Thursday, November 10, 2011

Third Time Could Be A Great Time For Marquez

By Rich Mancuso

The third fight for Juan Manuel Marquez Saturday night against Manny Pacquiao is what he has been looking for. Then it will be said if the third time will be a great time for the three-division champion from Mexico City. And though the odds makers have Pacquiao as the overwhelming favorite, don’t tell Marquez because he firmly believes that he will have his hand raised.

He said last week, “I would rather fight Pacquiao three or four more times than fight Mayweather.” When fighting at 142, Marquez lost a 12-round decision to Floyd Maywether Jr, in September of 2009. Ever since he has had his eyes on Pacquiao again and Top Rank promoter Bob Arum gave him what he wanted.

And no matter what Marquez does Saturday night on HBO Pay-Per-View, from the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, he already has achieved boxing history as one of five Mexicans to have won world titles in three different weight divisions. Erick Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera, Julio Cesar Chavez and Fernando Montiel are the others.

But if the results go to Marquez in this trilogy, well he cements himself more into boxing history. More so because he would have defeated Pacquiao, though he will have to be the harder puncher and counter a right from the champion that from all reports has been perfected.

To that right of Pacquiao, Marquez has said, “It is going to be tough. But you have to know when to do it and how to do it,” referring of course to this being a different strategy for the third fight. And at 38-years of age, Marquez is aware that this is his defining moment and more of an important fight than the previous two. Marquez firmly believes he prevailed in the previous fights with Pacquiao, but the draw and decision did not go his way.

Marquez has always had the power and the speed, and so does Pacquiao, so he needs to be as quick and powerful. In his fight with Michael Katsidis in November of 2010, a TKO win in the ninth round, he was dropped in the round three. He came right back and went to work. Many would say that was a defining moment, even better than the fights with Pacquiao. But Marquez will dispute that because he always believes the fights with Pacquiao should have seen a different result. Now a few days before the fight he thought would never happen, Marquez has been reserved, quiet, and ready for the showdown.

Realizing he is the underdog, after all it is Pacquiao, and that is not unusual, Marquez is not concerned. Media have questioned his attitude about not being the favorite despite the opposing view of being the favorite in Mexico. “It has nothing to do with my fight,” he says. “I have to go into the fight with the mentality that I have to win each round and if the opportunity comes I go with the knockout. I am not going to hesitate if the opportunity is there.”

Marquez has won five of his last six fights which include knockout wins over Joel Casamayor. Juan Diaz and Katsidis, the last two in World Boxing Association and World Boxing Association lightweight championship fights. That first fight with Pacquiao in May 2004 was his first mega fight. He got knocked down three times, was hurt in the first round and recovered. The consensus was he out boxed Pacquiao and got the decision.

That fight may have been his defining moment in the 18-year career that has made him as popular as Chavez or any of the boxing champions from Mexico. However, there will be nothing more defining than a win over Pacquiao with hopes this will be a trilogy that can be remembered.

Arum could have gone another route when determining the next opponent for Pacquiao, with knowledge that Floyd Mayweather has another agenda, and that wasn’t Pacquiao. So what was Arum thinking when Marquez was offered this opportunity? The trilogy was one a factor, Marquez, deserved to get another shot at Pacquiao, and this does present a challenge for his champion.

“He may be 38-years old, but in his last fights he had shown he has many things left in his professional boxing career by defeating Juan Diaz and Michael Katsidis,” he said. “He is a dangerous opponent, but I am confident Manny’s speed and confidence is enough to defeat Marquez in their third fight.”

Marquez has the popularity and drawing power to make this another successful pay-per-view venture for Pacquiao. This isn’t Pacquiao and Shane Mosley of this past May 7th. The trilogy adds to the drama, as does the opportunity that Marquez could pull off an upset that would further derail a possible Mayweather-Pacquiao showdown. But Mayweather-Pacquiao is a fight boxing fans will still discuss and contemplate if it will ever take place.

Juan Manuel Marquez is again in the spotlight, and not Mayweather. And for Manny Pacquiao it will not be an easy task, even if the prognosticators are looking for an early stoppage by Pacquiao. The style of Pacquiao is perfect for Marquez because he is a counter puncher, and that has to be taken into consideration.

Marquez this third time is in the spotlight, and to that he says, “Is is a fight for the fans, they deserve it.” Yeah, Marquez is being modest because this third fight with Pacquiao is something he deserved.

And in boxing getting what you deserve does not always come that easy.

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