PACQUIAO WATCH: It’s personal this time

Marquez made it very clear that he is fighting for his native land Mexico and to avenge a string of Mexican fighters who all tasted defeats in the hands of his gritty Filipino challenger.

That is an obvious incentive to hype up Marquez' determination to settle his unfinished business with Pacquiao.

Strangely enough, Manny has toned down his referral of the rematch with Marquez as a clash between two former colonies of Spain.

For Manny, Sunday's title fight is very personal.

No boxer has ever taunted and belittled Pacquiao's ringmanship than Marquez and his coach Nacho Beristain.

For that, Pacquiao has never prepared so diligently since his breakout performance against Marco Antonio Barrera some five years ago.

From those different perspectives alone, expect a very close and spirited fight between the top two boxers in the super featherweight division today.

For Manny, a resounding victory means a shot at boxing history and a chance to dislodge long time tenant atop the list of the world's pound for pound best boxer, Floyd Mayweather Jr.

No fighter has ever won boxing titles in the flyweight and super featherweight division in more than 100 years of professional boxing. And no professional Asian boxer has ever held titles in three weight categories. Manny will also be putting at stake his winning record against Mexican boxers. His only loss against Latino boxers was to Erik Morales.

But he had since exacted revenge twice over.

Another added incentive for Pacquiao is the realm of possibility that he could one day become the first ever Filipino boxer to amass over a billion pesos in purse for a single fight.

With only three more years before the scars of many fights will take their toll on him, Manny cannot afford to let his guard down and lose to Marquez in a decisive fashion.

Come to think of these.

Except for his upset loss to Rustico Torrecampo where he got careless, his other losses were clouded by handicaps atop and outside the ring.

When he lost by knockout to Medgoen Singsurat, he was already stripped of his flyweight title for failing to meet the weight limit. He was visibly and physically drained when he climbed the ring.

When he lost to Morales in their first fight, he was fighting with practically one eye after suffering a nasty cut on his right eyebrow in the fifth round, courtesy of a headbutt ruled by the referee as caused by a legit punch. He was also made to wear a glove not to his liking, no thanks to his former promoter Muhammad Murad.

When he drew with Marquez in their first bout, he sprained his left hand in the second round and suffered a coin purse size blister on his right toe.

Marquez and his camp may say these were just excuses.

To dispute and disprove that, he will have to outdo himself against Pacquiao on Sunday. (Edwin G. Espejo was former editor in chief of SunStar GenSan).