Buzzing on Yahoo Sports:

Boxing Experts Blog

The Yahoo! Sports pick for the Pacquiao-Marquez fight is …


View gallery


Manny Pacquiao is 54-4-2, including 2-0-1 against Juan Manuel Marquez (Chris Farina/Top Rank)

LAS VEGAS -- Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez have given boxing fans three fights for the ages, with almost unparalleled action, drama and suspense. Theirs ranks among the great trilogies in the sport's history, along with the likes of Erik Morales-Marco Antonio Barrera and Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier.

Their first three fights have also been excruciatingly close. Personally, I scored fights one and two in favor of Marquez and had their third bout last year a draw at 114-114. Officially, the first match in 2004 was a split draw, while Pacquiao took a split decision in 2008 at Mandalay Bay and then won a majority decision last year at the MGM Grand.

Neither man has been happy about the way any of the three fights ended and have vowed to score a more definitive victory tonight.

[Related: Manny Pacquiao wants closure in Juan Manuel Marquez saga]

Pacquiao is better than a 3-1 favorite at the MGM Grand sports book, which is somewhat surprising given how close the first three bouts are.

View gallery


Juan Manuel Marquez is 54-6-1 (Chris Farina/Top Rank)

A strong case could be made for either man tonight. Pacquiao has been the aggressor in each of the first three fights, but he had difficulty with Marquez's counter punching style. Pacquiao, a left-hander, consistently would step to his own left and that would put him in the perfect spot for Marquez to catch him with a straight counter right. Pacquiao tonight will try to step to his right so that his lead foot is outside of Marquez's, which will create a better punching angle for his powerful left.

Marquez has spoken of initiating the action more, which seems like a dubious choice. One never wants to get into a firefight against an opponent with more ammunition and Pacquiao clearly has the more powerful guns. A change in approach would be a departure from the counter punching style that has made Marquez one of the sport's elite boxers over the last two decades.

[Also: Manny Pacquiao grants wish of cancer-stricken teen]

Two things in this fight make me favor Pacquiao ever so slightly. First, Marquez has added considerable bulk. That creates a question of whether he'll be able to handle that bulk. He insists he's both faster and stronger, but history has taught us so often that when a boxer bulks up, he creates more difficulties for himself than he solves.

Secondly, Pacquiao has more room for improvement. Marquez is the better technician and he was on point in each of the three fights, yet he still wasn't able to clearly defeat Pacquiao. Even though I have Marquez up 2-0-1 in the series on my own card, I recognize that all three bouts could have gone either way.

I expect the adjustments Pacquiao makes and his edge in punching power to be the difference. With a knockdown in, I'm predicting a 115-112 unanimous decision victory for Pacquiao in what should once again be a stirring fight.

Other popular content on the Yahoo! network:
Juan Manuel Marquez's transformed physique raises questions about PED use
Cowboys' Josh Brent charged with intoxication manslaughter
Ronda Rousey opens a new world for UFC (w/photos)
Y! News: Florida offers cash for giant snakes

Win cash prizes, pick a fantasy roster for just one day, join in minutes!

Learn how to play

Contest Entries Entry Fee Prizes Starts (EDT)
NFL $750K Baller 37118/85227 $10 $750000 Sunday 1:00 PM Enter
NFL $1 Single Entry 50/50 [Top 2,500 Win] 3810/5000 $1 $4500 Sunday 1:00 PM Enter
NFL $100K Tournament [$10K to 1st] 2652/4545 $25 $100000 Sunday 1:00 PM Enter
View Comments (134)