Manny Pacquiao might not be a top candidate for Fighter of the Year in 2011, but that can all change when he takes on Juan Manuel Marquez for the third time on Nov. 12.
In what should be the last meeting between the two rivals, Pacquiao will look to get his first decisive win over the former Mexican lightweight champion, which will rank among his best victories if he is able to do so.
In his 16-year career, the Filipino superstar has fought everywhere from 105 pounds to 145 pounds, and it's been almost nothing but victories. His current 14-fight win streak stretches more than six years, and that includes avenging his only loss in over a decade to Erik Morales.
Here's a look at the odds, predictions and expert picks for this Saturday.
Marquez will come into the fight as a huge underdog at +600.
As a comparison, Shane Mosley only came into his fight with Pacquiao as a 5-to-1 underdog in most places.
Pacquiao sits at around -900 and can even be found as low as -1000.
Timothy Bradley Jr. vs. Joel Casamayor: 12 rounds (For Bradley's WBO junior welterweight title)
Bradley comes into this fight with an undefeated record of 27-0 with 11 knockouts. Casamayor is 38-5-1 and is a former lightweight and former super featherweight champion.
Casamayor's only losses since 2004 were to Robert Guerrero and Juan Manuel Marquez, so he might offer up a much better challenge than expected. Still, he just turned 40, and hasn't been that active over the past two years.
Bradley should win a unanimous decision.
Mike Alvarado vs. Breidis Prescott: 10 rounds (junior welterweights)
Alvarado is 31-0 with 22 knockouts. Prescott comes into the fight with a 24-3 record, including his first-round KO win over Amir Khan.
Alvarado was last seen beating Gabriel Martinez, but he does have wins over Emmanuel Clottey and Cesar Bazan as well. It's going to be hard to break his confidence, as he is coming into this bout undefeated.
Prescott is a good test for the 31-year-old, but Alvarado will leave with a closely contested decision victory.
Luis Cruz vs. Juan Carlos Burgos: 10 rounds (super featherweight)
Cruz is undefeated at 19-0 with 15 knockouts. He will take a step up in competition against Juan Carlos Burgos, who is 27-1 with 19 knockouts in his career.
Like the other two undefeated boxers on the undercard, Cruz has a lot to fight for, and it's going to put a lot of added pressure onto him come fight night.
This is one fight on the card in which I don't lean toward the undefeated boxer.
When you look at who has improved more over the last four years, it's not hard to see that it's Pacquiao who has changed tremendously and in more ways than one.
He's better at using both hands and moving in all directions while increasing his weight and carrying his punching power into the heavier division.
Marquez is still much like the same fighter he was five years ago, and he might even be slowing down with age.
Will that be enough for Pacquiao to get the stoppage? I doubt it.
Marquez is still durable enough to recover from any knockdowns he may suffer, but there won't be any questions left this time around as to who is the better fighter.
Prediction: Pacquiao by unanimous decision.
Max Kellerman (HBO commentator):
"Pacquiao is one of the very greatest pressure fighters who has ever lived in the history of boxing, and Juan Manuel Marquez has been the overlooked fighter of this generation until very recently. These two guys have fought 24 rounds, and I'm not convinced that Pacquiao has beaten Marquez yet."
Harold Lederman (HBO ringside judge):
"Both guys are coming in with more determination, something that is driving them. They want to win this one. They feel the first two weren't close."
Freddie Roach (Pacquiao's trainer):
"Marquez really knows how to fight the southpaw stance, and when they fought before, Manny could only move in one direction. He was pretty much a one-handed fighter back then. Since then, we've developed both hands so they are equal. He moves in both directions now, and he's a lot bigger and stronger. I think he's a much better fighter now, and I think that will show in the fight.
"I think we're too big and too strong for him overall, and I think Manny will knock him out before the 12th round in this one."
Robert Guerrero (WBO lightweight champion):
"He (Pacquiao) brings a lot of speed, power and he can fight. He brings a lot to the table. Over the years, he's improved. He's not the same Manny Pacquiao that Marquez fought a couple years ago.
"Marquez is a very skilled fighter, a sharpshooter. He breaks guys down and picks them apart. I'm interested to see how he comes for this fight. He's not what he used to be anymore, but every old dog has that last fight, so this might be it.
"I give the edge to Manny Pacquiao. He's been on his game. He's been sharp. He has improved a lot, so it's going to be a good fight."
Kelly Pavlik (Former middleweight champion):
"Maybe five years ago, I see Marquez giving him a go, but Pacquiao now is just too dominant and Marquez has been through some wars.
"I see a middle round stoppage."
Bob Arum (CEO of Top Rank):
"It is going to be a great fight. It's really going to be a credit to boxing. These guys are going to go at it from the opening bell. I just can't wait to see the fight."
In a recent interview with FightHype.com, Floyd Mayweather Sr. predicted an easy win for Pacquiao.
"Marquez won't win this one," Mayweather said. "Marquez is gonna get his a** whooped. Marquez is gonna get the sh*t beat out of him."
"Freddie Roach knows that Lil' Floyd is the only fighter that can beat Pacquiao," he said.
Where: MGM Grand Garden Arena; Las Vegas, Nevada
When: Saturday, November 12 at 9 p.m. EST
Watch: HBO Pay-Per-View, DirecTV Channel 123 (SD) and 124 (HD)
Cost: $54.95 in SD, $64.95 in HD