by Ronnie Nathanielsz
Pound for pound king Manny Pacquiao’s strength and conditioning guru Alex Ariza says he won’t be at all surprised in Pacquiao knocks out Juan Manuel Marquez in the very first round in their WBO welterweight title showdown at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday.
Ariza who earlier predicted a stoppage within three rounds told BoxingScene.com/Manila Standard from Las Vegas - “I won’t be surprised if Manny knocks him out in the first round.”
However, Ariza clarified his statement, “when I say knockout, I think Manny knocks him down, jumps on top of him and beats the s—t out of him and they stop it.”
He said he “won’t be surprised if referee Tony Weeks stops the fight in the first three rounds because Manny is going to hit him so hard its going to change his (Marquez’s) life.”
The Pacquiao strength and conditioning expert said he believes Marquez who has bulked up and put on muscle “is going to take too many chances” and that the idea behind Marquez putting on muscle in his upper body is to “go for a knockout in the first three or four rounds.”
He said the sports books show Pacquiao as an 8-to-1 favorite which indicates everybody thinks Manny is going to knock Marquez out.
Ariza told us he had “never seen Manny so calm, so really relaxed and looking forward to the fight” which will be his third clash with Marquez in an enthralling trilogy which may well rank as one of the best.
On the eve of the official weigh-in, Ariza said Pacquiao tipped the scales at 143 pounds which was perfect.
He noted that Marquez had “put on a lot of muscle but we’ll have to see what happens at the weigh-in. Its hard for me to say what’s going on.”
Pacquiao attended a Bible study session before hearing a special Mass at the Mandalay Bay Resort Hotel and Casino where he stays.
Marquez who has publicly and persistently claimed he won the first two fights against Pacquiao and said the judges robbed him of the decision also hinted he would look for a knockout to settle all doubts once and for all. He said that if either fighter gets careless in the ring “he’s getting knocked out” even as he looked back on their first two fights and pointed out that Pacquiao went after him somewhat recklessly after dropping him in their first two fights, three times in the first and once in the rematch.