LAS VEGAS (NV) — For the third time in his boxing career, pound-for-pound king Manny ‘Pacman’ Pacquiao faces his Mexican opponent Juan Manuel Marquez tonight at the MGA Grand Arena in this town.
Pacquiao and Marquez have met twice, once in 2004 and again in 2008. Pacquiao dropped Marquez three times in the first round of the 2004 fight, but it ended as a draw. Many believed that Pacquaio should have won at that time had not one judge scorecard left one point off of Pacquaio’s total. In 2008, Pacquiao again put Marquez on the canvas and eventually won a controversial split-decision.
At a pre-fight weigh-in, Pacquaio tipped the scales at 143 pounds while Marquez weigh in at 142. The WBO welterweight Championship bout is at a catchweight of 144 pounds.
In an interview with newsmen in Manila while he was there in July, Marquez said: “I’ll go for the kill or die trying”. Many pundits say that Marquez may really mean what he said when the two meet tonight.
Pacquaio is guaranteed $22 million plus a share of the pay-per-view take which Top Rank boss Bob Arum said could come in around $30 million. On the other hand, Marquez is guaranteed $5 million with up to $5 million more for the pay-per-view share.
“I need to do my best in the ring so people are impressed with my performance. I don’t want to disappoint so we will do our best. We’ve trained hard and are ready for the fight,” Pacquaio said.
Pacquaio (53-3-2, with 38 KOs) who turns 33 in December has a bit of a problem lately. His wife, Jinky, is reportedly still angry about her discovery of her husband allegedly siring a child with another woman, much younger than she is. Pacquaio handlers adeptly deflected such “distraction” and advised Pacquaio to focus on this fight.
Marquez (53-5-1, with 39 KOs) is 38 years old. Some fightwatchers say they’ve detected slippage in his recent bouts. They opine Marquez didn’t look at his best when he took on Floyd Mayweather in September 2009. His backers were quick to brush this off saying it was a weight issue. That fight was contested at junior welterweight/welterweight. Marquez came in at 142 pounds. They didn’t like the extra poundage on Marquez’s 5-foot-7 frame against Mayweather.
Pacquiao and Marquez met at featherweight in their first tangle, and at super feather (130 or less) in their second. Pacquiao has held titles in a record eight different weight classes, and has looked completely in his element while fighting as welterweight (147 and under).
This bout will be fought at a “catchweight” of 144 pounds or less, so many believe Pacquiao has that edge heading into the third episode of their rivalry.