Some folks say they're not much looking forward to Manny Pacquiao's fourth fight with Juan Manuel Marquez on December 8 in Las Vegas, but HBO's Larry Merchant isn't one of them, as the veteran commentator says he's still intrigued by the matchup, and believes that how the fight goes rests more on Marquez than Pacquiao.
"I think Pacquiao is motivated but it depends on what Marquez we see and on how he wants to fight. We know that Marquez is a top boxer and if he doesn’t want to get into a serious exchange, he can avoid them. We also know, he was knocked down 4 times in the first two fights. I don’t know whether he’s inclined to want to take the risk but that’s why they have the fight. But should Marquez want to change his fortunes and not feel like he will get robbed, I think he needs to be more explosive and take those risks."
This is the feeling Marquez himself has expressed repeatedly in interviews about the fight, that he has to catch the judges' eyes by being more explosive, taking more risks, even going for the knockout. Pacquiao also says he'll go for the knockout.
Of course, we could also see two great veterans, who know one another inside and out, freeze up a bit when they might want to take those risks, and get a little cautious. I thought the third fight last year was pretty terrific, myself, but there was definitely that feeling, once it settled in and it was clear that yet again, Marquez was hell for Manny, that we had two top fighters so well-versed in the other man's approach and style that they might have been overthinking at various moments, and letting opportunities pass by.
Will we see that again, or do you think Marquez really will let loose? And if he does, will that be to his detriment in the end?