Boxing by its very nature is unpredictable. One punch can change everything, making even the most one sided fight predictions a must watch. Pacquiao vs. Marques III was one of those fights, an epic rubber match, which the 9:1 favorite Manny Pacquiao was expected to win and win big. At the time Pacquiao's hall of fame trainer Freddy Roach didn't believe the fight would go the distance. "I'd be surprised if the fight goes eight or nine rounds. Manny won't fight him the way he did in the past," said Roach in the days leading up to the third fight. As we now know Roach and many of the odds makers underestimated the Mexican boxer, even as Pacquiao squeezed out a controversial majority decision (114-114, 116-112, 115-113) in another close fight.
"Styles make fights" is perhaps one of the oldest boxing clichés, which in the case of Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao is completely justified. Manny's aggressive style is rarely matched in the boxing ring, but so is Marquez's counterpunching ability. For every Pacquiao action in the ring there has been an equal reaction by Marquez. It was a mistake to count out Marquez in the last fight, as it would be to count out Pacquiao in their upcoming battle on December 8th in MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas.
So what should boxing fans expect this time around? The answer is more of the same. These two boxers know each other better than any other duo in boxing and therefore neither one will be surprised by what the other brings to the ring. Nacho Berenstein and Freddy Roach will do what is necessary to prepare their fighters but at this late stage of their careers it would be presumptuous to expect either fighter to alter their style or strategy significantly.
Will we see a more motivated Manny Pacquiao? Possibly, but even at 100% Manny would find Marquez to be a worthy opponent and a tough matchup on any given night. The only way Manny can change the dynamic of this fight is with controlled aggression and superior foot movement which he can use to get in and out before Marquez can respond. A feat he has so far failed to achieve.
The fight prediction is another close fight, with another controversial decision as most decisions tend to be in close fights. The winner in all this will be the boxing fans even if we do fail to get closure to who is the better boxer. But with this being boxing, anything can happen.
Oleg Bershadsky has previously written about boxing for braggingrightscorner.com and has been watching the sport for 17 years.