By Vitali Shaposhnikov: On November 12th, both Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez are going into their trilogy closing fight with a personal agenda. Coming off of a draw in their first fight, both men threw bombs with bad intentions in their rematch bout.
When Pacquiao was announced the winner, an uncomfortable feeling settled in, a feeling of a possible drama-filled media frenzy coming around. The breakdown of those who saw Marquez winning the bout versus those who claimed Pacquiao wont he fight, was about even. Many boxing analysts saw their second fight as yet another draw.
Now, after years of waiting, Marquez gets a chance at redemption, while Pacquiao is given an opportunity to solidify himself as the conqueror of Juan Manuel Marquez.
It is common knowledge that both fighters are crowd pleasers when it comes to action and dedication to their craft. There is virtually no doubt that this fight will be fireworks of punches from bell to bell. We know how both of them fight, and what both of them are best at. Disadvantages and advantages of either man to their opponent are also evident to most boxing enthusiasts. Beside the physical and technical abilities of the fighters, what else can we take into consideration when trying to predict the outcome?
I think that strategy must be the next crucial part of the fight. For that, Manny Pacquiao has arguably the best current trainer Freddie Roach in his corner, while Juan Manuel Marquez is working with his long time legendary and extensively experienced Mexican coach Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Beristain. Both trainers are world known in the boxing community, and both will undoubtedly be ranked in the top boxing trainers of all time.
Both trainers are working hard to come up with an optimal game plan for November 12. Beristain respects Manny and his attributes, mentioning during the HBO’s 24/7 Pacquiao vs. Maruqez Episode 1, that Pacquiao has come a long way, greatly improving over time. Having said that, Berstain thinks that it is precisely Pacquiao’s improvement that will give Marquez the advantage: “We’re really glad because we are going up against a fighter whose punches are well thrown. It’s easier than taking on a wildcat who might make some stranger move at any time,” said Beristain. While expecting his fighter to come out victorious, Nacho knows that the victory will not come easy, and that his pupil is in for a long and painful night.
I would imagine that Marquez has a respectively higher ring I.Q. than Pacquiao, thus would be able to strategize and adjust much better than his Filipino opponent, as was evident in both of their previous fights. In essence, Beristian has a good point there, and I think outsmarting Pacquiao should not be a very difficult task in the ring.
Pacquiao’s team is not as respectful towards Marquez, with Freddie Roach claiming that the fight would not last more than two rounds, whilst Alex Ariza expects the fight to be over in three. It seems that Manny Pacquiao himself is the only one who has shown some respect towards Marquez, stating that he is not sure whether it is going to be a knockout despite the fact that they have studied a lot for this fight.
Clearly Pacquiao is a faster and stronger fighter of the two. For him, avoiding counter-shots should be the main goal; everything else is already set in place. Will Roach advise Manny to press the action or to be careful and take his time? Both seem like a good idea to me, so it is interesting to see what kind of Manny Pacquiao shows up in the ring on fight night.
In closing, I think that there is more work to be done in camp Pacquiao than camp Marquez. Juan will come out the way he usually does, smart and careful. Coming so close to beating Pacquiao before, there is little that needs to be changed in his fighting style in my opinion. For Pacquiao, it would be a shame if he, with his obvious advantages over Marquez, is unable to knock him out.