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ANALYSIS

No early knockout in today’s menu

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THE CUSTOMER is always right, but sorry, Manny Pacquiao is not likely to get his order for a quickie finish.

After all was said, it suddenly turned out the wished-for toe-to-toe clash against Juan Manuel Marquez was no longer in the menu.

Or was it ever there?

The promise of a ferocious slug-out loomed after it was reported—a little too loud—that Marquez was undergoing tremendous physical buildup in the mountains and in the gym around Mexico City.

Marquez had feared falling prey again to what he proudly protested against were the judges’ bias for Pacquiao in all their previous bouts.

To end the controversy once and for all, the Mexican great had vowed a KO ending this fourth time out.

Marquez’s perceived bulk-up had seemed all too real it had even led Freddie Roach to hint the opposing camp tinkered with performance enhancing drugs (PED).

The Mexicans, naturally, cried that this was both foul and baseless.

All through the verbal skirmishes, there naturally developed the belief Marquez would be thicker, tougher and stronger for his fourth fight versus Pacquiao.

It was also believed Pacquiao would opt to go leaner in order to recapture his original spark and speed.

Meanwhile, promoter Bob Arum took time out to warn that, if Marquez would indeed pursue his new plan of going extra-aggressive, he would be sacrificing his defensive competence, too.

Did the eminent promoter honestly believe Marquez, supremely tested, would play it wild at the first bell and go for a jackpot stoppage?

There was no clear answer in the run-up to yesterday’s weigh-in.

If anything, Marquez stayed in seclusion upon hitting Las Vegas and, in the few times he stayed out, he was seen wrapped in thick attire, jacket or sweat shirt.

Was Marquez trying to conceal something?

The answer was provided during the official weight tests at the Las Vegas MGM Grand.

There was nothing to hide!

Marquez, superbly chiseled, checked in at 143 lb, four pounds under.

Pacquiao, on the other hand, barely cleared the 147-lb limit.

Naturally, not a few experts found it odd how Marquez, who was supposed to have bulked up, submitted the less menacing poundage.

This also made it clear Marquez would not allow himself to be involved in an early firefight, contrary to Pacquiao’s fervent wish.

Adjustments, indeed, would be a major factor and Marquez had obviously scored.

This did not exactly put Pacquiao on the ropes ahead of the fight.

In fact, there was the ready counter that Pacquiao should also be able to use the unexpected beef-up for extra power when he chases for that elusive stoppage.

Marquez, 39, had been decked a few times but has never been knocked out. Pacquiao, 33, had been stopped at least twice.

One was primed to perfection while the other was chiseled into a mean, meticulous punching machine.

Pacquiao and Marquez have an even shot at winning-and losing.

One thing is sure though: there will be no early KO today.

Or has Bob Arum prepared an emergency menu?


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