By Ludwig O. Daza
There is something wrong and right in my fights with Marquez, and the third fight will correct the wrong, said Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao in a press conference in New York to promote his upcoming, and possibly the last fight with “Dinamita” Juan Manuel Marquez, considering his firm resolve to erase all doubts as can be gleaned from his behavior towards Juan Manuel Marquez, right from the kick off promotion in Manila.
Freddie Roach said they’re going for a knockout. I believe there will be a knockout, but it will come in the last four rounds, contrary to Roach’s prediction that the knockout will happen in the middle rounds. I think Manny will make Marquez suffer first before delivering the coup de grace. Don’t be surprised if the corner people of Marquez throw in a towel just like what transpired in Manny’s fight with Barrera the first time.
The businesslike approach that Manny is showing in this trilogy is totally different from his previous fights where Manny was friendly with his foes. In Manila, where Top Rank’s kicked off the promotion for the fight, Pacquiao’s attitude towards Marquez was sinister, and this continued across the Pacific in the second leg of the promotion in New York: Could it be that a Pacific Storm that is Pacquiao is brewing and looming large in Marquez’s horizon, about to unleash its fury come November 12?
That Marquez was robbed in their last two fights; that Marquez has Pacquiao’s number; that Marquez lasted the distance in their two fights; that some pundits are considering their fights as controversial; that he allowed Marquez to recover his wits in their first fight; that he got wobbled by Marquez in their second fight: These are the wrongs that Pacquiao intends to correct in November 12 in Las Vegas.
I think the “right” that Manny is suggesting is that he won both fights.
But the worst “wrong” that Manny intends to correct is the disrespect that Marquez showed Manny the first time he came to Manila with the end in view of provoking Manny to fight him. Emblazoned in Marquez’s shirt are the words “I beat Pacman twice”. This is the single wrong that needs to be corrected the most. To be disrespected in his own country whose denizens consider him as their national fist, a congressman to the people of Sarangani, a hero to many, surely Manny has by now thought of a punishment that needs to be meted out to avenge the disrespect: A slow demise of self-worth on the part of Marquez.
That Manny is training like he never trained before, that he is punching harder than the big guys that Freddie Roach trained for the Olympic team, and his statement that he is ready to fight even weeks before the fight are telltale signs that Marquez will be in for a big surprise. No more Mr. Nice Guy!
Marquez is a great tactician and a superb counter-puncher, but he is slow; Proof is the numerous knockdowns he suffered from the Pacman. The added pounds will make him a lot slower.
Michael Katsidis was bull strong but wilted in the pressure of Marquez, Joel Casamayor was a good boxer and counterpuncher but older and slower than Marquez, Juan Diaz was amateurish amid the Marquez’s onslaught. These are worthy opponents, but do you think they would have had an iota of chance against any of the last five opponents of the Pacman?
It’s hard to imagine that any of Marquez’s victims would pose a threat to any of Pacman’s opponents, such as De la Hoya, Cotto, Clottey, Margarito, and Mosley.
Since their last fight, Pacquiao’s star has skyrocketed, proving that his power and speed are of welterweight class, whereas Marquez’ skills have plummeted as he rises in weight class.
This coming Sunday would be another special day, especially for boxing fans in the Philippines, but the feeling will be similar to November days of past years that Pacquiao made his conquests in the ring – a feeling of great expectation.
A typical Pacquaio-fight day in the streets of Metro Manila will start with busyness among the boxing fans. Household chores will have to be finished at least an hour before the fight. Even after sleeping late by watching all news relative to the fight, they will wake up early to soak up the atmosphere in the streets that is slowly getting restive and festive as time ticks towards the actual fight time.
Hours before the fight, people would flock to public arena where bigger screen and pay per viewing are made available free, courtesy of local politicos. Some would prefer the coziness of their homes and movie houses, rather than endure the smell of human sweat that permeates jampacked arenas, sacrificing in the process the thrill that comes with watching among a multitude of people whose cacophony of sounds seemed to come from a distant place and time, when gladiators evoke the same sounds from the bloodthirsty spectators.
Araneta Coliseum, the venue of “Thrilla in Manila” and “Pacquiao vs. Larios fight,” where big cube screen are positioned to approximate viewing similar to that in the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, would be filled to the rafters. People from all walks of life are packed like sardines in the uppermost part of the stadium that an elbow room would be hard to find.
By the time Michael Buffer announces the protagonists, streets in Manila would be virtually empty – stray dogs and cats outnumber the humans, while movie houses showing the fight live are swelling with people, raking in profits like blockbuster movie is being shown.
Now that Pacquiao has gotten so big, his fight schedules have become a pattern, happening only twice a year and only in the months of May and November. That his fights have become too few and far between have made us ponder of the time he will finally ride into the sunset. No more trepidation in anticipation of the fight, no more festive mood before and after the fight, and no more November rain. . . of punches.
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