All eyes will be on Juan Manuel Marquez's added bulk, when HBO airs the official weigh-in for Marquez vs, Manny Pacquiao IV on Dec. 7 at 6 p.m. ET.
In this day and age, any time an athlete puts on muscle mass, the PED (performance enhancing drugs) speculation will surface. This time is no different.
Pacquiao's trainer Freddie Roach fired perhaps the most blatant accusation. He told USA Today:
"If (his body) is natural, I will kiss his a$$.''
Take a look at Marquez's muscle in this episode of HBO's 24/7. You can jump to the 6:40 mark to get the gist of the concept.
Whether the bulk is natural or not, Marquez must be wary of the drawbacks of more muscle mass. At 39 years old, he already stands to experience a drop-off in speed and agility. Sometimes in an effort to increase training to combat aging, a fighter can do more harm than good.
As long as he makes weight—which I'd be shocked if he didn't—is all that matters. The validity behind any other allegations will be revealed at a later time.
Roach did back off his hard-line accusatory stance later.
He claimed he was only joking when Ben Thompson of Fight Hype asked him about his comments to USA Today. If Marquez is able to use his bulk to muscle Pacquiao on the inside, it won't be a joking matter.
It is a bad idea for either fighter to drastically alter any of their training methods at this stage of their careers. Both have had tremendous success, and while it does take more time and effort to stay sharp as an older fighter, this doesn't seem like a positive for Marquez.
Pacquiao already held the speed and quickness advantage; this seems destined to make the gap wider.
Like so many things in the fight game, we won't know the truth until the bell rings.
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