By Nick Tywalk
Manny "Pac-Man" Pacquiao
Birthplace: Kibawe, Philippines
Resides: General Santos City, Philippines
Height: 5' 6 1/2"
Current World Titles Held: WBO Welterweight (147 lbs.)
Former World Titles Held: WBC Light Middleweight (154 lbs.), Ring Magazine Junior Welterweight (140 lbs.), WBC Lightweight (135 lbs.), The Ring Magazine, WBC Super Featherweight (130 lbs.), The Ring Magazine Featherweight (126 lbs.), IBF Super Bantamweight (122 lbs.), WBC Flyweight (112 lbs.)
Professional Record: 53-3-2, 38 KOs
Record in World Title Fights: 13-1-2, 9 KOs
Record in Fights Going 12 Rounds: 6-1-1
Record at Welterweight: 4-0, 2 KOs
Juan Manuel Marquez
Birthplace: Mexico City, Mexico
Resides: Anaheim, California
Height: 5' 7"
Current World Titles Held: WBA, WBO, The Ring Magazine Lightweight (135 lbs.)
Former World Titles Held: WBC Super Featherweight (130 lbs.), WBA, IBF Featherweight (126 lbs.)
Professional Record: 53-5-1, 39 KOs
Record in World Title Fights: 9-3-1, 3 KOs
Record in Fights Going 12 Rounds: 9-4-1
Record at Welterweight: 0-1
It's strange to think that two fighters, especially two as accomplished as Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez, could both be looking for vindication heading into the third fight in a trilogy. Yet when they face off again on November 12, it's safe to say that the feeling of unfinished business will be equally strong on both sides.
For Pacquiao, a decisive victory can bring a sense of closure. Though he scored four knockdowns during the first two fights and took the second bout on the scorecards, he left enough doubt that some observers believe he lost both of them. That's the reason trainer Freddie Roach has said Pac-Man needs to score a knockout and shut the book on the rivalry for good.
If anything, Marquez may be even more motivated. His frustration with winning more rounds than his arch-rival and coming up empty clearly sticks in his craw, as does his belief that he would enjoy Pacquiao's global icon status if he hadn't. JMM's Hall of Fame credentials are already set, but he'll still look at his own resume and see something missing without a victory over Pacquiao.
As indicated by the betting lines that have Pacquiao as a heavy favorite, most boxing fans and observers think Marquez will be facing an uphill battle. Despite his technical brilliance, JMM has always had some trouble with Pac-Man's speed and explosiveness, and at age 38, there's a sense that disparities in those areas could be more pronounced than ever.
Weight is also an issue. Pacquiao and Marquez met the first time at 126 pounds and the second time at 130. This time around the action will take place at a catchweight of 144 pounds (though Pacquiao's welterweight belt is up for grabs), something that should favor Pac-Man, as he's been fighting at or around this weight for nearly four years.
Whatever happens when the leather starts flying, two things are almost guaranteed: The fans at the MGM Grand are going to be loud, and the two proud, determined boxers they will be cheering will leave everything in the ring.
Pacquiao's Winning Strategy: Attack from All Angles
Seven years ago, Pacquiao was something of a one-trick pony. His plan of attack consisted almost entirely of coming forward and setting up his lethal left hand, and while that was good enough to plant Marquez on the canvas three times, it wasn't enough to win.
The Filipino superstar has come a long way since then, evolving into a much more complete fighter. His movement, defensive awareness and timing have all gone to another level since he last faced Marquez.
Yet it may be the variety of different angles Pacquiao has learned to utilize that could prove to be his most important upgrade. Manny befuddled the likes of Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito by throwing punches from places they couldn't anticipate, and JMM isn't likely to handle them any better.
It will be crucial for Pacquiao to move his feet and vary his approaches, especially when exchanging shots at close range. Doing so will show JMM something he hasn't seen before and may not be able to solve.
Marquez's Winning Strategy: Mix Up Everything
Counter-punching is JMM's bread and butter, and he'll certainly want to look for any opportunities he can get. It just won't be enough to get him the 'W,' so he'll need some other weapons to go with it.
Marquez had some success in the first two fights surprising Pacquiao by firing first, and it was mainly due to the fact that he did it in several different ways. He used jabs, lead rights and left hooks at various times, and he'll want to keep his foe guessing in a similar manner.
Body punching will also serve Marquez well. He can't look downstairs for an extended period of time - Pacquiao has improved too much defensively for that - but mixing up high and low shots in combinations will be vital to keep Manny off balance.
As he already knows, Marquez will need to fight a nearly perfect fight to beat Pacquiao. He's got plenty of tools, and he'll have to keep rotating between all of them in order to come out on top.
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