Boxing royalty: Pacquiao and Marquez prep for Saturday showdown

When you say Frazier, you think Ali. When you say Manny Pacquiao, you think Juan Manuel Marquez. Their fourth face off happens Saturday. Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank

SAN DIEGO, December 6, 2012 – The first three fights between Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines and Juan Manuel Marquez of Mexico haven’t settled anything between them.

After a draw between the pair in their first fight at featherweight in 2004, then a split decision for Pacquiao in 2008, the third fight in November 2011 was supposed to decide the rivalry. But all the unanimous decision for Pacquiao did was generate more questions about whether Pacquiao is losing his focus and whether Marquez got robbed of the victory, which he did in my opinion.

Now Fight Week 2012 has arrived and we are days away from Pacquiao-Marquez IV, arguably the biggest boxing event of 2012 if you’re talking about audience and money. The fighters arrived in Las Vegas from their respective camps on Tuesday, and held their final pre-fight news conference Wednesday. It’s all in anticipation of Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez IV at the MGM Grand Arena on Saturday, December 8, 9 p.m. Eastern/6 p.m. Pacific on HBO pay-per-view. Communities at Washington Times will host a live chat so you can catch all the action with us.

Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KOs), chose to meet his longtime nemesis Marquez (54-6-1, 39 KOs) for the fourth time rather than go after a rematch with Timothy Bradley Jr., who beat Pacquiao in a controversial split decision in May. Though Pacquiao officially leads Marquez in the series, he has left much doubt in the minds of fans.

Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez fought to a disputed decision in favor of Pacquiao in November 2011. The fourth fight in their series is scheduled Saturday, December 8, in Las Vegas. Photo: Associated Press.

Many believe Marquez won at least two if not all three fights, especially the last fight in November 2011. Even Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach expressed concerns about Pacquiao’s lack of preparation and tremendous distractions in his personal and political life. You could see Roach breathe a sigh of relief when Pacquiao escaped with the victory. It seemed as if the honest to a fault Roach wasn’t quite sure his fighter earned the win.

After that lackluster effort against Marquez, Pacquiao was supposed to enjoy an easy victory over Bradley, but we all know how that turned out. The Bradley victory created a major uproar on many levels.

So despite this being the fourth meeting between the pair, motivations exist and are real on both sides. Pacquiao needs a definitive victory here against Marquez, not another controversial decision. He needs it not only to prove his victories over Marquez were the real deal, he needs it to prove he’s still in the game of boxing at the highest levels both physically and mentally. He needs an unquestioned win if he is every going to make every fan’s dream fight with Floyd Mayweather become reality.

For his part, Marquez knows a knockout victory will validate all of his previous fights against Pacquiao and will ensure his name is written large in the boxing history books.

The rivalry between the pair is quite real in the ring, and they have become tied to each other over the years. “When you say Frazier, you think Muhammed Ali. When you say Manny Pacquiao, you think Marquez, and when you say Marquez, you think Pacquiao,” said the Filipino superstar.

Manny Pacquiao is mobbed by fans and the news media upon his arrival at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas on Tuesday, December 4. Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank

Boxing heads are asking all the same questions. I’m not sure they’ll be answered. Both fighters have vowed to get a knockout to end the debate once and for all. If either Pacquiao or Marquez fail to produce one this time, then they should not complain no matter what outcome is determined by the judges.

Both fighters and both of their trainers say they’ve worked extremely hard. Roach says Pacquiao has scored four knockdowns in sparring for the first time ever during a training camp. Marquez’ muscular appearance speaks to his serious training and his effort to build strength as he fights in a heavier weight class than ever before at 147 pounds. That’s 22 pounds more than the pair’s first fight eight years ago.

Juan Manuel Marquez is one of Mexico’s most popular athletes, with plenty of fans north of the border. Many greeted him on his arrival in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Hotel on Tuesday, December 4. Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank

This fight will end up being like other contests if there isn’t a significant change in tactics or training. It’s hard to imagine two veteran boxers changing things up much at this point. The fight will still present plenty of action, but fans don’t want to be arguing over the judges’ decision - again. Manny Pacquiao of all boxers should not want the outcome to go to the scorecards. See Bradley, Timothy Jr.

At the press conference, Pacquiao said “I love this rivalry… He (Marquez) needs to prove something. I’m ready for that.”

“I want to give another great fight. Manny Pacquiao knows me. I know him. This will be another war,” said Marquez.

Will we ever see again the Manny Pacquiao who dropped Ricky Hatton with ease in 2009, who dominated opponents on the way to a 54-4-2 record? Fans hope so, because anticipation is still alive of someday seeing the long awaited super fight between Pacquiao and Mayweather.

Casual fans know only a few big names in boxing, two of the few being Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather. Much of the interest in the Pacquiao-Marquez IV fight for them comes down to knowing the role it plays in whether we ever see a Pacquiao vs. Mayweather fight.

We will see how the fighters shape up at Friday’s weigh-in, which will be carried live on HBO at 5:30 p.m Eastern/2:30 p.m. Pacific Time, and also on a 70-foot high screen in Times Square in New York. Let’s hope the boxers don’t look more like King Kong vs. Godzilla.


Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Media Migraine in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +


Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities at” when quoting from or linking to this story.   



Copyright © 2012 by Falcon Valley Group

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Gayle Falkenthal

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, MS, APR, is President of the Falcon Valley Group, a San Diego based communications consulting firm. Falkenthal is a veteran award winning broadcast and print journalist, editor, producer, talk host and commentator. She is an instructor at National University in San Diego, and previously taught in the School of Journalism & Media Studies at San Diego State University.


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