Manny Pacquiao has turned up the heat on Juan Manuel Marquez by insisting his opponent’s “nice-guy” persona is merely an act designed to save him from extra punishment.
The promotional tour for Saturday’s showdown at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, the third part of a trilogy between the two men, has been notable for its lack of hostility, with both boxers maintaining a dignified level of respect when discussing each other.
However, Pacquiao now believes there is an ulterior motive behind Marquez’s actions and comments and insisted the tenacious Mexican is trying to catch him off guard.
“Marquez is the smartest guy I have fought recently," Pacquiao said. "He is a genius. You know why? It is because he is trying to use my personality. He knows I am a nice person, so he thinks that if he is very nice and respectful to me before the fight then I will go easy on him and will not knock him out.
"It is very smart. But I am smarter than him because I know what he is trying to do."
Pacquiao’s last three fights have ended in blowout victories, but all were on points. Joshua Clottey, Antonio Margarito and Shane Mosley all managed to last the full 12 rounds before losing unanimous decisions, and the Filipino superstar is under some pressure to deliver a knockout victory.
His first clash against Marquez was in 2004 and ended in a controversial draw after Pacquiao knocked Marquez down three times in the first round but then struggled against a late onslaught. Marquez was furious at the judging for the second fight in 2008, when he lost on split decision.
This time around Pacquiao is an overwhelming favorite after having established himself as one of the two best fighters in the world over the past three years. The boxing community craves a match-up with the other pound-for-pound king, Floyd Mayweather, but Pacquiao is loath to look past Marquez.
“I know what people want from me in the future and what they want to see now,” Pacquiao said. “They want to see me knock out Marquez because it is exciting for boxing when there are knockouts.
“I always want to win the fight, it is the most important thing and you have to take care of this business. But I have trained very hard and I have a good plan. I believe I will knock him out and it doesn’t matter what he says. It doesn’t matter if he is nice to me.”
Marquez though, was adamant that his remarks had nothing to do with tactics and warned Pacquiao that his politeness would end on fight night.
“If I say good things about him it is because I respect him as a boxer,” Marquez said. “Of course I respect him; he has fought some good fights and has good skills. It is not going to stop me from beating him and he knows he has a fight on his hands.
“I believe I have already beaten him twice and I think he knows that. I don’t care what people think, if they think it is going to be easy for him. I hope he thinks that too because I am going to show everyone they are wrong.”
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- Manny Pacquiao
- Juan Manuel Marquez