This weekend, Manny Pacquiao will take on Juan Manuel Marquez for the fourth, (and likely final) time. They'll be fighting at 147 pounds, the highest weight of their four meetings. As we all know, their previous three came down to the wire, and there's a great chance this one does too.
So, who has the advantage going into this fight, and how will it ultimately play out?
Let's start with Juan Manuel Marquez. Marquez is a technically brilliant fighter, and is one of the most highly skilled boxer-punchers of his generation. He counterpunches extremely effectively, and has a great sense of timing which has really troubled Pacquiao when they've matched up previously.
One thing Marquez is excellent at doing is getting his lead foot on the outside of Pacquiao's, which allows him to gain a slight advantage in dictating the fight. Marquez offsets Pacquiao's speed with his uncanny ability to time punches, which again has caused Manny a lot of problems and is the main reason he's struggled with Marquez.
But so far, Marquez hasn't been able to impress the judges enough to earn a victory over Pacquiao in any of their previous three meetings. Marquez is likely going to be much more aggressive, which could ultimately be his downfall.
With Pacquiao, we all know what we're going to get. He's a whirlwind, although he has slowed down in recent fights. Pacquiao has to take the fight to Marquez, and simply overwhelm him if he's going to get the stoppage in this fight.
Manny's looked slightly off recently, maybe due to his congressional duties and other out-of-the-ring responsibilities.
Or maybe he's just getting old.
In this fight, I just have a feeling that Pacquiao and Roach will finally figure it out, and Pacquiao will stop Marquez, likely overwhelming him with punches somewhere around the ninth round. Again though, don't be at all surprised if this one comes down to the last couple of rounds.
Marquez is a Hall of Fame-caliber fighter, and he'll conduct himself as one on Saturday night. It's just really difficult to pick a guy that's pushing 40 to beat a guy like Pacquiao, but I won't be shocked if he wins. Either way, it should be a terrific fight, and fight fans should be looking forward to it.
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