The 16,000 seats at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas will be filled to capacity to see Manny Pacquiao against Juan Manuel Marquez for the fourth and final time on Saturday.
“It’s the final time,” Freddy Roach,who is Pacquiao’s long-time trainer, told Dan Rafael of ESPN.
This is one of the most highly anticipated rematches for both fighters, who have fought a total of 36 rounds and 108 minutes in three fights that span over almost a decade. Pacquiao holds a 2-0-1 edge in the series, but each fight was close and could have went either way.
Fans at the arena and at home are hoping that this fight will be as good as the previous ones and will determine who the best fighter is amongst the two.
“They will be linked together in the annals of boxing history and [Saturday] they will come together once again for all their fans, with their nations on their backs, and they will try to definitively settle the score,” said HBO PPV’s Mark Taffet.
Marquez is aiming to prove to his antagonist that he can actually beat Pacquiao. Pacquiao accomplished three knockdowns in the 2004 featherweight championship fight, which ended in a draw. Marquez then loss in a split decision to Pacquiao in 2008 for the junior lightweight title. Then 2011, Pacquiao received a majority decision in their welterweight title fight that most observers thought Marquez won.
“My motivation is that I want them to raise my hand in the ring,” said Marquez, who is 54-6-1 with 39 KOs. “I don’t want people to just say, ‘You really beat him.’ I want them to know that I beat him.”
Pacquiao feels that the decisions were all correct by the judges, expect the draw, but is giving him the opportunity to quit complaining about the previous fights.
“I am giving him a chance. I am giving him a chance to prove he can win the fight because he thought he has won all three and he keeps talking about it,” said Pacquiao, who is 54-4-2 with 38 KOs. “So it is very important to me to win this fight, especially since Marquez really wanted this fight.”
The 33-year-old Pacquiao will enter the Saturday’s fight at 5’6 1/2 inches, a reach of 67 inches and with a Southpaw stance.
Marquez, 39, will enter the fight at 5’7 1/2 inches, a reach of 67 inches and with an Orthodox stance.
Both fighters plan to come out of their corners with an aggressive approach to knock each other out when the opportunity presents itself.
“Right now my mind is focused on being more aggressive for this fight,” Pacquiao said. “If there is a chance in the ring during the fight, why not make the fight easy and [knock him out] if I have the opportunity?”
Marquez doesn’t just plan to aggressive with his hands, but with his brain as well.
“I want to be more aggressive this time, but with intelligence because Manny is a very dangerous fighter.”
Roach believes with the new flare in his fighter’s preparation that Marquez doesn’t stand a chance.
“We’re going to knock him out,” Roach said. “End of story.”
If neither fighter accomplishes a knockout and the fight is left in the hands of the judges, Marquez would like a fair decision.
“All I ask is that they are objective, to really see the fight, and judge on what is happening in the ring, not on what they think is happening,” Marquez said.
Marquez agreed that this will be the last fight between the two greats.
“This is the last fight with Manny,” he said. “I don’t know what will happen in the ring, but this is the last time.”
If Pacquiao manages to come out victorious, the next fight that everyone has been waiting for him to fight against is Floyd Mayweather Jr., but he needs win first before that conversation can resume.
But before he can fight Mayweather, he would like another shot at Timothy Bradley Jr., who beat him in a very controversial split decision in June.