not the same fighter he was in 2008. Manny has morphed into another fighter. Not only has he packed on solid muscle Pacquiao has improved on every facet of his game. He has matured from the one dimensional fighter Marquez faced at 130 pounds in 2008. To make matters worse for Juan, Pacquiao took his speed and agility up to welterweight.

In addition to all that Manny now attacks and punches from all angles making it nearly impossible to counter or prepare for. Pacquiao’s power is now such that when he floored Shane Mosley in their fight last May, Shane was in disbelief at his power. Mosley got on his bicycle and ran for the remainder of the fight, making a KO over him nearly impossible.

Juan Manuel Marquez will come to the MGM Grand on November 12 prepared to do battle and in his heart he may really believe that he can defeat Manny Pacquiao. The facts however indicate that Marquez will be hard pressed to make the 3rd fight competitive.

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