We’re just hours away from Manny Pacquiao’s return to the ring for a third fight against his nemesis, Juan Manuel Marquez. Even though many people will argue Marquez won both of their previous bouts, you would have a hard time finding anyone who honestly believes he even has a shot in their third match tonight.
Since their second meeting in 2008, Pacquiao has improved in nearly every aspect of his boxing ability. He’s stronger, smarter and has dominated fighters considered to be much better than his opponent. While Marquez may still have a huge heart and a warrior mentality, he has only regressed as a boxer.
Continue reading for my round-by-round predictions.
SPOILER ALERT: I don’t see this fight ending anything like their previous two bouts.
Both fighters touch gloves in the center of the ring and get ready to begin their third fight. Pacquiao comes out aggressive while Marquez seems to be a little shocked at Pacman’s improved power and speed. One has to wonder if Pacquiao has really improved that much or if Dinamita’s reflexes have severely declined throughout the years.
Marquez seems overwhelmed and takes a knee after Manny lands a vicious body punch with a little more than one minute left to go in the first. He gets up and survives the round, but has a worried look on his face as he takes a seat on his stool.
Pacquiao dominates the round, 10-8.
Marquez is taking a much more defensive approach to start the round. Pacquiao seems well aware of his opponent’s plan and realizes there’s no need to expend too much energy in the early rounds. Marquez is being cautious with his punches but hits Manny with a couple nice body shots. Pacquiao seems unfazed and hits Marques with a beautiful liver shot of his own.
Compared to the fireworks in round one, this round is a bit of a snoozer.
The round could go either way, but I’m giving it to Pacquiao based on being the clear aggressor.
Pacquiao comes out looking like a man on a mission. Marquez comes out looking like a man who has just finished running a marathon. It’s odd, but he already seems exhausted even though it’s only Round 3. Pacquiao realizes his opponent is probably ready to go and forces the action. He catches Marquez on the ropes and smothers his opponent with hard blows. Dinamita is in pain, but he has too much heart for his own good. He’s trying to fight back, but just doesn’t have the reflexes to deal with Pacquiao at this stage in his career.
Miraculously, Marquez survives his Round 3 punishment without tasting the canvas.
Nacho Bernstein looks concerned as he lets his fighter come out for Round 4. Between rounds, he seemed like he wanted to throw the towel in, but Marquez convinced him not to.
Pacquiao comes out aggressive, but still saving his energy because he knows Marquez has no quit in him. Unfortunately, tonight is not his night. Pacquiao jabs twice and catches Marquez with a beautiful right hook to the jaw. Marquez goes down hard. He gets up as the count nears 10 and the ref lets the fight continue. Pacquiao jumps on Marquez and gets him on the ropes. Marquez finds himself in serious danger. After Pacquiao lands a left hook flush to the chin, the ref jumps in and stops the fight.
Pacquiao wins the trilogy by total knockout in Round 4.
In his prime Marquez had the perfect style to cause fits for Pacquiao. However, he walks into this third fight just a shell of his former self while Pacquiao is in the prime of his career and looks better than ever before.
"The Mexicutioner" lives on and finally puts Marquez in his rear-view mirror.
During the post-fight interview, Pacquiao is asked about a potential super-fight with Mayweather. In typical "Pacman" fashion, Manny says he’d love to fight "Money" Mayweather, but he’s ready to beat anybody Bob Arum puts in front of him.
Please feel free to share your own thoughts, opinions and predictions in a comment below!