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Pacquiao-Marquez III: Another Measure of Pacquiao’s Improvement

(Photo © Chris Farina / Top Rank)
(Photo © Chris Farina / Top Rank)


Over the past four years, fans have seen Manny Pacquiao crush names from Oscar De La Hoya to Shane Mosley with even better quality opponents in between. Since 2008, the pound-for-pound king has been on a tear. In his way is another opponent he knows all too well and has already faced twice since 2004, longtime rival Juan Manuel Marquez. The rubber match, however, could be very different from their first two.
 
Stylistically, Marquez has given Manny Pacquiao fits. In their first two meetings, there has been no clear winner, often open to the debate of the fans. Marquez’s timing kept up with Pacquiao’s pace while Pacquiao’s aggression posed problems for Marquez. The two fights left fans wanting a third clash and as fight night approaches, they are finally getting it…albeit at the wrong time.
 
Pacquiao, a full-fledged welterweight, has drastically improved in the past few years. His use of his right hand and improved footwork have both developed, allowing Pacquiao to outwork bigger men while keeping his speed.

Marquez, still the recognized lightweight champion, appears to be on the decline. While he is still regarded as one of the best fighters in the world, Marquez got hit more than normally used to against wild slugger Michael Katsidis. In addition, he was thoroughly outworked by Floyd Mayweather at his only fight at 147 pounds, the weight in which Saturday night’s fight will be contested (OK, so it’s a catchweight of 144. That’s still in the welterweight category).
 
Weight difference or not, Marquez’s main advantage is that he figured out Pacquiao twice. Still, Pacquiao must retain the style he has been accustomed to, fighting at a higher weight. The fighting congressman can’t be sucked into fighting Marquez’s fight as he has in their previous contests.
 
Pacquiao has fought at a much more controlled pace since his 2008 split decision rematch win over Marquez. Darting in and out and landing punches from various angles, Pacquiao’s style has been a nightmare for his opponents.
 
Of Pacquiao’s previous opponents, Miguel Cotto has posed the most trouble. In the first four rounds of their welterweight title bout, Cotto kept up with Pacquiao’s movement and fought at an even pace until he wore down from Pacquiao’s punches.
 
Can Marquez figure out his rival and not get worn down like the others? His jab has thrown off Pacquiao, not to mention successfully countering him. For all the progress Pacquiao has made in the last three years, Marquez has the opportunity to unravel all of that.
 
Many see this fight as a blowout and rightfully so but perhaps the final piece of evidence that Pacquiao is a completely different fighter at welterweight is how effective he can be against Marquez.
 
Random Thoughts
Reserving the MGM…
I don’t see the big deal about what caused Bob Arum’s reaction over Mayweather reserving a date of May 5th, putting a hold on the MGM Grand for his next fight. For those not aware, Arum told our own Steve Kim that the fight was further away because they weren’t seriously negotiating and reserving a date means nothing. (Read the story here: http://www.maxboxing.com/news/other-boxing-news/pacquiao-mayweather-dont-count-on-it)
 
While Arum makes a very valid point on how Mayweather’s camp should have called Top Rank to inform them they are interested in negotiating for a fight in May, putting a hold on a date and venue is nothing to rant about. Many times in the past, Arum has targeted dates for Pacquiao’s next appearance in the ring before Pacquiao’s current fight was over with.
 
Main point, Mayweather’s move should not be a reason to not negotiate something and make the fight most people have been dying to see.
 
One more case for Pacquiao’s style…
 
I’m perfectly aware that Manny Pacquiao didn’t look his best in his last fight against Shane Mosley. However, this should not be a sign that Pacquiao’s prime is starting to diminish. Before his second fight against Marquez, Pacquiao also had a dominating yet lukewarm performance against Marco Antonio Barrera in their rematch.
 
Both Mosley and Barrera did not engage Pacquiao and the blame should be put on them. Pacquiao has shown that he is capable of coming back from a less-than-exciting performance and look great the next.
 
May 12, 2012…
If Mayweather decides to return on May 5th, HBO will likely return the week after the pay-per-view telecast with a “World Championship Boxing” or a “Boxing After Dark” event that re-airs the pay-per-view event. In the past few years, the live fight of the week has been lackluster.
 
This year, the fight following the Pacquiao-Marquez fight is Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. vs. Peter Manfredo. Good draw, bad mismatch. Chavez Jr.’s last appearance on HBO did a big rating and his fight against Manfredo will do well but will most likely not be competitive.
 
Mayweather’s fight vs. Shane Mosley had Paul Williams vs. Kermit Cintron as its follow-up fight. HBO had the right idea on getting Williams more exposure but what boxing fans were left with was a joke of a fight.
 
If Mayweather and Pacquiao gets made for May 5th, HBO has a big opportunity to add another great fight with its replay. No mismatches; give us something great like Saul Alvarez vs. James Kirkland (or Alfredo Angulo) or Juan Manuel Lopez vs. Nonito Donaire.
 
Alvarez-Chavez Jr…
 
Continuing on the thought of boxing having opportunities to establish something better for the sport, one of the better fights that can be made in 2012 is Saul Alvarez vs. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Instead of going the traditional PPV route, Alvarez-Chavez Jr. has the potential to bring boxing back to a primetime slot on a network like NBC, CBS or ABC.
 
Both fighters currently aren’t PPV draws but have proven that they can draw big ratings on “WCB”/“BAD” programs. The fight would generate a ton of money in Mexico but it is not guaranteed that the fight does a million-plus PPV buys. If FOX and the UFC can come to a deal where around 100 million dollars a year changes hands for numerous events, Top Rank and Golden Boy should at least entice offers to put this fight in prime time.
 
Also, both fighters are young and willing to trade with their opponents. The fight could create a slugfest and be close enough to where the fight demands a rematch. Then promoters would have their opportunity to get the rematch on PPV.
 
In the meantime for the first match, both fighters are young, charismatic and probably could draw big numbers in prime time if promoted correctly.
 
One can dream, right?
 
Thoughts, comments, or concerns? Matthew Paras can be reached at mparas1432@gmail.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/Mparas1432.
 
Please be sure to check out our new video featuring our own Steve Kim and videographer Brian Harty’s excellent coverage of Manny Pacquiao in preparation for his Saturday night showdown against Juan Manuel Marquez. You can find it right here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFab4rPytE0 and right here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTX2YsVNDfw



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