|03-15-2008, 10:11 AM||#1|
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Barry Mcguidan on tonights fight
Little Big Manny
Manny Pacquiao is one more thunderous performance from history tonight.
Victory over Juan Manuel Marquez in Las Vegas for the WBC super-featherweight title would make him the first four-division champion from the Philippines.
He started life as a light-flyweight, won his first world title at flyweight before adding belts at super-bantamweight and featherweight.
He is a national hero at home. When he boxes, 90 per cent of those owning a television tune in to watch him fight.
Pacquiao rarely disappoints. He comes forward unleashing a fearsome artillery of shots.
He is chillingly aggressive, but not reckless. He makes every punch count.
When these two met four years ago Pacquiao had Marquez down three times in the opening round, courtesy of a wicked left hand.
The Mexican's response represented one of the great recoveries in recent times. Marquez picked his way brilliantly back into the fight to fashion a draw that never looked possible.
I thought Marquez did enough to nick it. Burt Clements scored it even with his fellow judges scoring it 115-110 apiece.
Pacquiao is not the most consistent performer. He can go up and down, which explains the three defeats on his record.
But that just adds to the allure. It is all about preparation for him. He is such a superstar at home that he has not always paid enough attention to preparation.
For this fight he has been holed up at Freddie Roach's Wild Card gym since January. He is as ready as he can be.
Marquez hurt him in the first fight. Though 34, he is very well preserved. His financial demands prevented a rematch until now.
I don't blame him for that. It was such a gruelling encounter. The upshot was he was cold-shouldered a little and ended up going to Indonesia, where he lost to Chris John.
I wouldn't read too much into that. John is a high-quality performer in his own right.
Marquez has serious pedigree. His brother Rafael is a remarkable fighter, too.
Rafael is probably the harder puncher, Juan Manuel the more skilful, a brilliant counter-puncher.
Since losing to John, Marquez has beaten Marco Antonio Barrera. Significantly, Barrera had him down.
Pacquiao will be looking to repeat that only this time press home the advantage.
In terms of legendary status, Pacquiao is one of the best boxers in recent times. In fact he stands comparison with any of the great featherweights - Sandy Sadler, Henry Armstrong, Willie Pep, Salvador Sanchez, Azumah Nelson, Eusebio Pedroza, Bobby Chacon, Danny Lopez, Erik Morales, Barrera, Pacquiao; legends all.
Though I edge towards Pacquiao tonight, I do not discount an upset. Marquez has the ability to win.
The last fight was close. This one could be just as tight. Pacquiao sees this as a legacy fight and has the better chin.
There is no way this fight can go 12 rounds without the Marquez whiskers being tested. It's the Pacman for me.
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