Manny Pacquiao has beaten Juan Manuel Marquez in two of the three fights they’ve had against one another. The only bout he didn’t win, their first one, would have been a Pacquiao victory had the judges tabulated the scores correctly. There have been a lot of debates about whether Marquez should have won last time, or the time before that, or whatever the case may be, but this is how history as its currently written: Marquez has never beaten his arch rival. Ever.
With that in mind, heading into what will be his last fight ever against Pacquiao, you would expect Marquez to change stuff up. He poses a lot of challenges for the Filipino champ from a stylistic standpoint, however, obviously not enough to secure victory. Whatever additional new stuff could be incorporated, you would expect that Marquez would at least try to incorporate it. But he isn’t.
Who is trying to add new stuff, you ask? Mr. Emmanuel Dapiran Pacquiao.
“It’s going to be different compared to the last three fights that we had, and I believe it’s going to be a good fight. My focus for this training camp is aggressiveness, so in the fight I can give a good fight,” Pacquiao told ABS-CBN recently.
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“We’re not relying on one strategy and movement,” Pacquiao added. “We try to study different moves, different strategies, different techniques so we can use it in the fight.”
On one hand, you have to credit the Filipino champ for his boldness. It isn’t easy to switch up your flow at age 33. It is even more difficult when you’re doing it at age 33 after your old style made your arguably the best pound-for-pounder in the world. On the other hand, though, it is sort of bizarre that Pacquiao is changing up the program now. For better or worse, he is who he is at this point. And who he is, again, is a fighter that hasn’t been legitimately beaten since 2005.
If these alterations work out, Pacquiao will go down as a genius. If they don’t, we will likely point to the champ’s lack of confidence in his tried and tested methods as a pretty big reason why.