Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez will fight for the fourth time on Saturday night. Even though Pac-Man owns two wins and a draw with his biggest rival, the margin of victory has been extremely small. The fights could have gone either way.
The oddsmakers believe that storyline will change in the fourth bout. Pacquiao has been installed as a heavy favorite at -280 with Marquez checking in at +220, according to Bovada.lv. The site lists a Pacquiao victory by decision as the most likely outcome.
Celebrities from around the boxing world have weighed in out what they expect to happen in the latest encounter between the rivals. Let's take a look at what direction they think the fight will go.
The American actor is a serious boxing fan and has a unique take on the fight. While most people are predicting another long, hard-fought battle between Pac-Man and Dinamita, Muldoon thinks the bout will end pretty quick, reports Kenai Andrews of Canada.com.
The Pac-Man will knock him out in the 4th round. I think he is going to go all out; he doesn’t want another 12-round war. My prediction based totally on a feeling, not anything to do with brain matter. I love Marquez as old-school textbook boxer, but before Pac burns out, I want to see him fight [Floyd] Mayweather. If he knocks out Marquez–which would not be easy–the fans will demand Pacman and Mayweather.
Pacquiao's camp is hoping Muldoon is spot on. They know a knockout is the only way to leave no doubt that Pac-Man is the better fighter after three consecutive close bouts. It would be a surprise if it happens, however, given Marquez's defensive ability.
Rios, an undefeated light welterweight who most recently knocked off Mike Alvarado in October, talked with the Boxing Channel about the fight. Along with his prediction, he discussed the possibility of fighting the winner of Saturday's matchup.
Rios has never fought an opponent on the level of Pacquiao or Marquez. It would be interesting to see how he would handle the added attention should one of those fights happen. As for his pick, he's right in line with the oddsmakers in thinking Pac-Man will take it by decision.
While Pacquiao is clearly the popular pick, not everyone is picking him to win. Rafael, the high-profile boxing analyst for ESPN.com, expects another fight similar to the first three. More importantly, he thinks that gives Marquez the edge.
So based on my theory that we're going to see another tight fight, I think it's a law-of-averages thing. Eventually, Marquez is going to get the nod, whether he deserves it or not.
The judges are human. They know the history of this rivalry. So if there's a close round, which we all expect there to be plenty of, it isn't unreasonable to assume a judge might give Marquez the benefit of the doubt this time. That doesn't mean they're doing anything inappropriate. It's just human nature.
It's an interesting theory, and it might actually hold some water. Marquez doesn't really deserve the 0-2-1 record he has against Pac-Man because all the fights were so close. The judges could very well break his way if another close battle ensues.
That said, given the outrage after Pacquiao's controversial loss to Timothy Bradley in his last fight, the judges are going to be under incredible scrutiny on Saturday. Marquez will have to earn the victory, even if it's close. They won't hand it to him.