Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez are going at it for the fourth time when they meet at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas Dec. 8.
The first three bouts between the two have been stellar. Pacquiao has recorded two victories and a draw in this series and it seems quite likely that another action-filled bout will ensue in the fourth fight.
Pacquiao and trainer Freddie Roach are talking about a change in tactics that could result in an early-round knockout.
Don't believe it.
While it's certainly possible for Pacquiao to register an early-round stoppage, the likelihood is that it will be another close fight that could go either way.
At this point, few fighters know each other as well as Pacquiao and Marquez.
Pacquiao and Marquez are the headliners but there are three other marquee bouts on this fight card along with five preliminary bouts.
We will look at the four marquee bouts on the MGM card.
Yuriokis Gamboa (21-0-0)
Michael Farenas (34-3-4)
Preview: Gamboa is a sharp boxer with excellent hand speed. His last fight was an eight-round technical decision win over Daniel Ponce. Gamboa was pitching close to a shutout when Ponce suffered an accidental headbutt and suffered a brutal cut. He could not continue and Gamboa earned the decision.
Farenas has registered 26 knockouts in his career and is a solid puncher. He is undefeated in his last eight fights.
Prediction: Gamboa wins by TKO in 10 rounds
Miguel Vazquez (32-3-0)
Mercito Gesta (26-0-1)
Preview: Vazquez defends his IBF lightweight crown against the up-and-coming Gesta. Vazquez won his crown in 2010 by a unanimous decision over Ji-Hoon Kim. He has defended his title four times and he is a skilled boxer who moves well around the ring. His last fight was a split decision victory over Marvin Quintero.
Gesta is a hard puncher who has won both of his 2012 bouts by technical knockout. Like Manny Pacquiao, Gesta is a native Filipino and he could be inspired by fighting on the same card as his famous countryman.
Prediction: Vazquez survives a late rally to capture a unanimous decision.
Javier Fortuna (20-0-0)
Patrick Hyland (27-0-0)
Preview: While both fighters are undefeated and dangerous, Fortuna has been on a major roll. He has won five of his last seven bouts by knockout and he is a hard puncher who is going to cause a lot of havoc. Fortuna is the second-rated WBA featherweight contender.
Hyland is also surging, but he is stepping up in class to get in the ring with Fortuna. There is little doubt that Hyland will come to fight and launch his attack, but there are questions about how strong his defensive techniques will be against a highly rated opponent. Hyland is the sixth-rated contender.
Infamous Jersey Shore tartlet Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi and Team Snooki Boxing promote Hyland.
Prediction: Fortuna stops Hyland in Round 5.
Manny Pacquiao (54-4-2)
Juan Manuel Marquez (54-6-1)
Odds to Win:
Preview: This should be another spectacular fight between these two highly skilled and highly motivated fighters. Pacquiao has had most of his success in this series when he has fought at a quick pace and put constant pressure on Marquez. His early knockdowns in their first fight nearly resulted in a stoppage and Pacquiao will try to match or exceed that performance.
Marquez will not be intimidated. He has an incredible fighting spirit and can take punishment, shake it off and deliver his own hard punches. He tends to come on in the later rounds.
Prediction: Pacquiao takes a split decision victory.