Manny Pacquiao and his camp are well aware of what’s on the line this December when they face off against Juan Manuel Marquez. Whereas the Filipino champ’s previous loss was disregarded because of the porous judging that bout will be remembered for, expecting the same sort of treatment this time around is unrealistic. If the unthinkable happens and Manny ultimately falls to Marquez, there will be no more excuses.
Given the stakes, Pacquiao (understandably) doesn’t want to leave anything to chance on this go-round. Even though he hasn't recorded a knockout in nearly three years, putting Marquez down for the long count is precisely how he is planning to win his next match. His trainer, Freddie Roach, confirmed this much during an interview with Boxing Scene this weekend.
“It’s always going to be a competitive fight,” he said. “Manny told me he needed a knockout to win. I’m going to hold him to it, and we’re going go in there looking for a knockout. Something we didn’t do before, we need to do now, because we’re not going to win a decision.”
He’s right. Last June’s Timothy Bradley fight made it okay for judges to rule against Pacquiao. He will no longer get the benefit of the doubt that he has gotten in the past; anything other than a clear-cut victory could be construed as a loss.
With everything that’s on the line, Pacquiao must be training like crazy for his upcoming bout, right? He must have gotten to the U.S. early, just to get a head start on all the work that he needs to do, right? Right? Wrong. Yesterday, reports surfaced that the champ put off his trip to the U.S. because of some pressing political issues that had come up.
You will recall, Bob Arum was less than pleased with this latest development.
"Manny has to decide whether he is a boxer or he's a politician,” he said.
For, for what it’s worth, Roach was much less animated about the delay.
“He’s going to be a couple days late,” Roach said in that same Boxing Scene interview. “I talked to him this morning. He’ll be here by the mid-week.”
“We have eight weeks until the fight. I’m not really worried about it. He’s running now. He’s getting in shape, and that’s all we do the first couple weeks anyway. The sparring won’t start until about six weeks out, so it should be no problem.”
Let’s hope not.
Pacquiao vs. Marquez IV goes down from the MGM Grand on Dec. 8.