Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez IV has the opportunity to be the epic conclusion to one of the best rivalries in recent boxing history.
Dinamita weighed in at 143 pounds and looked as lean and muscular as ever in preparation for what will effectively be his last big hurrah in the squared circle.
Pac-Man has everything riding on the outcome of this one after losing his tittle by split to decision to Timothy Bradley in his last bout.
Here is everything you need to know, and more, about this rivalry’s final showdown.
Where: MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas
When: Saturday, Dec. 8 at 9 p.m. ET
Watch: HBO Pay-Per-View (click here for ordering information)
Odds: Manny Pacquiao: -270 Juan Manuel Marquez, +210 (courtesy of Bovada)
Undercard (begins at 9 p.m. ET)
Super Featherweight Bout: Yuriorkis Gamboa vs. Michael Farenas
Lightweight Bout: Miguel Vazquez vs. Mercito Gesta
Featherweight Bout: Javier Fortuna vs. Patrick Hyland
Marquez’s Keys to Victory
Dinamita needs to continue to counter the quick and powerful punches of Pacquiao and turn that into offensive opportunities. Simply absorbing punches isn’t enough, though, if he wants to finally get the better of his rival.
If he can find a way to take advantage of Pacquiao’s aggressiveness and wear him down, he may be able to score enough points in the later rounds to come away with a decision victory. That's how he did in the first fight, after all.
Pacquiao’s Keys to Victory
Pacquiao must be aggressive and take the fight to Marquez.
Pac-Man has a major power advantage, but Marquez is very difficult to hit. The Filipino legend must harass his Mexican rival and keep the pressure on in order to score enough points to appease the scorekeepers.
Pacquiao has lost some of the power behind his punch, it seems, and will need to make up for it with aggressive and technically sound boxing.
What the Fighters Are Saying
Marquez has been hearing from people since last Nov. about how he was the winner despite the favorable decision for Pacquiao. He isn’t satisfied with those sentiments, according to ESPN’s Dan Rafael:
My motivation is that I want them to raise my hand in the ring. I don't want people to just say, 'You really beat him.' I want them to know that I beat him.
Pacquiao seems much more calm and is approaching this fight as business as usual.
“Right now my mind is focused on being more aggressive for this fight,” Pacquiao said, according to Thomas Gerbasi of BoxingScene.com. “If there is a chance in the ring during the fight, why not make the fight easy if I have the opportunity?”
What the Experts Are Saying
Promoters have had their say. Is it all hype, or do these two have another great fight left in them?
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, who has been involved with each of the four fights in this series, said Pacquiao is going to come out with a chip on his shoulder after losing a tough decision earlier in the year, according to Rafael:
And I know Manny Pacquiao, having experienced the fine judging [in Las Vegas] earlier in the year [in his highly controversial split decision loss to Timothy Bradley Jr. in June] is not going to want to leave it in the hands of the judges. So we're going to see a great, great fight.
Pacquiao wins by unanimous decision.
Pac-Man is 2-0-1 lifetime against Marquez, although the fights have all been close and come down to controversial decisions. For 36 rounds, neither of these two has been able to knockout the other and that shouldn’t change on Dec. 8.
Marquez’s age will likely come into a play as the fight wears on. The more punishment Pacquiao can deliver early, the better for the latter rounds. He’ll weather the early storm from Dinamita and win the mid-to-later rounds.
That’ll be enough for Pac-Man to convincingly walk away from this rivalry with the decisive win he’s been waiting for to finally put it to rest once and for all.