If I were to take it from colleague Chino Trinidad’s Facebook entries, Manny Pacquiao seems to tote a different, if not more relaxed, aura in training camp at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood. The pictures Chino posted seemed to manifest just that: That childlike smile of being at home in the boxing environment.
The newfound passion for the Bible seems to have calmed down the kinetic Pacquiao, whose varied past interests and concerns appeared to distract him from his main line of work.
Chino feels that calm has, in effect, brought back the warrior instincts necessary for what will most likely be the last encounter with Juan Manuel Marquez.
Boxing fans may dismiss the upcoming Dec. 8 battle as nothing more than a moneymaking venture for two fighters who have run out of opponents. They can rant and complain but they’ll still watch the fight. Well, that’s the world of professional boxing for you: Promoters will make the best fight possible under the circumstances.
Bob Arum needed a fight for Pacquiao. Timothy Bradley was a dull, listless option despite—and because of—the controversial win over Pacquiao. Floyd Mayweather Jr. is securing the legend of his greatness in his mind. Many are no longer hopeful about Mayweather battling Pacquiao. If it comes, then let’s talk about it. If not, well, so what else is new?
Marquez was viable from a hunger standpoint and the pay-per-view angle. To this day, although not as vocal about it as before, Marquez believes he never lost a single fight against the Filipino champion.
Not the first one where Marquez rallied after being floored three times. Not the second or the third, where Pacquiao escaped with narrow margins. Marquez has one last chance to redeem himself and exorcise all the ghosts of past Pacquiao losses.
For Pacquiao, this fourth installment is perhaps the last chance for one final flourish to erase whatever Marquez claims and what the Pacquiao doubters believe. The buzz inside Pacquiao’s locker room after the third fight where I stood waiting to interview the Filipino champ was that we should accept that Marquez is the contra pelo, the one fighter who can go against anything Pacquiao can throw.
Try telling that to Pacquiao who will probably just dismiss the thought with that killer smile, that deadpan glare or with that new aura Chino is talking about.
This is it for these two rivals. No sense in having one more fight unless nobody else wants a piece of Pacquiao or Marquez. Perish the thought though: A Pacquiao-Marquez 5 would begin to sound like the endless Rocky sequels.
But this fourth installment should have been the one dubbed as Unfinished Business and not the second one. Our champion should end this Marquez business with one final flourish, one unforgettable performance like the ones against Ricky Hatton, Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito.
If Mayweather still refuses to enter the ring after this, then let us all remember Pacquiao-Marquez 4 as the fight Pacquiao gave us to remember for all time.