By Keith Idec
Power and speed are Manny Pacquiao’s obvious advantages over Juan Manuel Marquez.
But Freddie Roach wants the superstar southpaw he trains to out-think one of the sport’s most cerebral, crafty technicians, too. In fact, he thinks the execution of a more patient Pacquiao’s strategy is the key to getting the knockout win Roach anticipates against one of the most effective counter-punchers in boxing history.
“We know [Marquez is] a great counter-puncher,” Roach said. “We can’t just walk to him recklessly, like we did in the first two fights. We need to go to him with a little bit of intelligence and Manny is very capable of doing that at this point of his career.”
Of course, that doesn’t mean we won’t see plenty of the persistent pressure for which the fiery Filipino has become famous Saturday night in Las Vegas.
“We’re going to have to make the fight,” Roach said. “We just have to be a little bit smarter about how we go about that. We can’t just [do what] he did in the first two fights. He was just a young, game kid back then, with one hand. He’s a much more intelligent fighter now and I’m very confident that we will knock him out. We’ll knock him out somewhere along the way.”
While Roach preached patience to Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 KOs) during training camp for their WBO welterweight title fight, he also reminded his fighter to expect to see a different foe than the one he drew with in May 2004 and he beat by split decision in March 2008.
“He has become a little more aggressive,” Roach said of Marquez (53-5-1, 39 KOs). “I think he had to for the TV people and for HBO, to make the money that he wants to make. He became a more aggressive fighter and I think that might be his downfall.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for the Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.