Is Juan Manuel Marquez Making Manny Pacquiao Nervous?

| by Alex Groberman

Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez are set to do battle for the third -- and hopefully, final -- time on November 12. Even though Bob Arum and the powers that be involved with marketing the bout have tried to sell it as an “anything’s possible” type of showdown, fans and pundits seem to agree that Pacquiao will handily beat his opponent.

Naturally, the assumption was that Pacquiao was just as confident as the fans and pundits going in and that, even if he couldn’t publicly say it, he realized that he’d destroy Marquez. His conditioning coach Alex Ariza, after all, not too long ago explicitly stated that Pacquiao would wreck his opponent.

Over the last few days, however, certain things have happened or come to light that throw into question just how confident Pacquiao and his camp really are. Just yesterday, it was revealed that Pacquiao and his advisors requested a rematch clause prior to this fight being agreed to – albeit, one that they have deemed as just a precaution. Then, on Monday, Pacquiao arrived at Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles and, in the words of The Philippine Star, “broke tradition.”

According to the report, usually when Pacquiao arrives in L.A. he spends the first Monday “breaking sweat and loosening up” as he prepares for the more grueling aspects of training. This time around, though, the Filipino champion was all business. Instead of taking it slow, he opted to spar – something that in the past he has traditionally only done on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

And, on top of all that, Pacquiao has also been earily quiet over the last few weeks. Granted, he did peak his head out of the shadows a few days ago to say that he was “80 percent" ready for Pacquiao – but that’s as far as it’s gone. Nothing on Sergio Martinez. Nothing on Floyd Mayweather Jr. Nothing on Amir Khan. Nothing on Timothy Bradley.

Pacquiao, of course, has already met Marquez twice before to mixed results. The first time around the pair fought to a draw, even though it was later revealed that the Filipino champion was robbed of a victory by a judge’s error. The second time around, he beat Marquez via a decision even though many skeptics questioned the validity of the win, noting that Marquez had better stats throughout the bout.

“Yes. I feel that, you know, there’s an extra motivation for this training camp I think because of what happened in our last fight,” Pacquiao recently said.

“This fight, this will be the answer to all of the doubters about whether or not I lost to my opponent.”

Should Manny be nervous heading into November 12? Absolutely not.

Is he? It sure looks that way.