Reality isn’t going to stop Juan Manuel Marquez from believing that he can beat Manny Pacquiao when the pair meets for the third (and hopefully, final) time on November 12.
During a recent interview with Dyan Castillejo of ABS-CBN, Marquez dropped this gem to his opponent:
“My message to Pacquiao, he needs to train very hard because I'm training very hard… like a warrior,” said Marquez.
Well, that’s wonderful. Marquez should be training like a warrior. Unfortunately, the training process rarely involves the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world pounding you into oblivion – an event we will all get to witness via HBO thanks to Bob Arum and Top Rank. In fact, unless Marquez plans to inject a metal-like substance into his body a la Wolverine that would make him immune to receiving any damage, we really don’t need to hear about his practices in futility.
Pacquiao and Marquez will meet for the WBO welterweight crown at a 144-pound catchweight, something that the latter seems to be particularly excited about.
“I feel great. I'm ready to fight at 144,” said Marquez.
Of course, it’s worth mentioning that the last time these two met -- and in all honesty, in the only bout Marquez can claim he should have won -- they met at the super featherweight level. It remains to be seen how the Mexican fighter will respond to Pacquiao’s speed and comfort at this heightened weight.
In that same interview with Castillejo, Marquez’s manager Fernando Beltran noted that measures were being taken to ensure that speed wouldn’t be an issue.
“We have in our training camp doctors and training people that we'll help him diet,” said Beltran.
Marquez’s efforts are admirable in a way, because he -- unlike ‘Sugar’ Shane Mosley -- actually seems to want to stand in the middle and exchange blows with Pacquiao. Still, there is something strangely annoying about knowing the end result of a match before it happens and, that’s preceisely what’s going on here.
The simple fact remains that aside from the 90-year-old Angelo Dundee and oft-controversial Teddy Atlas, nobody thinks Marquez has a chance here. And that isn’t because of some undying loyalty to Pacquiao, rather, it’s because the Filipino champion is an undeniably better fighter at this stage of both of their careers.
Sure, two years ago, Marquez may have stood a chance. But in the here and now, no amount of training can change the inevitable – he’s in for a rough ride on November 12.