Manny Pacquiao has yet to score a convincing victory over Juan Manuel Marquez in three career fights against the steady veteran. While a knockout should always be the goal, putting so much emphasis on getting one in the fourth encounter is dangerous for Pac-Man.
The eight-division champion has two victories and a draw with Marquez, but even the wins came in close bouts. Pacquiao has made it clear he wants to end the Dec. 8 fight with a knockout, based on a report from the Associated Press.
"I want to erase the doubt of the last three fights," Pacquiao said. "There's so many people still asking if I won the fights. I think to myself, 'Something is wrong. I have to do it again.' This time, I will train hard to put this fight up in the history of boxing. I want to make this fight short. I want to knock him out."
Adding to Pacquiao's motivation is a loss to Timothy Bradley in his last fight. Although it was a controversial decision, a loss is a loss and it was just the fourth one in his storied career. He doesn't want his first two-fight losing streak.
Yet, it's important for him to remember how difficult it has been to sustain attacks against Marquez. Marquez has shown terrific defensive ability and has been one of the few boxers who has shown he knows how to neutralize Pacquiao's quickness and power.
Beating Marquez is a tough enough task, let alone going into the fight aiming to end it early. Marquez has only lost six times in his career, five by decision and one by disqualification. Nobody has been able to knock him out.
If Pacquiao enters the fight with his heart set on getting a KO, he will leave himself exposed to counterattacks from Marquez, which have been effective in each of the first three meetings.
Even though the Filipino sensation is an elite boxer, trying to do something nobody has been able to accomplish in 61 previous Marquez fights seems overambitious. It also increases the chances of Pacquiao getting upset for a second straight fight.
In reality, Pacquiao should go in to the MGM Grand Garden Arena with no expectations beyond winning. It doesn't matter if it takes one round or 12 rounds. As long as he emerges victorious, that's all that counts in the long run.
His attitude should be if a knockout happens, great. But he can't dwell on it.