Pacquiao’s Camp Confident Of Victory

Matthew Hurley: When Manny Pacquiao, 45-3-2 with 35 KOs and Juan Manuel Marquez, 48-3-1 with 35 KOs first met back in May of 2004 for the WBC and IBF featherweight titles the ‘Pac Man’ exploded out of his corner in the first round, depositing his rival on the canvas three times. Somehow Marquez steadied himself, regrouped and proceeded to control most of the rest of the bout with his boxing skills. When the final bell rang Marquez had managed to win enough rounds to salvage a draw and set up, what was a hoped for immediate rematch. Instead, fight fans would have to wait nearly four years for two of the very best boxing has to offer to step back in the ring together again..

Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach believes that had his charge mixed up his attack in the first fight rather than pot-shoting Marquez with one power punch at a time he would have stopped him. With an intensive training camp at Roach’s Wild Card Gym in California entering it’s final stages the trainer is confident that if Pacquiao manages to break through Marquez’s defense he will stop the current WBC super featherweight champion.

“I think he (Pacquiao) is much bigger and stronger now,” he told “I think he’s a ninety percent better fighter. He’s smarter, more experienced. He sets things up (better) and I think overall he’s a much better fighter than the first time they fought.”

Pacquiao last fought back in October, winning a unanimous decision over Marco Antonio Barrera. The victory added to his reputation as the ‘Mexican Killer’, having previously won two out of three bouts against Mexican icon Erik Morales. For his part Marquez vows not to be added to that list. In fact he believes he has already beaten Pacquiao once and that he will do it again in their March 15th rematch.

Roach and promoter Bob Arum have also decided that this will be Pacquiao’s final fight at super featherweight. Both have said that the Filipino star will fight three times this year, the first of which is scheduled for June 28th in Macao S.A.R., China. His opponent looks to be WBC lightweight champion David Diaz.

Diaz, 33-1-1 with 17 KOs will fight on the under card of Pacquiao – Marquez in a ten round non-title fight against Ramon Montano, 14-3-2.

“I’m sure Montano is preparing for the fight of his life,” Diaz told ESPN. “Bottom line is I know I must beat Montano to get a shot at Pacquiao.”

As for what he thinks of the streaking Pacquiao, Diaz admits that he’s very impressed. “He’s been on quite a run. If he beats Marquez, maybe he’s the best fighter in boxing.”

Paquiao – Marquez II will be broadcast on HBO Pay-Per-View starting at 9 pm Eastern Standard Time.

Article posted on 01.03.2008

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