Will Juan Manuel Marquez finally defeat Manny Pacquiao? Read on for the opinions of 27 boxing insiders.
"All of the judges in this fight are going to be under the microscope. I think that they're going to be thinking about their cards and every score that they put in real seriously before they turn them in," Rick Reeno, BoxingScene.com, on the judges for Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez IV
LAS VEGAS-- Manny Pacquiao was outraged, as was his promoter, Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, following his last appearance here at the MGM Grand in June, when the eight-division titlewinner was dethroned as WBO welterweight beltholder as Tim Bradley's split-decision ended his 15-bout winning streak.
Although Bradley was awarded the victory over Pacquiao by the scores of 115-113 on the cards of judges C.J. Ross and Duane Ford, while Jerry Roth had it for Pacquiao by the same score, an informal poll of 51 writers favored Pacquiao over Bradley, 48-3.
Back in November of last year, however, it was Pacquiao who was on the winning side of a controversial verdict, taking a highly-disputed majority decision over arch-rival Juan Manuel Marquez that was also at the MGM.
Pacquiao edged Marquez by majority, with ringside judges, Glenn Trowbridge and Dave Moretti turning in scores of 116-112 and 115-113, respectively, while Robert Hoyle called it even at 114-114.
But a comprehensive list of 20 boxing media members disagreed, broking the fight down as 12 for Marquez, seven for a draw and just one for Pacquiao.
Pacquiao and Marquez will be back at the MGM on Saturday night for the fourth bout between the two, this after also having battled to a draw and a split-decision victory for Pacquiao.
Pacquiao, who turns 34 on Dec. 17, floored Marquez, 39, three times in the first round of their initial meeting as featherweights in May of 2004, and dropped him once in the third round of their second as junior lightweights in March of 2008.
Instead of a rematch with Bradley, Pacquiao chose to face Marquez, who still believes himself to be the victor in all three bouts regardless of the final decisions.
Adding intrigue are the facts that Pacquiao-Marquez IV will be officiated by Kenny Bayless, who refereed Pacquiao-Marquez II, with the judges being Adelaide Byrd of Las Vegas, Steve Weisfeld of New Jersey and John Keane of England.
In addition, Byrd and Weisfeld were two of the three judges for last Saturday's unanimous decision by junior middleweight beltholder Austin Trout over three-division titlewinner Miguel Cotto at New York's Madison Square Garden, where Cotto is an overwhelming fan favorite.
Byrd scored it for Trout, 119-109, while Weisfeld and Sam Poturaj both had it 117-111, a fact that Arum says bodes well for Pacquiao-Marquez IV.
"Weisfeld wasn't swayed by the crowd, and neither was Adalaide Byrd," said Arum. "I think that they are excellent judges."
RingTV.com's Doug Fischer sides with Arum.
"I think that it's good that they showed that they're not going to be swayed by the fans' favorite, and Pacquiao's the more popular fighter," said Fischer.
"There will be plenty of Marquez fans in the arena, but Pacquiao is more of the star and the A-side. I think that it bodes well for a fair fight and I don't think that they're going to be biased for either guy."
Others, like Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated, are not quite so certain.
"I think that Steve Weisfeld is a phenomenal judge, and I think that he'll get it right....Adalaide Byrd has been involved controversial decisions in the past," said Mannix.
"For that Trout fight, 119-109, was ridiculous. I think that the judges should be a legitimate concern, not just for Marquez, but for both fighters."
Fischer and Mannix are among 27 boxing insiders who took their best guesses at what will happen on Saturday night, the results of which are below.
Eddie G. Alinea, The Peoples' Journal, Philippines
Manny Pacquiao W 12 Juan Manuel Marquez: I'm going with Manny Pacquiao. He really wants to prove something about those other fights being a fluke.
Manny is fighting for the Filipinos because he feels that Juan Manuel Marquez has slurred the Filipinos by saying that he won those fights and not Pacquiao.
Pacquiao is the face of the Filipinos, and so, when you insult Manny Pacquiao, you insult the whole nation. That's how he feels. So I think that's his motivation to win.
Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, WBC junior middleweight titleholder
Juan Manuel Marquez W 12 Manny Pacquiao: I think that it's very difficult for Manny Pacquiao to fight Juan Manuel Marquez because of Marquez's style, and that Marquez has a good shot at winning.
Marquez will do everything possible to win this time. I think that Marquez is going to win. I think that Marquez has won the last two fights.
Adrien Broner, two-time titlewinner, WBC lightweight beltholder
Manny Pacquiao W 12 Juan Manuel Marquez: At the end of the day, Manny Pacquiao's going to win. It's going to be another sparring match with Juan Manuel Marquez.
They've fought three times already, so it's going to be a sparring match. Pacquiao's going to beat him, and it won't be because of the judges, he's just going to beat him.
Ryan Burton, BoxingScene.com
Manny Pacquiao UD 12 Juan Manuel Marquez: I'm going to take Manny Pacquiao by unanimous decision over Juan Manuel Marquez. It will be close, but it will be clear this time, and I can see Marquez hitting the floor once.
Tim Dahlberg, Associated Press
Manny Pacquiao UD 12 Juan Manuel Marquez: Surprisingly enough, I like Manny Pacquiao in this fight by decision. This time, though, I think that he'll win a unanimous decision over Juan Manuel Marquez.
I think that he's motivated to have a good fight. He's got to really shine in this fight, because there are a lot of questions about him right now, and if he doesn't, that might be an indication of the first real decline of Manny Pacquiao.
Doug Fischer, Editor RingTV.com
Manny Pacquiao W 12 Juan Manuel Marquez: I like Manny Pacquiao by decision. I think that it will be a close decision again. I think that it's always going to be a close, hotly-contested decision between these two because Juan Manuel Marquez knows how to fight Pacquiao. He's the better boxer and the better ring general and probably the better technician.
But Pacquiao is the younger man and he's just a better athlete and a little more dynamic in other areas that has enabled him to capture the attention of at least the majority of the three judges in the majority of rounds. When there is a close round that could go to Marquez and maybe should go to Marquez, if you're just looking at it from a pure boxing perspective, it goes to Pacquiao because he's got that flash, speed and power.
And I think that he's going to bring that speed and power to this fourth bout in a way that we didn't see in that third bout. I think that he'll score a knockdown. I think that Pacquiao will try to go for the knockout as he has vowed and promised, but he won't be able to because Marquez's will is too strong (for him) to be knocked out, and when Pacquiao opens up and really goes for the knockout, Marquez clips him.
That's just like Pacquiao clips Marquez when he tries to go for the kill and comes out of his counter-punching role and goes into a seek-and-destroy mode, he gets clipped by Pacquiao. So in a way, these guys kind of cancel each other out and neutralize each other's strengths. It makes for a good fight.
Norm Frauenheim, www.15rounds.com
Juan Manuel Marquez SD 12 Manny Pacquiao: A draw is more likely. But this poll is about picking a winner. The momentum is with Juan Manuel Marquez, who has been figuring out Manny Pacquiao ever since he got up from three first-round knockdowns in 2004 for a draw.
If there’s any truth to talk that Marquez planted doubt in Pacquiao's head, that's when he did it. Ever since then, Pacquiao must wonder: How’s he doing it? Renewed aggression from Pacquiao might be enough for another close decision.
But he’ll have to exhibit -- and sustain – foot and hand speed that has been absent lately. If he can’t move at the whirlwind pace that was there at his peak, Marquez' counters will slow him down, force him to think and prevent him from establishing a rhythm for which there is no counter.
Pacquiao is an instinctive fighter. Marquez is a thinker. Judges often favor the instinctive. It’s easier to see, easier to score. But they, like everybody else, have seen the first three fights. They know about the debate, which has been moving in Marquez’ favor, perhaps just enough for him to finally win one.
Jason Gonzalez, Maxboxing.com
Juan Manuel Marquez KO 9 Manny Pacquiao: I am going to go with Juan Manuel Marquez to win by knockout late. I'm going to say with the ninth. The reason why I say that is because I feel that Manny Pacquiao has regressed significantly.
I think that that was evident in Pacquiao's fight with Shane Mosley. Against Tim Bradley, I felt that Pacquiao won he fight, but it was not the Pacquiao of old.
There was no longer the relentless aggression, and he was fighting the last minute of every round. I think that Marquez has his number, but I think that the only way Marquez wins is if he knocks him out, and Marquez is going to go or the KO.
Lee Groves, RingTV.com
Manny Pacquiao SD 12 Juan Manuel Marquez: There are a couple of undeniable facts going into this fourth act. First, the gifts that propelled Manny Pacquiao to his record-setting run through the weight classes have eroded over the last several fights.
Pacquiao's technique is more ragged, and against Tim Bradley, he fought hard only in spots instead of his usual three minutes of every round. That's bad news, because even during his prime, Pacquiao struggled to deal with Juan Manuel Marquez's many assets.
Second, though the 39-year-old Marquez is five years older, he seems to have retained more of his skills. The timing and counter-punching still appear solid, and he proved against Pacquiao last year that he could carry 142 pounds very well.
That said, there are horses for courses and fighters for other fighters, and both men are too far into their careers to make major changes. Unless Pacquiao's slippage is even more profound than we realize, the mix of styles and approaches will enable Pacquiao to steal just enough rounds to win yet another razor-thin -- and hotly disputed -- decision.
Jack Hirsch, Boxing News
Manny Pacquiao W 12 Juan Manuel Marquez: It's going to be another close fight, like the other three, but Manny Pacquiao's going to scrape through and win another close decision over Juan Manuel Marquez.
Virgil Hunter, 2011 Trainer of The Year
Juan Manuel Marquez SD 12 Manny Pacquiao: That's going to be a tough one this time. I would have to say that it's a pick-em. I would like to be in Las Vegas and be able to see them before I make the pick.
But I think that I'm going to go with Juan Manuel Marquez on a tight, split-decision. I just think that the fourth fight is maybe something that Manny Pacquiao didn't need with Marquez.
I just really think that. And I really believe that with Marquez having this second camp with his strength and conditioning coach, and everything, it seems to be a good approach.
Marquez's approach seems to be more boxing-oriented. I think that in a fight like that, you have to impose some solitude on yourself to really immerse yourself into this particular kind of fight.
At the same time, I think that it's going to be a little bit more of a war this time. I think that Marquez is going to do more than counter-punch this fight. I think that he's going to initiate a lot of the exchanges.
I don't think that Marquez is going to mind breaking even the first few rounds to impose himself on Pacquiao. I think that he feels that Manny is easier to hit now, and that he's not moving out of the way as much.
I think Marquez is going to put himself in harms way to try to get Manny out of there and try to hurt him. It could be a good strategy, or it might not be. But I'll lean toward Marquez on a split-deision.
Keith Idec, The Record/BoxingScene.com
Juan Manuel Marquez SD 12 over Manny Pacquiao: It's hard to believe this fourth fight won't be a mirror image of their first three extremely competitive fights, despite promises from both boxers to be more aggressive.
Juan Manuel Marquez might be 39, but he still can thrive at the elite level. Any age advantage Manny Pacquiao, 33, might have is pretty much offset by Pacquiao's undeniable slippage in the ring over the past two years.
It'll be another impossibly close fight to score, but the fourth time will be the charm for Marquez.
Chris Mannix, Sports Illustrated
Manny Pacquiao W 12 Juan Manuel Marquez: I'm going to stick with Manny Pacquiao, because judges prefer the aggressor, and I think that Pacquiao will once again be the aggressor in this fight.
Now, we may all sit on press row and say that Juan Manuel Marquez won the fight, but because Pacquiao is going to be the one coming forward, I think that's going to sway the judges.
Rich Marotta, KFI Radio, Los Angeles
Juan Manuel Marquez UD 12 Manny Pacquaio: I am going to make the same pick I've made in the previous three fights, that Juan Manuel Marquez will beat Manny Pacquaio.
Actually, I feel I've been right three times, because I've scored each of their three fights for Marquez. The last two, I was privileged to call Top Rank's international telecast, so I had a close-up, on-the-apron view.
I have seen Marquez setting his traps, and Pacquaio unable to do, in terms of angles, what he does to other fighters. I thought Marquez narrowly won the first two fights, but felt he was a clear winner in their third go-round.
In my opinion, Manny is an all-time great, but Juan Manuel's style simply gives him fits. It will again on Saturday night, and, at long last, Juan Manuel Marquez will have his hand raised in victory.
Kieran Mulvaney, Reuters/ESPN
Juan Manuel Marquez W 12 Manny Pacquiao: I go back and forth on this one. This is just a tough one. Personally, I have it 2-0-1 for Juan Manuel Marquez, so far, and they've all been incredibly close. Unless one of them has gone backward, I don't see any reason for it not to be very close again.
Maybe Manny Pacquiao does actually get it all together and stop him, but I think that it's going to be another really, really close fight. Ultimately, this time, it's going to be yet another disputed decision, but this time, the decision goes to Marquez.
Manny Pacquiao W 12 Juan Manuel Marquez: I don't want to get too smart and over-think this one, so I'll go with a fight that will not be as good as any of the previous three, though sometimes two past-their-peak boxers can be a joy to watch.
Having said that, I look for Manny to grab another close decision. The Reason? The countering of Marquez will not pay major dividends this time around.
Also, Manny does not have to worry about taking on someone bigger than he or someone who is in their prime. Pacquiao by decision.
Tommy Rainone, guest/fan, professional boxer, New York
Manny Pacquiao W 12 Juan Manuel Marquez: These guys are both throwback fighters who could have fought in any era, and a fourth fight between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez is about as throwback as it gets.
A lot of people are complaining about these two tangling again after three fights and 36 very close, competitive and often mirror-image rounds with each other. But im not one of them.
I applaud both men for having the stones to face an arch rival once again, and for trying and prove, once and for all, in a decisive manner who is the better fighter.
Although Pacquiao is 2-0 and 1 with Marquez, there really was no loser, as both men fought on such even terms in all three fights. Each fight could have been a clean draws.
But this time, I feel that each fighter will take more risks and press for stoppage to avoid another close decision, the latter of which suits The Pacman more than it does Marquez.
Marquez will likely emerge from his counter-punching comfort zone, which could leave many openings for a competent counter-puncher like Pacquiao.
I see Pacquiao doing a lot of great work early in the fight with a more aggressive Marquez, and I believe that Pacquiao will take a lot out of Marquez over the first five rounds of what will either be a late stoppage or clear-cut decision.
Rick Reeno, BoxingScene.com
Juan Manuel Marquez W 12 Manny Pacquiao: I think that after three straight times of picking Manny Pacquiao to win, I think that this time, I'm going to go with the upset. I'm picking Juan Manuel Marquez by decision.
I think that it will be a unanimous decision. I think that it will be a real close fight, but I think that the judges are going to give Marquez the benefit of the doubt in every single rouund, and that he might actually pull it off this time.
Chris Robinson, The Examiner.com/BoxingScene.com
Manny Pacquiao W 12 Juan Manuel Marquez: I feel we are in for another close, spirited battle, but I see Manny Pacquiao doing just enough this time around to emerge victorious.
I just think he will be on his game a little more than their third fight, and I feel that a full training camp at the Wild Card was likely beneficial.
I also don't know how much Juan Manuel Marquez has left at the age of 40, despite his impressive physique.
Cliff Rold, BoxingScene.com
Juan Manuel Marquez W 12 Manny Pacquiao: Does Manny Pacquiao need a knockout to win here? It sort of feels that way. It's almost impossible to find anyone who thinks Juan Manuel Marquez hasn't deserved the decision at least once.
These eyes actually thought Manny eked out and deserved the win in the third fight, but scored each of the first two live for Marquez.
Having re-watched them all, there was a case for each man in each fight. The thing is, Marquez doesn't have that "W" yet. I think there is an undercurrent of sympathy because of that, which weighs heavily in Marquez's favor.
Could that be offset by some sympathy for Pacquiao given an undeserved loss against Timothy Bradley? Maybe. Note there is little technical thought applied here.
These two have done three fights, which all boil down to similar factors. We already know what it looks like. Now, we wait for a conclusion. I don't think we'll get anything definitive.
In a case of irony, this fight could end up being the one most feel Pacquiao edged out only to drop the verdict. I don't think Pacquiao can stop Marquez and I don't think he's lucky enough to win another close decision.
Richie Sandoval, former WBA bantamweight champion
Manny Pacquiao W 12 Juan Manuel Marquez: My assessment is that Manny is the stronger puncher of the two, and the way that I always look at it, if you've got that kind of power, along with some swagger and mojo going, you should be able to do it again.
I see Juan Manuel Marquez as the one who has the pressure on him, so he has to make the adjustments. If you can make adjustments, that might make a difference. But if you have power, like Manny does, that can change everything.
That can end the fight right away. Boxing is a strange business in the ring, you get caught, and that can be all there is. Being that Manny has always had the power, that's what gives him the edge.
Joseph Santoliquito/Ring Magazine/RingTV.com/CBS Sports
Juan Manuel Marquez W 12 Manny Pacquiao: You get the sense these two will be fighting until the end of days. But finally, hopefully, Juan Manuel Marquez gets a break.
I felt that he beat Manny Pacquiao in at least two of the previous three fights, including the last one. Pacquiao looks shopworn at this elite level.
Pacquiao seems to tire quicker, and it may be because all of the multi-tasking outside the ring has caught up to him and is taking a toll. It will be another close fight, but it's also a fight that's lost the luster it once had.
John Scully, trainer of RING and WBC lightheavyweight champion Chad Dawson
Manny Pacquiao W 12 Juan Manuel Marquez: I'm going to go with Manny Pacquiao. It's the Pacman on yet another close, but more decisive decision than in their three previous meetings with Juan Manuel Marquez.
Ryan Songalia, RingTV.com
Manny Pacquiao W 12 Juan Manuel Marquez: I'm going with Manny Pacquiao by decision. My heart says Pacquiao gets the better of it.
But I wonder if the judges will have have the third Juan Manuel Marquez fight playing in their minds the whole time. Either way, it'll be a close fight with both sides complaining.
Bob Velin, USA Today
Manny Pacquiao SD 12 Juan Manuel Marquez: I believe that both Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez want this fight more than any other in their careers, and I think both will try to aggressively take the fight to the other.
Marquez knows he can't afford to sit back and try to pick off Pacquiao with counter-punches. Problem is, that's his style, and taking the fight to his opponent is pure Pacquiao.
If both fighters use that game plan, I give Pacquiao the advantage because it's what he does. If he gets reckless and goes for the knockout as he says he will, Marquez can hurt him.
It should be an close, exciting, all-action fight. But I see the fight going the distance and Pacquiao again winning for the third time. Pacquiao by split-decision.
The panel has decided by a vote of 18-9 that Manny Pacquiao's dominance will continue in victory, as will the frustration of Juan Manuel Marquez in defeat.
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Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com