The fight to end all fights unfolds today
LAS VEGAS–Manny Pacquiao’s aggression against Juan Manuel Marquez’s anticipation.
The Filipino hero’s sudden lunges and explosive combinations against the Mexican icon’s calculated, well-timed counter-punches.
This contrasting styles will define Pacquiao-Marquez 4, unless Marquez lives up to his promise to engage his two-time tormentor in brutal battle on Saturday ( Sunday in Manila) at the MGM Grand Arena here.
For Pacquiao, an attacking Marquez will be most welcome. The eight-division world champion wants Marquez to engage toe-to-toe so as to erase lingering doubts about the legitimacy of his victories in their rematch in 2004 and Pacquiao-Marquez 3 in 2008.
But if Marquez, again goes on defensive mode, Pacquiao vows to press on and put constant pressure through bunches of punches.
Approaching 34, Pacquiao wants to show that the speed and the power are still there. That he can still knock guys out after failing to do so in his last five bouts, even absorbing a shocking loss to Timothy Bradley last June 9.
Other than shutting Marquez’s mouth, Pacquiao has another compelling reason to win decisively. He wants to give some joy to his countrymen who are reeling from the devastation wreaked by Super Typhoon Pablo.
Pacquiao, deeply touched by news that hundreds have died and hundreds more are missing, reiterated his pledge to help the victims during the official weigh-in Friday, in which he checked in at a full 147 pounds. Marquez boarded the scales first and registered 143.
“I symphatize with the victims of the calamity,” said Pacquiao. “I’m dedicating this fight to the Filipinos affected by the storm.”
A 17-year ring veteran who started as a 106-pounder, Pacquiao boasts a 54-win, 4-loss, 2-draw card, including 38 knockouts. He held titles as a flyweight (112), super bantam (122), featherweight (126), super feather (130), lightweight (135), light welter (140), welter (147) and super welter (154).
For his part, the 39-year-old Marquez, 54-6-1 with 39 knockouts, said “there’s gonna be war.”
Being the live gate king as well as premier PPV attraction, Pacquiao has been guaranteed $23 million, according to Top Rank CEO and Pacquiao-Marquez 4 promoter Bob Arum.
With the bout a sellout and pay-per-view sales going strong, Pacquiao can earn as much as $30 million with his share in PPV, ticket sales, foreign television closed-circuit.
While no official title is at stake, the World Boxing Organization, through its president, Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel will be awarding the winner with the “WBO Champion of the Decade” belt.
Having downed Marquez four times, including one in the third round of their return bout, Pacquio has been installed as favorite by oddsmakers in this glitzy, gambling and entertainment city.
Pacquiao is at -260 while Marquez is at +210. Simply put, a $260 bet on Pacquiao would net just $100 while a $100 wager on Marquez would return $210.
Officiating Pacquiao-Marquez 4 are referee Kenny Bayless and judges Adelaide Byrd, Steve Weisfeld and John Keane. /inquirer