Pacquiao v. Marquez III: Third Time the Charm for Marquez?
With his warm personality and humble demeanor, Manny Pacquiao does not come across as a man who has made a career out of hurting people.
He's rarely without a smile, giggles like a child, and performs love songs after his title fights. He's so nice you'd let him babysit your kids.
Yet, as harmless as he appears, there are times when the killer in Manny Pacquiao pushes through this jolly persona.
We don't see it often. We didn't get to see it in his last two fights against Shane Mosley and Antonio Margarito.
But it's there. That moment when the scent of blood is too strong for Pacquiao to resist, and he leaves behind his political side and embraces his killer instinct.
The good news for us fight fans?
There's no one who brings out that instinct in Pacquiao more than his greatest rival Juan Manuel Marquez.
The two have fought an almost perfectly even 24 rounds against each other.
Their first fight was so close it received a draw from the judges. The second fight, given the name "Unfinished Business", ended in a split-decision victory for Pacquiao.
What will the third fight of this trilogy different?
Does Marquez stand a chance?
Most people are calling for a blowout.
One thing worth noting, however, is the difference in attitude between Marquez and the last 4 fights of Manny's career, (all of which, I might add have been blowouts or KO's).
Margarito, Mosley, Clottey, even Cotto--not one of these opponents had a fighter's desire to hurt the Filipino slugger.
Yes, each of these fighters wanted to win in the spirit of competition, but Marquez possesses a much different type of competitive fire.
He is jealous of Pacquiao's fame.
Marquez believes he won the first two fights. In his mind, he would be in Manny's position had the judges simply given him the small differential that Manny received.
In truth, both fights could have reasonably gone either way.
For this same reason, Pacquiao is also hungry to satisfy all doubters. HBO's 24/7 crew even caught Manny growling "I WANT THIS FIGHT!"
This fight will be fought at a weight in which Pacquiao has had much more success than Marquez.
Marquez's only fight at a higher weight was his disastrous performance against Floyd Mayweather a few years ago.
It would be a mistake to discount Marquez's chances based solely on this poor performance, however.
Marquez has a style fit to calm the tornado that is Pacquiao's offensive arsenal. He's a fantastic counter-puncher, that has not changed. There is a reason why he has remained at the top of the Pound-4-Pound rankings throughout the duration of his career.
BOOTS BEST PREDICTION: PACQUIAO TKO 11 or 12. Pacquiao, however, is a different fighter now than he was in the first two installments of this trilogy. He handles heavier weight too well and will prove too strong despite a valiant effort by Marquez.
Hopefully, Mayweather's next!
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