By Jake Donovan
On Saturday evening at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, longtime rivals Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez bring closure to a trilogy that began in this very arena seven years ago.
Tickets have long ago sold out, producing one of the largest gates in history as it pertains to boxing in Nevada, and closed circuit seats are quickly filling up throughout the Vegas strip.
Still, all of the financial success in the world doesn’t necessarily change the perception of the bout.
Vegas odds have placed Pacquiao as a 9-1 favorite, a testament to his ability to conquer one weight class after the next while hardly missing a beat. It certainly has nothing to do with their past history, as the two have fought to a virtual standstill in their previous 24 rounds.
Pacquiao scored three knockdowns in the opening round of their first fight in May ’04, which took place at featherweight. Marquez braved the storm and boxed his way back into the fight. His performance from rounds 2-12 were enough to create controversy on the scorecards, with the end result being a split decision draw. One judge scored the first round 10-7 instead of 10-6, which denied Pacquiao of a narrow points win.
The Filipino southpaw would take the second fight by that very slim margin, which was produced on the strength of a third round knockdown to earn a split decision win and the lineal 130 lb. crown. Justice wasn’t exactly served, as most ringside experts had Marquez winning by 1-3 points.
How will things shake out in their third and most likely final meeting? Read on to see how the Boxingscene.com staff believes it will all go down.
“I hate making predictions. It's like guessing the correct score of a football game. That being said, unless Pacquiao eats some bad oysters the night before, trips on his way into the ring, forgets his mouth piece and eats a slice of pizza minutes before the fight and has indigestion, I like Pac Man by a seventh-round stoppage courtesy of left hook followed by a right hand, at 2:15 of the round.”
– Mitch Abramson
“I think the fight will be competitive and very exciting with lots of two way action for 4-5 rounds before Pacquiao seizes control of the fight. I think around the 6th round Pacman's youth, speed and power will start to breakdown Marquez. Marquez will fight on bravely but I expect him to be stopped in the 9th round. I really am not against this fight. The first two fights were classics and I think Pacquiao and Marquez have unfinished business. It also looks almost certain that Pacquiao will fight a fighter in his prime in his next fight.”
– Ryan Burton
“The third installment of this great series will give us more of the same. It will be a very competitive technical bout with back and forth action. Both men have added mass since the first two meetings, but Pacquiao's superior speed will win the close rounds en route to another debateable decision victory, 115-113.”
– Michael Campbell
“The fight will be competitive for a few rounds, picking up where the 24th round left off. But by around the 5th round or so, Pacquiao will pick up steam, a turning point in the fight that will prove to be the beginning of the end. Given what’s at stake and who he’s facing, Marquez will fight to win or die trying, but Hall of Fame trainer Nacho Beristain prevents such a tragedy by forcing his student of 25 years to retire on his stool before the bout reaches the championship rounds.”
– Jake Donovan
All signs point to this being the perfect time for Manny to put the rivalry to bed as Marquez has looked shaky against lesser opposition in recent fights. In terms of ability, Juan is the better boxer of the two but he is not at his optimum weight and even though Manny has moved through the divisions himself he looks physically the stronger man. Heart says Marquez, head says Manny, although I do not expect him to handle the Mexican as easily as Floyd Mayweather did.
– Terence Dooley
“I think Pac wins a a 10th rd TKOon cuts but Marquez will make him earn it and I think that Manny will show some decline in this fight.”
– Michael Doss
“Pacquiao W12 Marquez – Unanimous decision in a closer than expected fight.”
– Bill Emes
“At 126 and 130, Marquez was clever enough and tricky enough and fundamental enough to stay in there with Pacquiao and give him a push. But once Pacquiao moved past 135 pounds, he officially got too big for his favorite Mexican dance partner. Now that Manny's added a few wrinkles of his own and become accustomed to taking - and giving - shots with stronger guys, he'll be able to finish the job when he gets his man hurt. If JMM goes down three times in a round this time, there's zero chance he'll survive for 11 more. Pacquiao in eight.”
– Lyle Fitzsimmons
Manny TKO6. Manny is far more acclimated to being a welterweight than Marquez and has carried his physical skills better than what I predict Marquez will. Being the better boxer this time will not matter and while there may be moments for Marquez Manny stops him in 6.”
– Ernest Gabion
“Pacquiao TKO 9 – This fight will not resemble the first two in any way, shape, or form.”
– Thomas Gerbasi
“This is a mismatch, though I wish I were wrong. Pacquiao by stoppage in the first half of the fight.”
– David Greisman
“Pacquiao at welterweight should win decisively, finally. Certainly Pacquiao ‘should’ win this fight in a definitive manner, given that Marquez has by merit and default become his professional nemesis, theshadowing championship figure representing a debating point as to the supremacy of Pacquiao in this era. Given that knockouts validate and differentiate greatness within rivalries, Manny Pacquiao can have no other essential mission. Pacquiao TKO10 Marquez.”
– Patrick Kehoe
“Pacquiao in eight. I'm just not buying that at age 38 that Marquez has found the Fountain of Youth in terms of bulking up to 144 while still keeping his speed and power. Meanwhile, Pacquiao's a better all-around fighter than he was three years ago, both with his right hook and his improved ability to box. Marquez might have his moments early just based on the stylistic nightmare he will always present Manny, but unless Angel Hernandez' techniques have made a substantial difference, I see Pacquiao eventually wearing him down by brute force mainly due to the physical advantages he will have on Saturday.”
– Ryan Maquinana
It's kind of funny but not amusing funny. Floyd Mayweather has accused Manny Pacquiao, among other things, of fighting his "leftovers." Certainly Antonio Margarito is not in that category since the Mexican and Mayweather never crossed gloves. But now seven years after their first bout, Pacquiao is fighting Juan Manuel Marquez in their third fight. Marquez is undoubtedly not the same fighting force he was moving up to a contract weight of 144 pounds. He peaked as a lightweight and was the world's best at that limit. This Chapter III bout is a leftover of a leftover after their 2004 and 2008 bouts which were enthralling and competitive from start to finish. But the clock on the wall says that's all now for 38 year old Juan Ma and so sorrow until tomorrow. A peaking Pacquiao is going to thrash Juan Ma, maybe right from Jump Street and it won't be pretty but it will be a definitive victory. I keep having flashbacks to Pacman decimating Ricky Hatton. Chapter III is the final chapter for a noble warrior named Juan Manuel Marquez while Pacquiao still has pages to write in his boxing book. Pacman by KO after five one--sided rounds.
– Michael Marley
“I'm in the minority as well, but I do think it will be a much more competitive fight than people think.Stylistically, Juan Manuel Marquez knows how to fight Manny Pacquiao, is the superior technician and tactician, and I have a feeling Marquez will carry the weight better this time around. In their last fight, if you all may recall, Pacquiao came into the ring weighing 145 pounds so it may not be as big of a factor as everyone seems to suggest. Marquez took his shots well, except for the knockdown. The Mosley-fight did nothing to suggest that Pacquiao handles nimble movement any better. The difference between Mosley and Marquez is Marquez' superior counter punching off the movement. Ultimately, this will make for a better fight. Marquez seems to have slipped a little, but I still think he has enough to compete. Manny Pacquiao SD12.”
– Philip Michael
“Pacquiao on points. Excellent matchup and two great fighters. Neither are natural welterweights but Pacman have been fighting at a higher weight for a longer time and that will tell the longer the fight goes.”
– Per-Ake Persson
“Marquez isn't as close to his best as Pacquiao and has never really shaken his problem of being dropped early in big fights. It happens again here but, at Welterweight, the big comebacks that happened at Featherweight and Jr. Lightweight are less likely. Pacquiao will pull away and begin to dish a beating around the fifth with Marquez stopped either on his feet or in the corner around the tenth.”
– Cliff Rold
“I'm in the minority where I think this will still be a competitive fight. The advantages Pacquiao holds over Marquez however will ultimately make the difference. His size, speed and power will be too much for the 38 year old Marqiez who I still believe will not carry the extra weight well. But he will not go silently into the night. Pacquiao will still have to work harder than he has in recent fights and Marquez will still last the full 12 again. Pac UD.”
– Luis “Juan In A Million” Sandoval
“This fight won't last longer than 3 rounds - Pacquiao is just too big, too strong and too fast compared to Marquez...he already had those qualities at super featherweight, but this time we are talking about the welterweights with a more calm and experienced Pacman! This fight is going to be Ricky-Hatton-style for the Filipino, ending with a devastating KO to end Juan-Manuel Marquez career...bitter end, but that's boxing.”
– Thomas Schlabe
“I think Pacquiao’s third meeting with Juan Manuel Marquez, the only fighter in almost a decade, who ended his rendezvous with the Pinoy knockout machine on even terms, will be no different to aforementioned collisions. Surely, Marquez, even at 38, is stylistically a wrong fight for Pacquiao. A skilled, savvy, technically sound counterpuncher with considerable punching power has what it takes to give fits to the Filipino. Once, Marquez was exactly that man. However, I feel these times are gone. At a bigger weight, three and a half years since their last fight and with all that wear and tear he suffered in recent years (two physically tough bouts with Juan Diaz, twelve-round drubbing from hands of Floyd and a hard battle with Katsidis) Marquez won't be able to stop Pacman in his tracks. I would go after the Pinoy with a wide decision or a technical knockout in later rounds in a hard and competitive but, at the end of the day, quite one-sided fight.”
– Alexey Sukachev
“This third bout between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manual Marquez in my humble opinion figures to be another classic bout that will test the limits of both fighters endurance. Both combatants believe that they deserved better results in the first two fights, and both consider it their personal mission to soundly defeat the other to gain the recognition over the other. Styles make fights! Manny Pacquiao will always have an issue with Juan Manual Marquez; they are two sides of the same coin, an aggressive puncher versus the equally aggressive counter puncher. They are of the same cloth, down to the struggles each encountered as young men, to the climb they both took to reach the top in their sport, two brother warriors with only an ocean between them to deny a kinship. Father time will be the deciding factor in this bout, as it can often be, the older Marquez has had little opportunity to adjust to the heavier weight over the course of 12 rounds. My prediction is that Manny Pacquiao will display his overall improvement in boxing skills stopping Juan Marquez in the 10th. Do not be surprised if Marquez can weather the tsunami and goes the distance, losing on the scorecards.”
– Keith Terceira
The third fight between Pacquiao and Marquez headlines a four-fight pay-per-view telecast, beginning at 9PM ET/6PM PT. Those wishing to order and watch online can do so by visiting Top Rank’s website at http://www.toprank.tv.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to JakeNDaBox@gmail.com