By Keith Idec
We’ve come to expect Manny Pacquiao stopping short of ever saying anything bad about anybody.
It’s among the things that make the respectful Filipino superstar unique in a boxing world where people typically rip each other. When asked on a conference call Wednesday if Mexican nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez has managed to make their third fight personal, Pacquiao didn’t actually answer the question.
He instead talked about not underestimating his opponent, his readiness for the fight and other borderline boring things.
But trainer Freddie Roach intimated that Marquez continuously claiming he was “robbed” in their first two fights has inspired Pacquiao as their third fight approaches.
“Marquez went to the Philippines and tried to embarrass Manny by saying that [he] got robbed [in the first two fights],” Roach said. “It was an instant spark in Manny for this training camp, I feel. Manny’s had a great training camp and I’ve never seen Manny as motivated as I have for this fight.”
Roach previously called Marquez wearing a “We were robbed” T-shirt during a visit to the Philippines a “slap in the face” to Pacquiao.
The 32-year-old Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 KOs) and the 38-year-old Marquez (53-5-1, 39 KOs) battled to a 12-round draw in their featherweight title fight 7½ years ago in Las Vegas, despite that Pacquiao dropped Marquez three times in the first round. Pacquiao also beat Marquez by split decision in their 12-round rematch, though that junior lightweight fight in March 2008 was widely viewed as one that could’ve gone either way.
They’ll fight at a catch weight of 144 pounds Nov. 12 in Las Vegas, for Pacquiao’s WBO welterweight title.
Keith Idec covers boxing for the Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.