Marquez Brimming With Confidence

Juan Manuel MarquezBy Matthew Hurley: WBC super featherweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez believes that the three knockdowns he suffered in the opening round of his first fight with Manny Pacquiao are ample evidence as to why he will win their rematch on March 15th at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. Each time Pacquiao beat him to the canvas the Mexican warrior got up and fought back. After somehow getting out of that disastrous opening stanza he then went on to befuddle the Filipino star with an expert boxing display.

“He got me with three great punches,” Marquez said in a recent conference call with the media. “I went down three times. But I got up. I got up because of the great condition that I was in at that time. But also because I was defending two titles. Two titles that cost me a lot to win. I wasn’t letting them go in three minutes, just like that.”

At thirty-four Marquez is finally getting the kind of attention he’s felt he has always deserved. For years he toiled in the shadows of his countrymen Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera – a proverbial third wheel to their dynamic duo. But there were many who felt that he was the best of the three all along and had he only been able to get either of them in the ring during their respective primes he may well have beaten them. Instead he got Manny Pacquiao back in May of 2004. After those three trips to the canvas Marquez battled his way back and the fight ended in a controversial draw. Nevertheless the fighter known as ‘Dinamita’ had made his mark and an immediate rematch seemed to be the logical next step to defining his ring legacy.

Instead it took four years. In between he lost his belt on a controversial decision to Chris John in Indonesia for short money, rebounded and eventually got one of his Mexican rivals, Barrera, into the ring, beating him by unanimous decision. However, it has always been the rematch with Pacquiao that loomed ever larger in Marquez’s rearview mirror. So why did it take so long to become a reality?

“My promoter (Top Rank) never came through and never delivered,” he says. (They) were offering me less money, half of the money that TV was offering. And they were lying to me about the promotion. I decided not to do it because I knew that they were lying, and I just didn’t like it. We decided to go to Indonesia for a lot less money. But because of my pride, because of the person I am, I don’t like lies and I don’t like people who try to fool me. That’s why I didn’t take it at first, and now I’m taking it because I have a new promoter (Golden Boy Promotions) and they came through with everything – money and everything else that they had promised me.”

In the end Marquez feels that the timing of the rematch is as it should be. “This second fight is coming at the right time. I didn’t want to fight him sooner (because of the promotional problems) but everything is falling into place.”

In the months leading up to the Pacquiao rematch Marquez often expressed the sentiments of an embittered soul. So frustrated at the trajectory of his career was he that the normally taciturn fighter began calling out Pacquiao, insisting that he had beaten him once and he would do it again only more decisively. However, once Pacquiao had signed on the dotted line Marquez reverted back to what he has always been – the consummate professional. He locked himself away immediately and went into to training. Two weeks prior to the fight he’s already on weight and appears both supremely confident and at ease going into the biggest fight of his career.

“Manny Pacquiao has become a better fighter,” he admits. “We know his left hand is like a bullet, very powerful and very fast. He has become a better fighter and he has a great trainer. It is a big responsibility for me taking this fight. I know that I can beat Manny Paquiao and I want to come back home with my belt. It’s going to be a great fight.”

Marquez – Pacquiao II ‘Unfinished Business’ will be produced and distributed by HBO Pay-Per-View at a suggested retail price of $49.95. The broadcast will begin at 9 pm ET/6 pm PST.

Article posted on 07.03.2008

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