Sports

10 Days Left: Where Does Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez Stand?

| by Alex Groberman

Manny Pacquiao versus Juan Manuel Marquez is a mere 10 days away, and the excitement is palpable.

Of course, it’s not palpable because of anything that Pacquiao or Marquez did, but rather because Floyd Mayweather Jr. (in traditional Floyd Mayweather Jr. fashion) hijacked the boxing world on Thursday.

Putting that aside for a moment, though, Pacquiao vs. Marquez has slowly but surely developed some interesting plot twists of its own.

Yesterday, Opposing Views reported on a rift between the two rival camps that developed because of Marquez’s conditioning coach Angel Hernandez, and his murky past involving illicit substances and the BALCO Lab scandal. Things didn’t get any more hospitable when Pacquiao’s conditioning coach Alex Ariza decided to throw gasoline on the flames by joking about the matter. So, with both corners really hating one another, you can expect emotions to be at an all-time high on November 12.

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The other interesting thing that has been noted on multiple occasions about this fight is its historical relevance.

While Pacquiao vs. Marquez III doesn’t evoke much in the way of enthusiasm these days, the first two showdowns between these guys were pretty epic. They were so epic, in fact, that they left lasting impressions on both men that they still haven’t been able to shake to this very day. And because of that, both will aim to prove something when they finally meet in the ring.

Pacquiao will want to show Marquez that his win last time was fair and history was written as it always should have been, and Marquez will aim to show that Pacquiao’s last victory was a fluke.

Both men think they won the draw that occurred the first time they met, so that one just serves as mutual motivation.

On Marquez’s end, also, it will be interesting to see how his age coupled with his wear and tear will play into matters. Recently, during conversation recounted by BoxingScene, he alluded to folks thinking he was done because of the years upon years of activity he’s racked up.

“I don’t believe age has anything to do with it,” Marquez, said in conference call. “I prepared myself very well. I’m going to be as good as I was a few years back. As long as I have a good training camp [like] I had, I’ll be fine.”

Marquez, who is five and a half years Pacquiao’s senior will get his chance to prove that theory.

Pacquiao, for his part, also gets a mixed bag in this match. On one hand, everyone believes he’ll emerge victorioius. Everybody, beginning with the odds makers in Las Vegas and ending with his own camp, things the win is his already. However, with that confidence comes a lot of responsibility. He has to destroy a fighter in Marquez who hasn’t fought a full, legit round of boxing in nearly a year. This can’t be another draw.

So, in reality, the Filipino champion has a lot more to lose than his counterpart.

And in order to keep himself sharp and at the top of his game, Pacquiao is committed to treating Marquez as an equal, not the over-the-hill punching bag that most pundits figure he will be in less than two weeks.

“For me, I hope I’m fighting with the same Marquez as the last fight [three] years ago, not worse,” Pacquiao said recently. “I hope it’s the same Marquez I fought [three] years ago because if I win the fight, maybe somebody will say, ‘Oh, [it’s] because Marquez is old, you know, and slow.’”

Who will ultimately emerge victorious?

We’ll find out in 10 days.