Pacquiao v Marquez: Part III could be the most one-sided yet
Manny Pacquiao will be doing this again at the end of the fight
"I thought the [3.5] about Marquez was an insult three years ago and [10.5] seems ridiculous for a fighter of his ability and stature, but I wouldn’t back him to win this if you loaned me the money. Pacquiao is simply too fast, too good and these days too strong for Marquez."
These two great fighters have thrilled us twice before but a fading Marquez is going to find Pac Man far too strong in fight no.3, says Alex Steedman
Rocky 3 was a 1980s affront to its predecessors while the third Godfather movie was just plain horrible. But where Hollywood regularly disappoints with its various nightmares on Third Street, Boxing has the ability to thrill us with sequel and trilogy. This weekend the third and probably final instalment of the Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez story threatens to bust the block.
The pair first met as featherweights back in 2004 and fought out the most spectacular draw you can imagine. Champion Marquez was down three times in the opening round and barely survived the early moments before blazing back with a display of raw courage and steel. Pacquiao carried the threat but Marquez controlled much of the later action and though one judge mistakenly failed to award Pacquiao an extra opening round point, honours were even at the end. The argument as to who was best though had only just begun.
It was surprising in many ways that it took them four more years to get it on again but when they finally did, this time up at super featherweight, Marquez found himself on the canvass as early as the third round. Once again the action was spirited, close and debateable. I backed Marquez that night and felt aggrieved that his technique, passion and discipline went unrewarded when the decision was announced but there was little doubt that it took everything Marquez had to fight on nearly even terms. In both fights Pacquiao looked the puncher and that is what punters should recall when they consider a bet on take three.
There is a theory that Marquez simply has the style to give Pacquiao problems as well as the natural talent to make it happen. Certainly Marquez is skilful, brave and one of the most effective championship fighters to hail from Mexico which is saying something, but there have been signs that time is calling in a gathering voice. The stats will tell you that only the outstanding Floyd Mayweather Jr has bettered Marquez since Pacquiao did so in 2008 but in those six fights since Marquez has been troubled, decked and generally bothered like at no other stage of his career. All the while, Pac Man has simply improved beyond compare.
In the two bouts before Mayweather in late 2009 Marquez struggled with southpaw Joel Casamayor before his strength and class brought about an 11th round stoppage while there were five rounds of hellish difficulty for Marquez before he overcame Juan Diaz next time.
The Mexican has been on the seat of his pants in two of his last four fights which ought to sit uncomfortably alongside the four times Pacquiao has decked him and significantly, Marquez has looked sluggish in both forays above 135lbs (lightweight). To my eye, Marquez is there for the taking and, at 144lbs, Pac Man will be focused on finishing the job Mayweather started.
The market is certainly alive to the landscape change in the lives of Pacquiao ([1.12]) and Marquez ([10.5]), prices that reflect Pacquiao's transcendence of the sport in recent years. I thought the [3.5] about Marquez was an insult three years ago and [10.5] seems ridiculous for a fighter of his ability and stature, but I wouldn't back him to win this if you loaned me the money. Pacquiao is simply too fast, too good and these days too strong for Marquez. The bottom line is this: Pacquiao is a completely different animal to the one Marquez barely survived twice previously.
It is true that Pacquiao has gone the distance ([2.74] DEC/TD) in all three fights since his last-gasp stoppage of Miguel Cotto in November 2009 but Clottey didn't want to fight, the referee should have protected the insanely brave Margarito while empathy clouded Pacquiao's fighting spirit against the thoroughly decent Shane Mosley in May. Pacquiao went easy in both of those recent wins but he has been fired up by suggestions of previous 'robbery' by Marquez and there is a feeling emanating from the camp that he wants to settle this argument properly. Only an emphatic win, probably a knockout ([1.81] KO/TKO/TD) would satisfy that desire. Combine that intent with Pacquiao's ferocious punching power in the face of dwindling Marquez resistance and you have the recipe for a spectacular.
For once promoters Top Rank have done away with the attention grabbing headlines; this is a fight that sells itself. This isn't 'judgement day' or 'the last word' but it could just be that Marquez will finally be silenced by the lamb that is a wolf in disguise.
Pacquiao to win KO/TKO/DQ 3pts back (0-10) @ [1.81]
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