No question about it, Manny Pacquiao needs to do something different, something new—if possible—please.
This, of course, may not be the case with crafty Juan Manuel Marquez, who has vowed to give Pacquiao a full taste of defeat by going for a knockout in their fourth—and hopefully final—encounter in Las Vegas next month.
The arch rivals could go fight tomorrow and Marquez, at home with his tested style and physique, could walk into the ring confidently without changing a hair.
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Yes, they’re going for something different, Alex Ariza vowed last week.
Pacquiao’s famous conditioning coach, however, refused to elaborate.
Everybody was left to speculate.
But when Pacquiao next showed up at the Wild Card Gym and took off his training jersey, what got bared was a trim and leaner physique.
“He looked lean as in old times, practically with no bulk,” reported a stunned closed-in broadcaster from the Pacquiao training camp yesterday.
He next speculated that Pacquiao could opt for more shiftiness, superb footwork, in his next encounter with Marquez.
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That, indeed, could be the new thing they plan to introduce: a nimble, light-footed Pacquiao relentlessly going for the kill.
But, come to think of it, hasn’t Freddie Roach ordered for a compelling knockout?
Sorry, but based on appearances, Marquez, a 4-1 underdog at presstime, appeared like the more proper candidate to essay a stoppage come Dec. 8 at the MGM Grand.
This, based on a report by the sharp-nosed fight chronicler Nick Giongco who said Marquez has put on “tons of muscles.”
“It’s no secret Marquez has been in and out of the gym even prior to the formal announcement of this fourth fight with Pacquiao and he reported for training camp ahead of his fierce Filipino rival,” wrote Giongco.
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Was Roach trying to play a mind game? Or were they actually groping trying to even up?
In truth, Roach did not even have to emphasize a knockout win.
OK, it could be meant to drum up the event for greater pay-per-view take, although the bout has promised to be a sellout.
The KO threat was unnecessary because, in the first place, this has always been the theme of Pacquiao’s career, the Pacific Storm that rages with no letup.
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Anyway, in order to enhance a clear Pacquiao win, maybe all they’ve got to do is assure there would be no repeat of that ugly fight eve scuffle between the Pacman and his ever-jealous wife.
But, on a more serious vein, they could consider this suggestion for a review of Pacquiao’s third bout against Marquez last November.
If they look close enough, they could not miss that point when trainer Nacho Beristain tinkered and made adjustments in Marquez’s armory immediately after the third bell.
Pacquiao had gone on a ball, landing sharp combos in the early going. He, however, started missing after Marquez pushed his head closer to his (Pacman) left side, a ploy that next resulted in Pacquiao blindly digging hard, crouching uselessly to reach his target, who proceeded to counter expertly.
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“Just asking you, as a boxing analyst, can Pacman solve the counterpunching style of Marquez, or is El Dinamita truly Pacquiao’s boxing Waterloo,” wondered a college friend who has closely followed the rivalry.
Reply: “He cannot solve it because Pacman provides his own Waterloo. He openly gives himself as counterpunch target each time he crouches and digs in blindly for a knockout.”
Now is the time to try something sharply, safely different.