On Saturday night, Manny Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KO) and Juan Manuel Marquez (54-6-1, 39 KO) will meet for the fourth time in eight years. On paper, it looks like Pacquiao has dominated this fight series, but every fight that these two have produced has ended in controversy.
The safe pick for this fight is to go along with history and predict that Manny Pacquiao will be victorious. However, the circumstances surrounding this fight are a bit different, and the weigh-in results leave me doubting Manny Pacquiao's chances.
Before the weigh-in, the HBO series 24/7 covered the training camps of both Pacquiao and Marquez. Pacquiao's demeanor throughout the series seemed listless and bored. Trainer Freddie Roach tried to light a fire under Pacquiao by offering him money for every sparring partner he knocked down.
In the end, Pacquiao knocked down sparring partners four times but refused to accept Roach's money. This make it look like Pacquiao was not hungry but just going through the motions. A boxing champion should be able to knock down his sparring partner at will, but he doesn't because he wants to get in quality rounds. This seemed like a publicity ploy to prove to people that Pacquiao does care about this fight.
I wasn't convinced.
On the other hand, Juan Manuel Marquez looked extremely motivated on 24/7. He had a longer training camp than Pacquiao and appeared to get in the best shape of his life. The weigh-in seemed to showcase a new and improved Marquez as well.
What will be the result of Saturday's fight?
HBO Sports broadcast the weigh-in yesterday, and the results on paper were deceiving. Pacquiao weighed in at 147 pounds, while Marquez weighed in at 143 pounds. Even though Marquez was the lighter fighter, he looked like the bigger man. This was apparent to HBO commentators Jim Lampley and Roy Jones Jr. Several times they pointed out Juan Manuel Marquez's improved physique.
Some think that Marquez looked too bulky, which could hurt his speed and flexibility as a boxer but I disagree. Marquez has never been physically imposing and will benefit from added strength. He has never been much of a volume puncher, so added punching power will assist his fighting style.
The weigh-in showed the end result of two boxers' fight camps. Marquez put in a lot more work than Pacquiao and appeared to be in better physical condition. Marquez looks like a fighter who can beat Pacquiao.
On Saturday night, Marquez will be on the right side of a split decision and will be triumphant. Marquez will prove to the world that hard work mixed with desire trumps natural talent.