SAN DIEGO, December 8, 2012 – Will we witness boxing history tonight? Yes, one way or another.
Tonight’s fight between boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao and his longtime rival Juan Manuel Marquez could be the fight that history looks back on as the definitive fight of either man’s career in the ring.
A clear Pacquiao victory would quiet his critics and concerned fans alike, and perhaps sets up the big showdown with Floyd Mayweather fans have dreamed about.
If Marquez prevails, he will shout down the doubters and vindicate those who believe he was robbed of at least one victory against Pacquiao. He will be at the peak of his long career, and at age 39 could go out on top, or perhaps look for one last big payday himself.
True fans of the Sweet Science are counting down the hours. And so are we at Communities. Join our live fight chat online covering the action for you right here starting with the undercard fights at 9 p.m. Eastern, 6 p.m. Pacific Time, with the main event scheduled at approximately 11 p.m. Eastern, 8 p.m. Pacific.
Time for this columnist to take a stand, make her call on keys to the fight, and which man I predict will prevail.
Keys for Manny Pacquiao
- Pacquiao must force Marquez to react, then take advantage of openings
- Pacquiao needs to land combinations
- Pacquiao cannot leave himself vulnerable to body shots
- Pacquiao must stay focused and not let his foot off the gas
Pacquiao is superior in speed and movement to Marquez. When moving forward and directing the action, he will always appear the superior fighter in control against a classic counter puncher like Marquez. If Marquez cannot hurt Manny early and the fight goes the distance with Pacquiao minimizing any obvious damage, he will get the nod on the scorecards.
But in his last few fights, Pacquiao seems to have been counting on this and letting his foot off the gas in later rounds when he thinks he has the fight in the bag. It irritates his fans and by now, it may be irritating the judges, too. They know his history. They hear the buzz. He needs to hurt Marquez and make him pay. That’s what the fans and the judges want to see.
Pacquiao needs to move and strike quickly. Speed is Pacquiao’s friend. If Marquez has sacrificed speed for power with his upper body muscular development, Pacquiao can take advantage of this and play cobra to the mongoose. He may not take the mongoose out, but he should be able to strike and wound him, leaving him hurt and fading.
Keys for Juan Manuel Marquez
Marquez needs to get busy early and not let Pacquiao win early rounds easy
- Marquez must show some aggression and ring generalship, but he must do so without leaving himself vulnerable to Pacquiao’s attack
- Marquez needs to go to the body of Pacquiao, and use his strength to wear down and slow down Pacquiao
- If Pacquiao is going to go for a knockout, Marquez needs to watch for openings to unleash counterpunch combinations including powerful right/left hooks
- Marquez needs to feed off the fans
Marquez is the classic counterpunching fighter. He lets opponents come to him and makes them pay the price for it. When he can do serious damage with a knockout or knockdown, it works for him. But with an aggressive, snappy fighter like Pacquiao, Marquez is penalized when the fight goes to the judges’ scorecard for being too reactive instead of proactive. JuanMa needs to show some initiative, try to score early and try to wear out Pacquiao without leaving himself vulnerable. If he can do this, he has the chance to knock Pacquiao down in the later rounds, when it will make a powerful impression on the judges, as well as the fans.
The crowd at the MGM Grand Arena is likely to be full of Mexican fans. Marquez should drink it in and let their encouragement motivate him.
Prediction: I expect the fight to go the distance. Bboth fighters have differing yet equivalent strengths and tremendous skills. It’s going to boil down to motivation. The body wants to quit long before the mind does. Who can marshal his will and motivation more? Who wants it more?
Pacquiao’s focus is his main vulnerability. He doesn’t seem to have the killer instinct he did against Hatton, Cotto, or De La Hoya in the past. He seems content to get the job done. It won’t wash tonight. Marquez seems far more motivated and seems to have put more work in overall. Fights are won in the gym, and Marquez has clearly trained as hard as he’s ever trained in his life. I’m calling this one in a unanimous decision for Juan Manuel Marquez.
As a postscript, I don’t think a Marquez victory would be in the overall long term best interests of boxing. Manny Pacquiao is a household name, an athletic superstar the world over and the one boxer most people came name. A win for Manny would stop the grumbling, and potentially set up him for the payday of his life before he says goodbye to the sport of boxing forever. I am a tremendous admirer of Pacquiao the boxer and Pacquiao the man. My heart would love to see Pacquiao triumph. My head says Marquez won’t let it happen.
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 +
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