SAN DIEGO, December 7, 2012 – A capacity crowd of 5,500 for the weigh-in Friday at the MGM Grand Hotel represented the anticipation building over the match up between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez on Saturday night.
These men are no strangers to each other or to the fans. After 36 rounds, experts and fans seem nearly evenly divided as to which fighter has prevailed over the other over the past eight years. The statistics for these two are nearly dead even, but the record in the series goes to Manny Pacquiao with two decisions plus a draw.
Observers are trying to read the tea leaves and get clues from wherever they can to predict the outcome Saturday. Seeing the fighters weigh in is the last opportunity to weigh the sum of their physical as well as their mental preparation.
Juan Manuel Marquez (54-6-1, 39 KOs) stepped on the scale first, taking his time to strip off his gear. He left on what appeared to be a heavy gold necklace, and he must have needed those last few ounces it to hit 143 pounds even, well under the 147-pound limit. Marquez is coming up in weight and this was not unexpected.
Manny Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KOs) stepped on the scale, flexed a bit for the fans, and hit right at the 147-pounds. He did not seem to acknowledge the crowd. Meanwhile, Marquez was waving and encouraging fan reaction.
Despite being smaller, Marquez appeared to be the bigger man. He has added impressive upper body muscle to his frame as he’s come up in weight for this fight. His core and abs were ripped. There have been whispers about exactly how he achieved this build-up, including skepticism from Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach. Roach now says he was joking about it in an interview prior to the weigh-in. “I meant no harm by that. But he is very big… I think it helps us, I think it will slow him down. A counter puncher doesn’t work off muscle, he works off timing.”
Marquez’ trainer Nacho Berestain says Marquez has simply trained hard and spent more time weight training. “We hope it will be a difference. He has the size, the strength and the muscles, but he does come in very fast,” said Berestain.
Pacquiao has always appeared leaner for his size and weight. He maintains a leaner physique, which maximizes his speed and agility while not sacrificing power. Standing next to Timothy Bradley prior to their fight in May at the same weight of 147 pounds, Pacquiao appeared smaller to the ripped Bradley in the same way he did today next to Marquez.
Prior to posing for photos, Marquez encouraged the crowd and was far more demonstrative than the stoic Pacquiao. As the pair engaged in the tradition stare down, Marquez appeared focused and determined. I can’t write what here what appeared to be going through his mind – a mild version is “I’m going to finally whip you.” Pacquiao appeared slightly amused, as if to say “Fine, bring it.”
In the post weigh-in interview with HBO, Marquez repeated the comment he’s made about this fight numerous times: it’s going to be a war. “We prepared for it four months. We’re coming in with lots of intelligence and very well prepared.” Marquez said it might not be his biggest fight but it’s the most important one.
After expressed concern for the victims of the devastating typhoon that recently struck the Philippines, dedicating the fight to them, Pacquiao said, “I have to focus this fight. At training camp we did all our best in training. I’m ready for the fights.”
The weigh-ins for the undercard fights had all of the boxers making weight. Yuriorkis Gamboa and Michael Farenas both weighted 130 pounds,
Yuriorkis Gamboa (21-0, 16 KOs) of Florida via Cuba and Michael Farenas (34-3-4-1, 26 KOs) of the Philippines both hit the scale at 130 pounds for their super featherweight fight. Farenas is three inches taller and appeared rangy next to Gamboa.
Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta of San Diego puts a perfect record of 26-0-1 with 14 KOs against the experienced Miguel Angel Vasquez (31-3, 13 KOs) of Mexico. Vasquez weighed 134, Gesta 135 for their lightweight bout.
Things got a little hot between Javier Fortuna (20-0-0-1, 15 KOs) of California and Patrick Hyland (27-0, 12 KOs) of Ireland during their stare down, with both weighing 126 pounds for their 12-round featherweight fight.
Tonight the training and the talking are done. The speculation may continue and the predictions will continue to fly. In less than 24 hours, Pacquiao and Marquez will settle it all in the ring at the MGM Grand Arena on Saturday, December 8, 9 p.m. Eastern/6 p.m. Pacific, airing on HBO pay-per-view. Communities at Washington Times will host a live chat so you can catch all the action with us starting with the undercard bouts.
NEXT: Read our prediction for Pacquiao-Marquez IV here in Communities on Saturday.
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.
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