Will a Distracted Manny Pacquiao Underperform vs. Marquez?

| by Alex Groberman

Manny Pacquiao is a busy, busy man. First and foremost, he’s a congressman. Then there’s that whole, being-an-international-icon thing. And as if all of that wasn’t enough, he’s already plotting out his retirement course like a man who pre-plans his own funeral.

Somewhere in between all that, though, he’s supposedly finding time to train “hard” for a third and final match-up versus his one-time arch rival, Juan Manuel Marquez. He and Marquez have shared quite the storied history, what with the latter firmly believing he deserved to beat the former on not one, but two separate occasions despite what the history books might have to say on the matter.

Regardless of the past, Marquez aims to right two past wrongs on November 12 and shock the world (literally, the whole world) which continues to firmly buy into the theory that he has no shot against his Filipino counterpart. One of the things that Marquez and his team believe they have on their side is Pacquiao being distracted by all of the other things currently going on in his life. Famed Mexican trainer Ignacio "Nacho" Beristain said this much in a brief interview with Michael Marley, via

“Everything I do now is point to JuanMa and to beating Manny Pacquiao on Nov. 12," Beristain told him at the airport here. "The world may be shocked but Pacquiao will be defeated. He has a lack of focus and JuanMa will take advantage of this. Being a fighter, a Congressman, a singer, all of this, will finally catch up to Manny.

"Pacquiao is a great one, yes, but no other fighter knows him, after 24 rounds, like my fighter does. You will see a great explosion by Marquez on this night."

There is some merit to this theory, hard as it may be to believe. A couple of weeks ago, Pacquiao was forced to skip out on a promotional church event in his own country when the wear and tear of his busy schedule finally got to him and he overslept. This has become something of a re-occurring theme with the fighter who at one point in time was punctual to a fault and always made it a point to attend any and all press events that he was invited to.

Of course, in order for Pacquiao to fall to Marquez as a result of a lack of focus, Marquez would need to possess enough skill to beat an unfocused Pacquiao. Unfortunately, he doesn’t. Even a Pacquiao who is 75% engaged in the proceedings is capable of thumping anyone in the sport not named Floyd Mayweather Jr. and, as such, Marquez’s last shred of hope for this coming match in reality is no hope at all.

Plus, Pacquiao is in fact focused on Marquez, despite what some may believe. During a recent interview, the Filipino champion’s trainer, Freddie Roach, described the new plan of attack he and his corner were looking to employ in the next bout.  

“We’re not going to walk into his punch,” he said. “We will be more scientific in this fight.”

But defense isn’t the only thing on Roach’s mind.

“In the first two fights, we got careless trying to land one good shot,” he said of the draw in 2004 and a controversial decision for Pacquiao in 2008.

So, what does this mean for the notion that Marquez may be able to shock an unprepared Pacquiao? It means that it’s incorrect on all counts. Marquez wouldn’t be able to shock an unprepared Pacquiao because even an unprepared Pacquiao is better than him at this point. And, of course, the whole idea is moot anyway, because Pacquiao is clearly making preparing for Marquez a priority, even if it doesn’t always seem that way.