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It’s all or nothing for Pacquiao

By John F. McKenna (McJack): When fighter of the decade and eight division champion Manny Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KO’s) climbs into the ring tonight to tangle with WBO lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez (54-6-1, 39 KO’s) it is a pretty safe bet that this time he will not take “Dinamita” lightly. Pacquiao will face his arch rival for the 4th time at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas.

The first three fights have been well documented and reams of articles have been written by boxing pundits who put their take on what is likely to happen in the fourth contest between the two. Although Pacquiao is favored by the odds makers to win tonight’s battle, when it comes to the so called boxing experts almost an equal number are of the opinion that Marquez will finally get his due and pull off a victory over the Filipino icon.

Attempting to predict a winner in a contest where the two fighters are so evenly matched is near impossible. But still we as boxing writers are compelled to do the best we can at analyzing the pros and cons of both gladiators. Hopefully the 4th fight between the pair will put an end to the controversy as to who is the superior fighter.

The first fight between Pacquiao and Marquez in 2004 resulted in a draw despite Marquez having been sent to the canvas three times in the first round. It was later disclosed that one of the ringside officials made an error on his scorecard which deprived “Pacman” of victory. In the second fight in 2008 Pacquiao was awarded a razor thin victory.

Again in November 2011 Pacquiao won a close decision in a fight most boxing fans felt that Marquez clearly won. The boos ringing out when the decision was announced after the 3rd fight was something that Manny was not used to hearing. And even though Pacquiao insists that he thought he won the 3rd fight, he was indeed troubled that so many fans were of the opinion that he had lost the fight.

The buildup and hype going into the Trilogy fight a year ago described Manny as a changed fighter. He was now a two fisted gladiator who used both hands and had grown into a full blown welterweight. The expectation was that Pacquiao would dispose of Marquez and possibly in short fashion. Things did not go quite the way team Pacquiao had envisioned.

Preparing for a rematch in a huge fight is a lot like preparing for a major war. As in war both sides prepare for battle based on what happened in the previous encounter. That kind of reasoning frequently leaves to errors in judgment. It is likely that Marquez fought the fight of his life last November. That is unlikely to happen again. Pacquiao on the other hand took Marquez lightly last year. That too is unlikely to happen again. Look for “Pacman” to win by a convincing victory in the 4th encounter.

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