Saturday November 12th
The Fighting Congressman, Manny Pacquiao (53-3-2), will take on his oldest rival, Mexican warrior Juan Manuel Marquez (53-5-1), for the WBO welterweight title!
This is the best real rivalry in boxing (as opposed to the fake talk rivalry between Pacquaio and Floyd Mayweather Jr.). It goes all the way back to 2004 when Pacquiao and Marquez fought for the WBA and IBF featherweight world titles. Marquez, a natural lightweight fighter, fought Pacquiao to a controversial draw. Many believe he should have won the bout outright. The two fought again in 2008 but their rematch solved nothing: Pacquiao won by a narrow split decision. Like the first time, many believed that Marquez was the true victor.
So, what will the third rendition of this fight look like? The odds are now squarely in Pacquiao's favor. Marquez is far older at 37 than he was in either of their previous two fights. While he remains in amazing condition, age will take its toll over twelve rounds with "the Fighting Congressman." More importantly, their first two fights were at featherweight, which is Marquez's natural class. Pacquiao fought well in the lightweight ranks but he is a true welterweight.
The last time Marquez ventured up to the welterweight class, he lost a one-sided decision to Floyd Mayweather Jr. In the fight, the small, light Marquez was simply outgunned by Mayweather. This fight is at the same 144 pound catchweight so it is difficult to predict that Marquez will have all of his natural speed and elusiveness. So, Pacquiao can still match Marquez's speed and slipperiness but he will have the added advantage of natural weight.
Look for Pacquiao to pound Marquez from the opening bell. This is personal rivalry driven by mutual respect but Pacquiao wants to prove, once and for all, that he is the better fighter than Marquez. If he can dominate him in this fight, that will become the prevailing opinion that goes in the history books. For his part, Marquez will attack Pacquiao from the get-go with his typical warrior's style but it may not be enough. The Philippine Destroyer should win this fight by unanimous decision!
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