Manny Pacquiao is one of boxing's more self-aware fighters, and that’s probably why he isn’t running away from how people viewed his last three bouts versus Juan Manuel Marquez. The Filipino champ has heard people questioning his two victories for years. Years. And rather than irritating or angering him, it appears as though the fans’ doubts are just fueling him.
Fueling him for what? To silence the doubters, once and for all.
"My focus this time is to go for the knockout," Pacquiao said Wednesday (via Jackson Sun). "I am a good counter-puncher, too. But that makes for a boring fight. I want to make the fight exciting. I don't want the fans to be bored."
That was a huge problem last November when these two last squared off. While there was obviously something thrilling about watching Marquez push his heavily favored opponent to the brink, there was also no denying that the pair’s fight was ugly. It lacked the crispness and aesthetic appeal that their first two fights had. Even if you felt like Pacquiao earned his victory, you felt that way because Marquez didn’t do enough to walk away with a W, not because the Filipino champ did all that much himself.
"I need to be more aggressive in this fight," Pacquiao said. "I want a win that isn't close like the last three. It has to be a decisive victory."
It might have to be. Everyone remembers the backlash that followed the pair’s last fight. Whether that backlash was justifiable or not is debatable, but it existed. And because it existed, the judges on this go-around may factor it into their decision. The Timothy Bradley bout made it okay to rule against Manny – something that was all but a cardinal sin in years prior. He’s no longer going to get the benefit of the doubt. Pacquiao needs to take matters into his own hands.
"I want to erase the last fight and any doubts in No. 4. I will focus this time. I have to study and train using new techniques and strategy, and apply techniques never used in my previous fights.
"I will fight and train like the old Manny, the 25-year-old Manny."
He better. This is going to be the biggest test of Pacquiao’s career. If he wins, a potential bout versus Floyd Mayweather Jr. lays ahead. If he loses, his career very well could be over.
(Kudos Jackson Sun)