Juan Manuel Marquez truly believes he's beaten Manny Pacquiao twice already, and seems to truly believe that despite the doubters, he's going to win on November 12 when they meet for the third time. But Marquez also shares a common concern: He's expecting a rough first round charge from his opponent and (sometimes) friendly rival.
From the Manila Bulletin:
"The first round is going to be tough for me because Pacquiao will be looking for the knockout," said Marquez.
It's just a short quote, but it's direct and to the point, and I think makes very clear that the 38-year-old Mexican star understands that he's up against a great fighter who can do serious damage really fast. Shane Mosley recently noted Pacquiao's unique power, and if a big, sturdy guy like Mosley felt the thunder, then Marquez almost certainly will, too.
I think it's a question of how hard, how clean Manny catches Marquez, and how often. Marquez can still box his ass off and is tougher than nails, but he's a lot less mobile than he was three years ago when he and Pacquiao last met. At one time, his style was the perfect counter to Manny. But they've both changed: Marquez has lost a step, and Manny has gotten stronger. If Pacquiao has lost just a hair, that has come against big welterweights in Mosley and Margarito. Marquez is not a big welterweight. He's a tiny welterweight, and a small lightweight.
We are merely five days away from finding out how long Marquez can last with Pacquiao in 2011, or if maybe Juan Manuel is still the right guy to give Manny trouble.