By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Pound for pound king Manny Pacquiao’s strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza believes WBO/WBA lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez will go for an early knockout in the third fight of their eagerly awaited trilogy at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on November 12.
In an overseas telephone conversatioin with BoxingScene.com/Manila Standard, Ariza said “it looks like Marquez is training really hard, he’s got a lot bigger obviously and that just tells me one thing --he’s coming there to knock Manny out. Nobody gets that big for no reason without a plan to utilize that kind of a size advantage.”
The strength and conditioning guru said Marquez “looks huge, beyond big” but refused to speculate on reports that Marquez’ new strength and conditioning coach identified as Angel Hernandez on the HBO 24/7 series who was in fact Angel Heredia. Heredia testified before a San Francisco Court in May 2008 that he supplied track stars Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery with illegal substances.
Ariza noted the key is that Pacquiao went up in weight over a period of time and that he doesn’t see Marquez surge in size benefiting him because “that kind of size can mess up the biomechanics of an athlete and it will change the way he throws punches.”
He said that at 38 Marquez “can’t out-condition Manny because that’s impossible. He’s not going to be able to outmaneuver him with that kind of a size advantage. So the only thing that tells me is Marquez is going to come in and try to knock out Manny in the first three or four rounds. Otherwise there’s no sense in coming in that big.”
Ariza said Pacquiao “is in the best shape that I’ve ever seen him in but I’m a little bit worried because this is the time for me that he doesn’t stop and keeps pushing, pushing, pushing . For me it’s the most crucial week.
Pacquiao sparred eight rounds Tuesday with undefeated 21 year old lightweight Jamie “The Nuisance” Kavanagh (8-0, 3 KO’s) and regulars Raymund “Sugar” Beltran (25-5, 17 KO’s) and David Rodela (15-5-3, 6 KO’s).
In his previous workout Pacquiao went 14 rounds on the punch-mitts and forced trainer Roach to let him go a few extra rounds when he wanted him to stop.
In his own media day workout at the Romanza Gym in Mexico City, Marquez put on what boxing writer Rafael Soto reported was an “impressive display of physical strength and
condition and footwork.”
Under the watchful eye of Hall of Fame trainer Ignacio “Nacho” Beristain, Marquez went three rounds with light welterweight Alex Dilmanghani (5-1, 1 KO) of England, undefeated Mexican welterweight Ramses Agathon (6-0, 5 KO’s) and four rounds Mario Zaragoza. All three sparring partners are southpaws.