Pacquiao knocked out cold by Marquez!

December 9, 2012 in Boxing, Sport

Photo: Julie Jacobson/AP

What a fight, what a stunning KO! This was an outcome few people saw coming, but boy was it a glorious finale to a rivalry between two ultimate warriors. In their fourth and best fight, Juan Manuel Marquez KO’d Manny Pacquiao with a crushing right hand counter at full force that connected flush on the Filipino’s chin with a second left in the sixth round, sending Pacquiao crumpling to the canvas like a sack of potatoes. It was every bit as devastating as the Pacquiao punch that KO’d Ricky Hatton or the Sergio Martinez punch that KO’d Paul Williams. I’m not sure if there was a count but it didn’t matter because Pacquiao was out cold for several minutes afterwards, though fortunately he was eventually able to get up and congratulate his conqueror.

It was a remarkable action fight full of twists and turns. Pacquiao (who weighed in yesterday at the welter limit of 147 pounds) started out the aggressor and most probably took the first two rounds by landing more punches and more effective punches than Marquez (143 pounds). The lead left hand proved effective for Pacquiao while Marquez appeared willing to spend more time to figure things out, using body blows to try and slow his opponent down and set up power shots up top.

It turned out to be the right strategy for Marquez, as just when it appeared Pacquiao might start cruising to a points victory, Marquez turned the tables in the third round with a huge overhand right after a body feint than floored Pacquiao for the first time in their four fights. It was a demonstration of the kind of power that the “new” Marquez possessed at welterweight, and it showed that his muscles were not just for show.

Pacquiao got up and survived the round, and it seemed like Marquez might begin to overpower the Pac-man. But instead, Pacquiao was able to find his legs and gutted out a fourth round that could have gone either way.

In the fifth, Pacquiao grew even more aggressive and evened the tables with a straight left hand that struck Marquez on the chin, forcing the Mexican to land his glove on the floor. The knockdown was not a devastating one but it showed that Pacquiao still carried some sting in his punches. As expected, Marquez came back valiantly with some big blows of his own, until Pacquiao unleashed a punishing right hook that clearly hurt him. This time, it was Marquez that had to hang on until the end of the round, and to his credit he did so fighting out of the corners.

Things looked great for Pacquiao for most of the sixth round as he busted up Marquez’s face with more sharp punches, widening the gap on the Compubox scores (which Pacquiao dominated 94 at 37% to 52 to 21%). He appeared to be hurting his opponent and even prompted suggestions that he might finish Marquez off soon.

But I don’t think it was a lucky punch that turned out the lights for Pacquiao because Marquez had clearly been timing that right hand counter all night, and he just happened to land it perfectly. Pacquiao was getting confident and perhaps a little careless, and it was obvious he was trying to finish off the sixth round on a strong note. And so when Pacquiao lunged forward with a right hand with a second left in the round it played right into Marquez’s hands. The Mexican warrior craftily evaded the blow and launched a beautiful right hand that connected right on the button – from behind you could see the crushing force jolt Pacquiao’s cranium. He collapsed face first to the canvas and seconds later Marquez was celebrating on the corner post.

What a sensational, action packed fight. No matter who you were going for, you have to admire the skills and hearts of the two fighters.  It certainly lends credibility to the argument that Marquez is the better fighter and has been all along, or at least the suggestion that Marquez is Pacquiao’s kryptonite.

I’d prefer to see the two of them fight someone else now or retire. In the aftermath of the KO there were immediate rumblings about a fifth fight, but I think Marquez has nothing left to prove against Pacquiao. Yes, Pacquiao was winning the fight up to that point (leading 47-46 on all three scorecards and probably would have gotten the sixth round too had the fight not ended there) and had hurt Marquez, but that KO was a perfect ending to their rivalry — there could not have been a more definitive conclusion after so many close fights. If they keep fighting, when will it ever end?

This whole time boxing fans were thinking Floyd Mayweather Jr was Pacquiao’s fated rival but as it turned out Marquez held that role all along. I guess now we will never see Mayweather-Pacquiao, but at the same time I don’t think too many people care anymore after being jerked around for so many years. Pacquiao said immediately after the fight that he is not going to retire and is going to come back, but I think it’s a good time for him to hang up the gloves. No shame in going out on a punch like that from an opponent like Marquez. But on the other hand, if they fight again, I’m pretty sure I’ll be watching.

As for me, I was wrong again in my prediction. From now on I’m going to live like this guy.

Fight Prediction: Pacquiao-Marquez IV

December 7, 2012 in Boxing, Sport

The fourth fight between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez on Saturday night in Las Vegas is what it is. No one (other than the people making a lot of money from it) is “excited” about it. Sure, it’ll likely be a close, exciting fight, like the previous three times they met in the ring, but will it really “settle things once and for all” like the fighters and promotions claim? Wasn’t that what the third fight was supposed to do?

Pacquiao-Marquez is a strange rivalry. Trilogies usually have one guy winning and first fight, the other guy winning the second, and then a third fight to determine the ultimate victor. In this case, Pacquiao is officially undefeated against Marquez after three fights (going 2-0-1, although the first fight, a draw, would have gone Pacquiao’s way had one of the judges scored round 1 correctly and given Pacquiao a 10-6 round instead of a 10-7 round after he dropped Marquez three times), but many experts and fans believe Marquez won all three.

So what does this fourth fight achieve? It won’t change the results of the first three bouts. Maybe Pacquiao will knock Marquez out. Maybe Marquez will finally get the victory he deserves. Or perhaps, there will be another controversial decision. Then what? Are we going to see a fifth fight?

Even Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, has said it before: that Pacquiao and Marquez could fight each other a hundred times and it will be close and controversial every time. Should we believe anything different will happen this time?

Interestingly, when I looked around online for predictions, boxing experts and writers are predicting a close but uncontroversial Marquez decision. The reasoning is that after the outrage surrounding fight no. 3, which many felt Marquez won comfortably, the judges will be, consciously or subconsciously, influenced to favour Marquez in their scoring. These are, of course, the same people that predicted Pacquiao would steamroll Marquez and knock him out in their previous fight.

There are other factors too. Marquez is looking huge, buffed and cut, meaning he has transitioned to welterweight extremely well and appears to have added power without losing much speed. Pacquiao, on the other hand, hasn’t looked impressive since he beat Antonio Margarito more than two years ago (and hasn’t knocked out or even knocked down an opponent since Miguel Cotto a year before that). He’s obviously slowing down and appears to have lost the devastating form that took him to the very top of most pound-for-pound lists, they say. All other things being equal, the logical outcome is a Marquez points win.

The few that are backing Pacquiao insist he is a different fighter and will finally knock Marquez out. They say Pacquaio had leg cramps last fight (and that he won’t have them again this time), he was distracted (watching a Boston Celtics game before the fight) and his personal life was in complete disarray (his marriage was on the rocks and he was gambling, philandering and drinking).

I’m not sure I buy all of that because we never hear any of the negative stuff about Pacquiao until after his fight or just before his next fight to explain lacklustre performances. It just comes off like a poor excuse. And let’s not forget, Pacquiao supposedly turned his life around prior to his previous fight with Tim Bradley, and he lost that one (though to be fair, everyone apart from the judges thought he won, albeit not very impressively).

Pacquiao supporters also point to suggestions that Marquez, wary of the judges, will be going for a knockout himself and negate his biggest strength: counterpunching. That’s unlikely to me, because he’s a counterpuncher by nature. Marquez said it himself that he will be more aggressive but won’t be looking for the KO, though if the opportunity presents itself he would go for it.

What holds more water is the way Freddie Roach has been talking about Pacquiao. Freddie talks up Pacquiao’s conditioning and form before every fight, but this time he seems genuinely excited. He was eager to point out how Pacquiao has knocked down his sparring partners four times during the camp, which has not happened in a long time. That means a lot more to me than all that religious awakening stuff.

And I also haven’t forgotten that Marquez is 39 years old. Granted, he’s aged well and is no ordinary 39-year-old, but there is a chance his counterpunching reflexes and speed are just that little slower than last time.

So how do I see the fight panning out? Honestly, I don’t know. Conventional wisdom suggests another close fight, one that could go either way. Everyone is guessing that it will either be a clear(er) Marquez decision or a Pacquiao KO. Given that I’ve been wrong in just about all my boxing predictions ever, I thought I’d go out on a limb and guess something different from the mainstream. Accordingly, my prediction is that Pacquiao will shock everyone and win a clear cut decision. I don’t think he will knock Marquez out, but I do believe there could be knockdowns and there will be punishment.

Not again! Pacquiao-Marquez IV set for December 8

September 16, 2012 in Boxing, Sport

It’s decisions like these that make it so hard for me to keep following boxing. Manny Pacquiao, fresh off his ludicrous decision loss to Timothy Bradley, has decided to fight Mexican great Juan Manuel Marquez for the fourth time. The bout is scheduled for December 8 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and everyone involved will make lots of money.

In fact, it appears money was the driving factor for this bout. Floyd Mayweather Jr, the guy who represents the most dough, just got out of prison and has shown no interest in fighting this year, so the bout everyone wants to see is still out of the question. (And let’s face it, even if all the stars were aligned these two would probably still refuse to fight.)

Consequently, Pacquiao was presented with three options, all three of whom he has fought before. The apparent order of interest from Pacquiao was as follows:

1. Miguel Cotto, who refused to come down in weight and chose to fight Austin Trout in New York instead. Pacquiao dominated and knocked out Cotto in a catchweight fight in 2009 that was actually closer in the first few rounds than most people remember. It was also financially lucrative, with Pacquaio getting a reported $22 million to Cotto’s $12 million.

2. Juan Manuel Marquez, who has fought Pacquiao three times, with Pacquiao leading 2-0-1 (the two wins were a split and majority decision). Many people continue to insist that Marquez won all three. The last time they fought was in November last year, with Pacquiao escaping with a majority decision and Marquez storming off in disgust.

3. Timothy Bradley, who outpointed Pacquiao in a June fight Pacquiao clearly dominated, and even sparking a post-bout review into the iffy decision. Bradley continues to be thought of as a minor draw despite the victory.

Is this picture wrong to you? Shouldn’t the order of preference be the other way around? Shouldn’t Pacquiao be furious with the Bradley decision and want an immediate rematch so he could knock him out, regardless of how much money he would be making? And if Bradley’s not available, shouldn’t Marquez be more enticing than Cotto considering many people think Pacquiao lost to him three times already? And what’s the point of fighting Cotto again when he’s already knocked him out convincingly? And if you really wanted to fight him that bad, then why not fight at the higher weight rather than forcing Cotto to drop down in weight again?

As a Pacquiao fan for many years, this is a massively disappointing piece of news. I’m disappointed in him, personally. I’m sure even some of his most fervent fans feel the same.

Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s long-time trainer, made his objections known — he wanted Bradley. “Manny knew I would prefer Bradley,” he said. “I think the money was a huge factor. Bradley doesn’t bring the people Marquez does. But I would have rather had revenge for that bad decision in June.”

Roach also knows fighting Marquez for a fourth time represented an enormous risk because of the controversy surrounding their last bout. Chances are Pacquaio would start off down three rounds on the scorecards as the judges might feel like they need to right a past wrong, he said.

I agree. From a quality perspective, Pacquiao-Marquez IV is obviously higher than Pacquiao-Bradley II, but it’s a stupid move from a career perspective for Pacquiao. With dwindling skills and a political career to look after, he doesn’t have that many fights left. That loss to Bradley didn’t harm his career that much because everyone knew he won. But a legitimate loss to Marquez, which is highly likely by the way, will kill just about all interest in the Mayweather fight. Moreover, it will be an affirmation for the many people that believed Pacquiao has never been as good as Marquez and should have lost all four bouts.

Of course, nothing is a surprise anymore with Bob Arum running the show and whispering in Pacquiao’s ear. Arum is scum who only cares about how much money Pacquiao can make him and keep making him. We’ve all tried to rationalise some of Pacquiao’s questionable opponents in the past, but it’s gotten to a point where everything looks like an excuse now. There’s no excuse for this one. If he wanted to settle the score with Marquez, there is no reason why it couldn’t have come after avenging the loss to Bradley, or even after setting up the Mayweather fight (win or lose).

I have a feeling a few years from now, we’ll be looking back at Pacquiao’s career (and Mayweather’s, for that matter) and be saying, “He was so good, but it’s such a shame he tarnished his legacy with such stupid career choices.”

Pacquiao-Marquez III: Close, Controversial Pacquiao Win

November 13, 2011 in Boxing, Sport

Does this look like the face of a winner?

Seems like some things will never change.  Few people believed that the old adage ‘styles make fights’ would apply every single time, but once again it prevailed tonight.

Despite what many expected would be a brutal annihilation, Manny Pacquiao just won a close, controversial majority decision over arch rival Juan Manuel Marquez (114-114, 115-113, 116-112).

Plenty of people thought Marquez won the first two fights, in 2004 and 2008, and the same will be said for fight number three.  I’ve only watched the fight once, but I had it a 114-114 draw.  However, I cannot begrudge anyone for thinking this was a 115-114, 115-113 or 116-114 fight in Marquez’s favour.  In fact, when I heard the scores being announced, I had a feeling that perhaps an upset was written in the stars.

Honestly, it was that difficult to score.  Several boxing analysts on ESPN had it a draw.  Some had Pacquiao winning by one round.  Others said it was another robbery.  Certainly, from the boos that showered the ring immediately after the decision was announced and Marquez left the ring in disgust (in fact, objects were being showered too), it appears many ringsiders felt the same.  I was also just on the ESPN message board and the overwhelming sentiment is that Pacquiao should have lost.  Not sure if it is just the anti-Pacquiao or pro-Mayweather trolls but it is what it is.

I watched the fight via online streaming, and it was commentated by a British station which featured Pacquiao stablemate Amir Khan.  Interestingly, they had Marquez winning the fight, and winning it easily, and Khan even said before the decision was announced that he’d be open to fighting Marquez if Pacquiao loses.  I’d be very fascinated to see how the commentators from other stations called the fight (apparently Harold Lederman from HBO had it 116-112 for Pacquiao).

If you have watched the fight with the commentary on, I suggest watching it again without any commentary — because they tend to be very misleading.  Watch the fight without the views and opinions of others and decide for yourself.  Did Pacquiao earn the victory or was Marquez robbed (again)?

Fight analysis

Pacquiao weighed 143 and Marquez weighed142 at the weigh-in the day before.  Both were under the catch weight limit of 144 pounds.  Marquez looked huge, at least as big as Pacquiao, and in contrast with his fight against Mayweather, his midsection was much more taut.  Pacquiao, as usual, looked ripped and fantastic.

Unlike the previous two fights, this one was more technical and more of a chess match.  No knockdowns but still a brilliant and exciting fight from start to finish.

To be fair, Pacquiao did look a lot more cautious in the earlier rounds and he appeared utterly confused at times.  He simply didn’t know how to solve Marquez’s style.  He didn’t throw as many combinations as I thought he would, or perhaps it was Marquez’s counterpunching that discouraged him from doing so.

Marquez, to his credit, bulked up successfully this time and fought using a perfect game plan.  He stood his ground, throwing jabs and rapid combinations to unsettle Pacquaio, and when Pacquiao unloaded a shot Marquez simply took a step back to get out of range, and then immediately followed with a counter combination in return.  He also threw some hard body combos, especially earlier in the fight.

To the casual observer it might appear as though Marquez was the more successful fighter throughout, but Pacquiao, who was clearly the aggressor in the latter stages of the fight, did block a lot of the combos and landed a few hard shots of his own.

I gave the first round, a ‘feel-out’ round, to Pacquiao, who was more aggressive and landed the better shots.  From there, Marquez won most of the rounds up to the midway mark, prompting Freddie Roach to tell Pacquiao in between rounds that he was behind and had to pick it up.  Pacquiao listened to his trainer and increased his work rate, but Marquez still fought very efficiently.  Those second-half rounds became very hard to score, and even if most of them they went to Pacquiao they were still extremely close rounds.  I had the fight dead even at the end of round 10.  The last two rounds were practically a wash.  I had Pacquiao winning the 11th and Marquez the 12th, but they could have easily been the other way around (two of the three judges gave the last round to Pacquiao).

When the fight ended, Marquez raised an arm in victory, and Pacquiao retreated to his corner to pray.  Boxers in close fights always think they won, but upon seeing that scene I thought maybe Marquez did achieve the upset after all.  When the first score was announced, 114-114, I thought we were on our way to a majority draw.  I still thought it might end up a draw when they announced the second score, 115-113.  The third score, 116-112, raised an eyebrow.  The fight was too close to deserve that scoreline.

I think a draw would have been the right result, but I couldn’t fault judges for a 2-point swing in either direction.  Perhaps Pacquiao, with his reputation as the reigning champ and P4P king, had enough influence, subconscious or not, to pull the judges to rule in his favour.

Post-fight quotes

Marquez:

“This is the second robbery of the two that we had, and I think this was even more clear than the first.  We won with the clearer punches. The audience protested because they saw us win again. I thought I got robbed. It happens again and again. I don’t know what else I can do to win.”

“It’s hard when you’re fighting your rival and the three judges, too.”

Nacho Beristain (Marquez’s trainer):

“I’ve always confided in this commission here, but this has been a robbery in the utmost.”

Pacquiao:

“The fans of Marquez, of course, aren’t happy, but my fans are happy.  I clearly won the fight. He is a good fighter, but I do my best. It is very clear that I won the fight.”

“He was ready for my punches.  I thought I blocked a lot of his punches.”

Re Mayweather: “Anytime, anytime, I am a fighter. My job is to fight.”

“Let’s get it on,  Let’s make the fight happen and give the people a good fight.”

Freddie Roach (Pacquiao’s trainer):

“It was a very close fight. It could have gone either way.  I asked Manny to move to the right and he didn’t.”

Punch stats

Those suggesting a robbery might want to take a look at the punch stats.  Of course, they are not fully accurate and are open to interpretation, but according to Compubox Pacquiao landed 176/578 punches (30%), while Marquez landed 138/436 (32%).

Pacquiao also had the edge in power punches, 117/274 (43%) to 100/254 (39%).

Per round, Pacquiao averaged 14 of 49 punches, Marquez averaged 11 of 36.

Not to say that this is proof of a Pacquiao victory, because it is not, but it does add weight to the suggestion that this was a close fight that could have gone either way.

Where to from here?

Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s promoter (and Marquez’s promoter for this one fight) has suggested a fourth fight between the two in May to decide once and for all who is the better fighter.  I dunno.  I thought this fight would be it.  They could fight 100 times and the result might be the same every time.

I say let Pacquiao fight someone else (ah hem, MAYWEATHER — who must have loved the result and might finally be willing to take the fight now given how it turned out) and regardless of whether he wins or loses, and if Marquez is willing, let their fourth fight be the last of Pacquiao’s career and let him ride off into the sunset.

Mayweather recently announced through a spokesperson that his next fight is in May, and they alluded to the ‘little fella’ as his next opponent, which everyone assumes is Pacquiao.

As for the drug testing problems that have derailed two prior negotiations?  Both Pacquiao and Arum have said it is not a problem anymore.  Pacquiao is now willing to be subjected to Olympic style blood testing (ie random up to the date of the fight), and the only problem was that Mayweather allegedly had an issue with Pacquiao training overseas, as this would mean that two drug testing associations are required to carry out the tests (as the Philippines is out of the USADA’s jurisdiction).  But provided it is still Olympic style drug testing carried out by a credible testing body, it is hard to see this being the issue holding back potentially the most lucrative boxing match of all time.

So now we wait and see.  And hope.

PS: On paper, you may argue that Pacquiao has widened the gap.  The first fight was a draw, the second a split decision and now a majority decision…

Fight Prediction: Pacquiao-Marquez III

November 10, 2011 in Boxing, Sport

Man, time flies.

Just three days from now on the 12th of November 2011, pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao will take on his nemesis (no, not Floyd Mayweather Jr), Mexican warrior Juan Manuel Marquez for the third time at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

As most boxing aficionados know, Pacquiao and Marquez had engaged in two previous wars back in 2004 and 2008, resulting in a controversial draw (115-110, 110-115, 113-113) and a narrow, but equally controversial split decision for Pacquiao (115-112, 112-115, 114-113).  Officially, the history books currently read 1-1-0 in favour of Pacquiao, but in those who have watched the fights know that it could very well have been the other way around.

This third contest will determine once and for all who is the superior boxer, and if Pacquiao wins, pave the way for a Mayweather superfight next year (Floyd has apparently circled 5 May 2012 on his calendar as the date, but no one is holding their breath given the number of false alarms over the years).

There are several reasons why Pacquiao is the overwhelming favourite this time despite how close the first two fights were.

1. Weight

The first fight was at featherweight (126 pounds) and the second fight was at super featherweight (130 pounds).  This third fight is at a catch weight of 144 pounds.  It is well documented that Pacquiao struggled with his weight management at those lighter weights, and as we know, Pacquiao has fought around welterweight for 5 out of his last 6 bouts (Hatton being the exception at junior welterweight), and not only is he undefeated at this weight, he has demolished all those before him.  Pacquiao has grown into a fully-fledged welterweight and it appears 144 might be his optimum weight (as he had to take extra protein to get above that in other fights).

On the other hand, Marquez has been a lightweight (135 pounds) since the second Pacquiao fight and has only ventured above that once — when he fought Floyd Mayweather Jr in 2009.  In that fight, the contract weight was also a catch weight of 144 pounds (later stretched to 146 as Mayweather failed to make weight), and Marquez struggled to boost his weight up to 142 pounds, looking a little flabby around the middle on fight night.  And as we saw on that night, Marquez was not very good at this unfamiliar weight, though it could be argued that it was Mayweather’s brilliance that made him look that way.

If the videos on HBO’s 24/7 shows can be trusted, Marquez has bulked up a lot more successfully this time and has allegedly managed to preserve his speed.  This makes things more interesting, but in any case, there is no question that at 144 pounds, the cards are stacked firmly on Pacquiao’s side.

2. Age:

Boxers are getting older and older these days, and Marquez turned 38 in August.  On the other hand, Pacquiao does not turn 33 until December.  Five years is significant, but what is more concerning for Marquez is that few fighters don’t start to see significant declines past the age of 35-36.  Marquez might be the exception to the rule, as he has looked very good in almost all his recent fights, including a recent first round KO in July against Likar Ramos (who probably took a dive, but nonetheless…).

Marquez has a style that ages well, but at 32 Pacquiao is clearly in his prime, whereas Marquez may have slowed by half a step since the last time the two touched gloves.

3: Improvement:

Some people don’t believe fighters at an elite level can improve significantly, but many agree that Pacquiao is a much better fighter now than when he last fought Marquez.  Better defense, more patient, less reckless, better at following Freddie Roach’s game plans, effective punching power in both hands (instead of just the left).  And at this higher weight, he appears to be more durable, has more stamina, more power, and is arguably faster than he was before.

As for Marquez, because of his age and perhaps because he has been in Pacquiao’s shadow the last few years, not many are suggesting that he has improved much, if at all.

If we assume Pacquiao and Marquez were dead even back in 2008, it’s not surprising that most are expecting Pacquiao to walk through Marquez this time given his supposed improvement and Marquez’s supposed lack of improvement.

Prediction

There are plenty of boxing fans and experts out there who genuinely believe that Marquez won both fights.  You can judge for yourself at ESPN, which is currently showing both fights in their entirety (I and II).  You may think that, despite the 3 knockdowns in the first fight and the single knockdown in fight two, Marquez has Pacquiao’s number stylistically and won both fights, but you cannot possibly say that the fights were not close.

Fact is, even if you watch the second fight immediately after the first, you should be able to see a noticeable improvement in Pacquiao’s abilities.  That was more than 3.5 years ago.  Then watch some of his more recent fights at welterweight, and the contrast in his style and physical appearance will be astounding.

Remember, the first fight was before Pacquiao lost to Erik Morales (whom he annihilated in two subsequent rematches) and the second fight was before Pacquiao delivered beatdowns to De La Hoya, Hatton, Cotto, Margarito and Mosley.  As good as Marquez is, do you see him beating any of those guys at 144 pounds?

Like most pundits, I find it difficult to believe that Marquez will have anything more than a puncher’s chance this third time.  Pacquiao proved that he is taking the fight seriously on 24/7, and his training camp is reportedly one of his best ever, with insiders saying that he has taken it to another level.  Unlike the crappy Mosley fight, Pacquiao has plenty of motivation and he has said as much.  On the other hand, Marquez remains confident because he honestly thinks he beat Pacquiao twice already — but will this confidence backfire when he realises that the person he faces on Saturday night is not the same guy he faced before (ie the guy that kept throwing right jab-left cross combos all night long)?

I see Marquez fighting valiantly and tagging Pacquiao with a few good shots, and maybe even steal few rounds here and there.  He is an extremely intelligent and crafty fighter who has shown he can figure out other fighters’ styles during a fight and historically has given Pacquiao fits.  But I also see the explosive Pacquiao hitting Marquez with a fair deal of big blows, and the added power at 144 pounds will likely lead to several knockdowns and perhaps even a cut or two.

Marquez has never been knocked out and I respect him too much to expect it to happen this time.  That is why I am predicting a wide and uncontroversial unanimous decision for Pacquiao.  It will be closer than some experts predicted and unlike the recent string of disappointing big name fights, this one will be action-packed from start to finish and a contender for fight of the year.  In the end, Pacquiao will win more rounds and coupled with the knockdowns, it will be a comfortable but hard fought victory and a fitting end to a marvellous trilogy.

Can’t wait!

 
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