One thing they failed to ask Juan Manuel Marquez
Before he came to Manila last week, Mexican boxing great Juan Manuel Marquez was scored by an American sportswriter for playing it blind and dumb.
“He seemed oblivious to the fact that Manny Pacquiao has ascended to an entirely different level since they last fought in March 2008,” wrote Lorne Sloggins.
Marquez, 38, readily and categorically denied the delusion.
“I expect a very tough fight, I have to work hard to be at my best, then work very, very hard for a victory,” he told a swarm of media men at the Rigodon Room of the historic Manila Hotel.
Marquez was also quick to admit that Pacquiao, who started his rise as a left-handed slugger, has improved vastly, adding the Filipino boxing hero now flashes an equally sharp, powerful right hand.
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So what new weapon, what new style will he be bringing into the ring on Nov. 12?
“No, nothing, I’m not changing my fighting style,” he retorted with flaming confidence.
He said he is sure of victory.
Of course, there’ll be something new in his arsenal.
Marquez has promised to be doubly speedy and doubly strong.
But one thing was left unasked during that well-attended presscon.
It had something to do with durability: What Marquez would be using, what would he be leaning on to withstand, if not offset, Pacquiao’s vast edge in punching power?
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Actually, nothing new was bared in the conference.
At least, national cycling great Jesus Garcia Jr., born to a Mexican father, was able to draw out one new detail.
“No, I’m not thinking of who will win in the Mayweather-Ortiz bout,” Marquez said to answer Garcia. “What I know is that I would have to give a rematch.”
Next to Pacquiao, Garcia, now a reporter and columnist with the Sunday Punch in Dagupan, could be the most familiar to Marquez in the hotel media crowd.
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They met in November 2006 in Texas, where Marquez fought and stopped Jimrex Jaca.
After the press conference, Marquez got reunited with Garcia backstage.
“He shook my hand, then he hugged me, crying ‘I remember you,’” Garcia bared with unconcealed glee.
From the Manila Hotel, Garcia joined boxing expert Hermie Rivera and a sportscaster at Peter Lee’s Hong Kong Tea House on A. Mabini.
Here, Garcia was greatly saddened to learn Rivera had lost her beloved daughter Christine early Saturday.
Christine Rivera Cesano, fourth of six children of Hermie and Tina Rivera, suffered a heart seizure in New York.
She was manager of the famed Filipino-owned Destino Spa in the Bay Area of San Francisco which the likes of tennis champ Kim Clijsters frequented for off-court feminine whims, like relaxation and rehabilitation.
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The trio, after offering a toast to dear Christine—may the angels and saints welcome and comfort her in the Father’s Kingdom—proceeded to dissect JuanMa’s slim chances.
If the third bout in the trilogy was happening much earlier, at a lighter division, say lightweight, Marquez could indeed swing it.
The truth, said the sportscaster, is that Marquez had had his worst fight in the welterweight division.
This, by the way, is the same division where Pacquiao had scored his greatest conquests—De La Hoya, Cotto, Margarito, Hatton, Mosley.
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It was agreed that Marquez indeed has the better competence; he could outpunch Pacquiao on any given night, anywhere.
But, in the final analysis, it would need a major upheaval, maybe a mini-miracle, for the bout to be decided on points and the number of punches landed.
As things stand, the bout will be won not on the volume, but on the intensity and immensity of punches.
And Marquez, with his dynamite gifts, could hope to stop Pacquiao only if he’s able to approximate, if not equalize, the Pacman at his atomic best.
Juan Manuel Marquez could also try and go nuclear!