PACQUIAO WATCH: Sacrificing speed for power

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 27 Nov) – Reports from the training camp of Juan Manuel Marquez say the Mexican is bulking up and now more into weights to add power to his lethal punches.

If accurate, this can only mean he is either giving up chasing Manny Pacquiao atop the ring when they collide for the fourth time in 12 days from now or his camp sees the only way to victory is for Marquez to reduce the judges into irrelevance by going all in – score a knockout.

I have always been told that lifting weights will make one stronger but there is also a downside to it if you are into the sports of boxing. Prolonged weight lifting will make a boxer’s muscles stiff and lose their dexterity, some trainers are saying. In short, it will have some memory effect to the muscles.

When Manny moved up in weight to challenge David Diaz, he was introduced to a more rigid training regimen that, instead of muscling up, took advantage of his already superior skill levels – improving on his speed even more through intense plyometric exercise. The results were not only impressive. They were spectacular against a lumbering Diaz, devastating against a washed up Oscar de la Hoya, lethal against Ricky Hatton and merciless versus Miguel Angel Cotto.

In his last three fights, however, Pacquiao is said to have eased on the plyometric component of his training. As a result, he was remarkably slower against Shane Mosley, Marquez (in their third fight) and in a recent controversial loss to Timothy Bradley.

I can only empathize with the camp of Juan Manuel Marquez. The Mexican and his team knew that it is futile to match steps with Pacquiao. They also saw how Pacquiao ate the best punches of Marquez but never went down. They long ago realized that Pacquiao, because of his trademark style and coupled with Marquez’s skill set, is very hittable. Trouble is no one has even knocked Pacquiao down since losing his flyweight title to Medgoen Singsurat in 1999.

So packing more power to his punches is likely the reason why Marquez is beefing up his muscles.

Team Pacquiao already has a battle plan in their minds. And they see no other way around but regain some, if not all, of his lost speed.

Although he has not scored a knockout victory in his last fight, it is disastrous to dismiss outright Pacquiao’s power as a vanishing weapon.

Boxers tend to be economical as they add years to their boxing life. But the power will still be there. When one becomes reckless against Pacquiao’s power, he will commit a devastating mistake.

Just ask Ricky Hatton.

(Edwin G. Espejo writes for