By Chris Cella
This Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, when Juan “Dinamita” Manuel Marquez and Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao go to war in the 4th installment of their epic series, one thing seems evident—Marquez will not emerge from the ring victoriously unless he does the seemingly impossible in knocking out Pacquiao.
In their three previous fights, Marquez (54-6-1, 39 KO) can claim that he outworked Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KO) and should have been awarded the “W” in each outing; the first fight resulted in a draw, with the two succeeding bouts seeing Pac Man declared the winner.
Going into this fight Saturday night Marquez has to be wondering what more he needs to do within the ring during the 12-round fight to finally have his hand raised: the answer is quite simple … finish Manny Pacquiao.
“I did say I needed a knockout the last fight but everybody knows that Manny Pacquiao is a strong fighter,” said Marquez. “It is difficult, but not impossible to knock him out. For this fight I prepare for everything. I trained to win and to win clearly.”
It is clear that there is a bad taste in the mouth of Marquez, especially following their bout last year where he felt he clearly was the victor.
“The last fight I thought I won clearly,” said Marquez. “Everyone thought I won the fight. The only people that didn’t think I won the fight were the judges.”
Although it is not impossible to knockout Manny Pacquiao, it will by far be a tough task for Marquez. Not since 1999 has Pac Man lost a fight by way of KO, and at the time he was a different fighter—fighting at 112 pounds and still far from fully developed.
But Marquez has seen that despite his best efforts through the first 36 rounds of their epic battles, he has come up short on the judges’ scorecards.
“I am going to be aggressive in this fight,” Marquez continued. “I won’t go for the knockout right away but if I get the opportunity for the knockout I will go for one. I will fight with intelligence and I will also be a counter-puncher. And you need to fight intelligently to get a knockout. To win the fight clearly, I need to get a knockout.”
It is a bold statement, but most likely a true one. The question is: Does Marquez has what it takes to stop the multi-divisional champion?
This is the first time the two fighters are not competing for a world title belt; they are both at the points in their careers where they have already solidified their place in the Hall of Fame, and don’t have much left to prove.
Expect both warriors to take a bit more risks, as being able to stop the other fighter would be a perfect ending to one of the sport’s best rivalries.
But unless Juan Manuel Marquez is the only man standing at the conclusion of the fight, it is likely that Manny Pacquiao’s hand will be raised for a third consecutive time.