GENERAL SANTOS CITY (18 July) — If Juan Manuel Marquez thinks his one-round demolition of unknown Likar Ramos will boost his stock and confidence when he fights nemesis Manny Pacquiao in November, he is dead wrong.
The Colombian did not even make him sweat.
If it was a tune-up fight for the ageing Mexican warrior, Marquez got shortchanged. Or, maybe the other way around. The people who watched him were certainly at the shorter end of the bargain.
Marquez, in his prime, was one of the best pure boxing technicians ever, combining hand speed and power to compensate for his lack of lateral movements.
He is one of the puzzles that Pacquiao had difficulties piecing together. They have fought twice before – both ending in close if not controversial fashions. Otherwise this third and, heavens forbid, last meeting should not be necessary at all.
They last fought in 2008 for Marquez’s WBC super featherweight title which was won by Pacquiao via split decision. Thirteen fights between them later; they still are a hot commodity. Not because they really needed this trilogy but rather because Pacquiao has ran out of marquee challengers. Oh, there is one out there but he walks like a duck and quacks like a duck in ducking the Filipino boxing idol who is now a legend even before his time.
While Marquez continues to be a force in the lightweight division, father time is fast catching up with him. It’s only a matter of time before the likes of Brandon Rios and Robert Guerrero get his number. Even Jorge Linares could give him fits. Losing big time to any one of them before he gets a third fight with Pacquiao is not his option. He’d rather lose one last time against Pacquiao and collect his retirement pay than suffer the ignominy of losing to some upstarts.
Anybody who went down four times against an opponent will have that baggage deep inside him especially when those came when Pacquiao was mightily waging his own war against the scales. Just review the weigh-in photos in the two fights they did before and you can see who looks more emaciated than a zombie. Juxtapose them when Pacquiao fought the likes of Antonio Margarito, Miguel Cotto and Shane Mosley.
As Coach Freddie Roach often says, he likes it when Manny is smiling at the scales.
Not only has Manny grown big and is comfortably settled with his current weight. He has morphed into a complete boxer. All the while, he has not missed his speed a bit. Nobody in the welterweight division can match his speed and agility at present, throw in Floyd Mayweather Jr. if you want.
Marquez likes to think this third Pacquiao fight is his one last shot at glory.
Many think this is one for the sunset.
Marquez is fooling himself if he thinks he can still connect with those rapid counters on a consistent basis. If a severely dehydrated lightweight Pacquiao can knock him down four times, there is no question a comfortable welterweight can finally put him to sleep for good the next time around.
Marquez can fool himself no end. (Edwin G. Espejo writes for www.asiancorrespondent.com)