Pacquiao, Marquez reflect on meaning of their fourth contest
With hours remaining before the fourth meeting between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez, both fighters are expressing confidence that they'll be able to win the match.
During a recent conference call, Pacquiao explained that while he has no doubt of his abilities, he's at the same time eager to see if Marquez will deliver on his promise of being able to beat him. In each of their previous matches, Marquez has stated that he won handily, but the judges played favorites.
"I am giving him a chance to prove he can win the fight because he thought he has won all three and he keeps talking about it," said Pacquiao. "So it is very important to me, to win this fight, especially since Márquez really wanted this fight."
With each of the past three contests being decided by the judges, there's been a lot of focus on who will be scoring the bout this time around. Reports say that judges Adalaide Byrd, Steve Weisfeld and John Keane will be there to render their decision, three people that Marquez says he's very comfortable with.
"The only thing I am asking is for them to be fair and for them to qualify what is happening in the ring," said Marquez during the same conference call. "I am confident because I know it is a great selection of judges. They are very professional and I am very confident about them."
While both fighters have made clear that their top priority is to win the match, they have also focused on the uniqueness of this latest bout, as few boxers in history have faced off more than three times. Pacquiao is particularly pleased that this fourth go 'round is with Marquez, who he believes may someday be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Fourth match important, but not career-defining
"He is a legend, perhaps the best fighter Mexico has ever produced next to Julio César Chávez," Pacquiao said in a special for Fox Sports.
He added, however, that how this bout turns out will not define his career, as his competing in eight different weight divisions and knocking out the likes of Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto and Eric Morales will stand out every bit as much as those with Marquez.
Marquez, meanwhile, is all about setting his doubters' suspicions to rest. But like Pacquiao, he too is honored to be facing one opponent for the fourth time.
"There is something special about fighting the same opponent four times," Marquez told Fox Sports. "It tells me that the first three fights have been good and competitive enough to merit one more fight. When it is against an elite opponent such as Manny Pacquiao then it’s even more special and more meaningful."
Also similar to Pacquiao, Marquez says that his winning or losing will not make or break his career. He noted that he's participated in 61 fights and once they are all taken into consideration, only then can he determine where this fight ranks in importance.
As for what it will take for either side to win, brains and brawn will be needed. Freddie Roach, Pacquiao's trainer, noted in last week's conference call that a lot depends on Pacquiao being aggressive from the get-go.
"The thing is Marquéz fought the fight at a slow pace the last time," said Roach. "We plan to fight the fight at a much faster pace this time like we did in the first fight. In the early rounds, that’s where we had the most success."
Marquez, meanwhile, says that his strength will see him through to victory, but not without implementing smart tactics that can only come through intelligent pacing and footwork.
Who will walk out of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Saturday as the victor? Twelve rounds and 36 minutes minutes of boxing time hold the answer.
For a limited time, first-time customers of Xoom will be able to watch the pay-per-view contest in standard definition without cost to them (taxes may be extra). To take advantage of this exciting offer, send your first Xoom money transfer to Mexico or the Philippines between November 26 and December 8, 2012.