STRENGTHS: Elite hand and foot speed, KO power in both hands but especially the left. Southpaw stance, throws fast combinations from all angles. Ability to get in and out and outmaneuver opponents. Likes to exchange. Underrated defense and boxing skills. Reliable chin.
WEAKNESSES: Noticeable decline over his last few bouts, particularly in the stamina department. Fights more and more in spurts and coasts in the late rounds. Distractions outside the ring may have diminished his fire inside of it.
KEYS TO VICTORY: Must be the aggressor and take the fight to Marquez. Don’t try to be the counter puncher; use furious offense to overwhelm Marquez. Must take big risks, even to the point of taking two in order to land one. Don’t neglect the body. Don’t hesitate, don’t be deterred by Marquez’s sneaky but powerless lead rights. Don’t allow Marquez to step on his lead foot.
JUAN MANUEL MARQUEZ
STRENGTHS: Excellent counter puncher, ring intelligence. Good timing, smart footwork. Extremely focused, doesn’t stray from game plan. Can brawl when necessary. Unrivaled determination to win.
WEAKNESSES: 39 years old. Lacks power at welterweight. Seems to have a greater tendency to swell up around the eyes. Vulnerable in the early goings, has suffered knockdowns against different types of opponents.
KEYS TO VICTORY: Do not underestimate Pacquiao and don’t get overconfident. Don’t let the fight turn into a brawl. Take more chances but don’t get reckless. Do not force a knockout. Straight rights to the body. Stay low and do not stay in front of Pacquiao.
I believe that Pacquiao made a huge mistake in his last fight with Marquez by trying too hard to look the part of the “new and improved” Pacquiao. It was his whirlwind offense that gave Marquez troubles the first two times and I think Pacquiao realizes this. I also think that Marquez fought as perfect a fight as he is capable of fighting against Pacquiao and was only able to do so because of Pacquiao’s more “refined” approach.
The one thing that doesn’t bode well for Marquez is that in their last meeting, he was unable to hurt Pacquiao. He frustrated him and neutralized his offense, but Pacquiao was clearly the stronger, which wasn’t truly the case in their first two bouts. While Pacquiao was able to score multiple knockdowns against Marquez, Marquez also hurt Pacquiao on numerous occasions. The third fight was a game of cat and mouse and Pacquiao stalked all night long and left the ring unmarked.
I have little doubt that if Pacquiao decides to try to overpower Marquez, he will succeed in doing so. Marquez doesn’t have the firepower to keep a determined Pacquiao off of him, at least not the Pacquiao who doesn’t care about what the public might say should he get hit a lot and take a few lumps. If Pacquiao gets over himself and reverts back to his all-out aggressive style, he will make quick work of JMM. Pacquiao by TKO within 6 rounds