This Saturday the saga between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez will have its fourth chapter in Las Vegas. Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 knockouts) has won the last two battles by decision, while the first encounter ended in a draw.
Pacquiao may look to put on a more convincing show after his stunning defeat to Timothy Bradley in June, as well as the criticism regarding the official scoring in his last encounter with the Mexican star. For Marquez (54-6-1, 39 knockouts), it will be another opportunity to get the judges to finally see the fight his way.
Can Pacquiao—who turns 34 this month—still perform as he did in their first two fights? Will the passage of time become more noticeable in the 39-year-old Marquez? What does each fighter have to do to come away with the win on Saturday?
Pacquiao-Marquez will have different approaches
The Filipino star might not need to change much. In general, he has been the busier fighter and has managed to stay upright in the first three fights.
His quickness and movement might be decreasing but are still superior to Marquez’s. This has helped not just his actual performance but also its perception—he often appears to the judges to be the aggressor, as Marquez has waited to counterpunch.
Top Rank chief Bob Arum said he expects both fighters will look for the knockout. I don’t think Pacquiao would risk it, however. He has too much respect for Marquez’s intelligence, experience and counterpunching ability.
But Pacquiao could show more head and upper body movement than in the third bout. If he improves on that front while retaining his effective aggression, he will come out with another victory by decision.
“Dinamita” does not have one-punch knockout power, particularly in this weight class. Although he has hurt Pacquiao in their past fights, he has never been able to put him down. That won’t change this time.
But he has repeatedly been able to decipher Pacquiao’s style. So it may very well be to his advantage if Pacquiao comes out more aggressive early, as Marquez can pick him apart with his counterpunching skills.
Throughout this rivalry, most of Marquez’s troubles have occurred in the early rounds. If he can reverse that trend on Saturday and keep Pacquiao at bay, he will be on his way to getting his hand raised after the final bell.