With nothing but a piece of boxing immortality and bragging rights at stake, Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez will again square off in what many believe will be another close and controversial fourth encounter.
The two are like magnets.
Their styles are the complete opposite of each other yet they attract like opposite poles of the magnet. Neither one can claim with absolute certainty that one is more superior to the other. Nor one owns a clear and definitive victory over the other. They can’t prove their claim even after 36 action-packed rounds. These are reasons to believe when the bell rings at the end of their fight today in Las Vegas neither issue will be resolved.
Unless one dominates the other or the fight ends in a knockout, controversy will forever haunt the two arch ring enemies whose rivalry has already spanned more than eight years.
Pacquiao holds the edge over Marquez, at least officially.
He is the more powerful puncher and the more aggressive fighter – a throwback to the golden days of boxing who brings excitement into the ring.
Marquez is the master counterpuncher whose five ring losses belies his ability to keep opponents off the track. He has never been stopped in his career.
Something however tells me that this one will end ingloriously for one of these fine gentlemen of the squared ring.
Both need a definitive win for their own selfish reasons.
Pacquiao has always enjoyed being the prohibitive favorite in each of his first three fights with Marquez.
Wise money says he still is.
But that is changing as the fight draws near.
The odds could either even up at fight time or in the parlance of the cockfight aficionado that Pacquiao was (or is), basi makontra-barata, the odds could change in favor of Marquez.
In which case, this will favor the superstitious Pacquiao who incredibly performs well when he is the underdog. Being the fight underdog will perhaps break the string of recent sub-par performances from Pacquiao in relation to his pre-Shane Mosley fights.
Team Pacquiao has vowed to reinvent Manny as the whirlwind from the Pacific who takes his opponents by the storm. His team has been motivating him to outdo himself and finally put closure to this rivalry.
Only Pacquiao however knows how to dig deep from the bowels of his soul and give boxing fans what they’ve come for into the fight.
Late and unsolicited as it is, here is my 50 cents worth of advice for Manny.
Avoid the jab, jab, left straight pattern. Marquez knows it too well. These were the combinations that caught him by surprise in their first fight. There will no longer be surprises if Pacquiao employs the same tactic.
Leave behind the forward-backward, in-and-out strategy. Marquez has wised up to them and will be waiting for Pacquiao in ambush.
Stop counterpunching against a counterpuncher.
I would love to see Pacquiao throw the left leads and circle towards the left of Marquez to keep the Mexican off balance the way he run rings around Oscar de la Hoya and Miguel Angel Cotto.
I would love to see him not force the issue in the opening rounds and not get frustrated when he can’t get Marquez out.
I would love to see Pacquiao adjust to what Marquez brings to the table.
I would love to see Pacquiao frustrate Marquez before going for a late stoppage.
Of course everybody also loves to see Pacquiao stand over a fallen Marquez with both hands up in triumph – except Marquez and his horde of Mexican fans.
We would love to see Marquez finally concede defeat.
These are things we would love to see.
Let us see if this happens past noon today.