By Jake Donovan
Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez are so familiar with one another that they can probably finish each other’s sentences by now.
That doesn’t mean that either fighter expects the typical scouting report to hold true for the latest installment in their longtime rivalry.
Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach is already hard at work in coming up with a way to provide some separation between the two fighters, whose previous three fights have produced outcomes that will forever remain disputed. Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38KO) is officially 2-0-1 in the three-fight set thus far, but there is a case to be made that Marquez (54-6-1, 39KO) equally deserved to win all three fights.
Pacquiao’s winning ways came to an end this past June, dropping a highly controversial split decision to Tim Bradley in a fight that ended his 2 ½ year reign as a welterweight titlist. The wildly popular Filipino enjoyed a seven-year unbeaten streak prior to that point, but became one of several entries in a string of bad luck for his trainer in recent times.
Taking nothing for granted, Pacquiao’s team is promising fresh results on December 8 - namely, a conclusive outcome and a return to the Pacquiao of old.
“They were all very close fights,” acknowledges Roach, whose enshrinement into the Boxing Hall of Fame ironically came the day after Pacquiao’s loss to Bradley. “I’m going to take those game plans and throw them out the window.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox