PACQUIAO WATCH: Slim to none

GENERAL SANTOS CITY  (MindaNews/12 Nov) — Juan Manuel Marquez is probably the only person who seriously believes he will win tomorrow against arch nemesis Manny Pacquiao, whom he will be fighting for the third time.

Even his long time trainer and mentor Nacho Beristain is conceding Marquez is facing a different and a far more polished Pacquiao than the Mexican last fought in 2008.

That alone speaks volume.

The oddsmakers in Las Vegas aren’t giving Marquez much sympathy, either.  With the odds pegged at as much 10-1 against Marquez, you would think tomorrow’s bets are actually one way tickets to Marquez’ ‘funeral.’

Pacquiao has turned the tables on Marquez, physically at least.

He is now the bigger fighter, although he carries only a slim one pound advantage over Marquez during today’s official weigh in.

Pacquiao, boxing experts and analysts say, is now at his best fighting weight ever, meeting the 144-pound catch weight limit with ease.  He has been fighting north of 140 pounds comfortably over the last three years and chopping off bigger and stronger foes en route to being proclaimed the best pound for pound fighter in boxing today.

In addition, he has improved tremendously as a boxer with an underrated defense.

Summing up, the Filipino is several notches above his featherweight days, skills-wise.  And he has not lost those heavy punches, mind you.

Marquez, meanwhile, is stuck in two or three weight classes under Pacquiao’s fighting weight and has not faced the same quality opponents that the Filipino made easy work out with.  Except for Floyd Mayweather Jr to whom Marquez lost miserably while fighting as a bloated lightweight.  But Mayweather has not been tested against Pacquiao, by his (American) own choice.

For all of Marquez’s vaunted technical skills and reputation as a powerful and calculating powerful counter puncher, he repeatedly makes mistakes and has been on the canvass in as many times one can remember.

He went down against Marco Antonio Barrera (although the referee ruled it a slip), Michael Katsidis and Floyd Mayweather.  He found himself in trouble against Juan Diaz (first fight) and Joel Casamayor.

Of course, he hit the canvass four times against Pacquiao in their first two fights.

Marquez, along with Erik Morales (first fight), were the only boxers that gave Pacquiao plenty of troubles.

But that was 15 or so pounds ago.

Although Marquez has incredibly muscled up for this fight, many are not convinced he still got what bit takes to beat Pacquiao.  In fact, he may have given up some speed that is pivotal in avoiding another crushing knockdown against Pacquiao.  A knockdown he may not be able to survive this time.

Marquez may still have a chinaman’s chance.  After all, this is boxing.  But it is like saying his chances of winning is slim to none. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Edwin G. Espejo writes for asiancorrespondent.com)

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