By Randy De La O
Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez will go at it again tomorrow night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. They will be fighting for Pacquiao's WBO Welterweight title. I can't find too many people to agree with me but I think that Marquez has a chance to win. Regardless, I'm throwing my support behind him. Marquez, arguably, the best counterpuncher fighting today, has always had the right style to go up against Pacquiao. He has always found a way to upset Pacquiao's rhythm. I'm hoping he can do it again. Still, this is a fight that should have been made a few years ago but it is what it is.
Pacquiao and Marquez have fought twice before; a draw in 2004 and a split decision in 2008. The fights, the rivalry and the results have been discussed ad nauseum and there's no point in going over every detail again except to say that the difference between the two has always been razor thin. Given the closeness of both fights I don't understand Pacquiao's irritation at Marquez for believing that he won the fight, especially since a large part of the boxing world feels the same way.
Pacquiao seems to be concerned about the fight too. By his own admission, he is training harder for this fight than for any other. So he at least is giving Marquez some due respect. There is also a rematch clause that was added.......just in case. On the other hand, he seems to be looking past Marquez and to a fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. sometime next year.
Pacquiao has momentum on his side, and he is a good fighter, no doubt (I'm still not sold on his greatness) and of course the odds and circumstances favor him, including the weight. If he has taken Marquez for granted, if he makes a mistake, if he has done one thing wrong during training, Marquez is the man that will make him pay.
I know that a fight between Pacquiao and Mayweather is good for boxing. But the way see it, if Pacquiao can't get past Marquez, than who cares about it? Not me. I believe that if this fight meets any and all expectations, regardless of who wins, it's a big shot in the arm for boxing. The future will take care of itself.
Throughout most of his career, Marquez has fought in the shadow of his countrymen, Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera. Now, he has out lasted both of them and has established his own legacy. Because of his draw and split decision loss (Both controversial), he has also fought in the shadow of Manny Pacquiao. I'm hoping that tomorrow night he steps out of the shadow.
I honestly don't know who will win tomorrow but I do know that Marquez will give every ounce of himself in this fight, they both will. I also know that Manny Pacquiao has never convincingly beaten Marquez. They both have something to prove to each other, and to themselves. Both are confident. No matter how you look at it, both men have been remarkable.
That loud shouting you hear coming from Whittier will be me screaming for Marquez to win, any kind of way.
As always, let the best man win, but here's hoping, that for Marquez, the “third time's the charm”.
The fight will be shown on HBO PPV.