By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Celebrated trainer Freddie Roach has warned Fighter of the Decade Manny Pacquiao he will have to get into the gym and work real hard if he faces Mexican legend Juan Manuel Marquez for the fourth time at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on December 8.
With the only two options left for Pacquiao based on the names of possible opponents provided by Top Rank promoter Bob Arum and a fight against Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley not a marketable proposition although he won Pacquiao’s WBO welterweight title in a widely condemned split decision, Marquez is the remaining option and judging by Roach’s comments, a fourth fight appears likely.
Roach is clearly concerned about a fourth fight with Marquez.
In an interview with Jenna Jay of Doghouse Boxing’s “On the Ropes” radio show, Roach said a showdown with Marquez “ is a very difficult fight” and because Marquez has a difficult style, “we just have to get in the gym and work real hard for this fight.”
Pacquiao appears to be engrossed in his congressional re-election bid, charity work and his role as a bible-toting preacher prompting Roach to tell Jenna Jay he believes Pacquiao “really needs to focus. It’s a very difficult fight style-wise for us. He does give us problems but I think if Manny gets in the best shape he can , we will finally close the book on Marquez.”
Pacquiao dropped Marquez three times in the opening round of their first encounter before the Mexican counter-punched his way to a split draw although an admitted scoring error by judge Burt Clements who scored the first round 10-7 instead of 10-6 as the two other judges did, cost Pacquiao the decision in a WBA/IBF featherweight title bout.
Pacquiao won a close rematch by a majority decision to grab Marquez’ WBC super featherweight title and then retained his WBO welterweight title in a hugely controversial split decision victory.
Ever since then Marquez has been pleading for one more crack at Pacquiao even as he continues to claim that he won all three fights but was robbed of the decision in all three fights by the judges.
Roach noted that Marquez who is trained by another Hal-of-Famer Ignacio “Nacho” Beristain “is very slick and he knows how to get Manny to move to his right hand and we just got to nullify that. We just have to find a way to avoid that lead right hand. We have not found a way yet in three fights but we better get it done in this fight or we won’t win this one.”