Lem Satterfield

Who wins Pacquiao-Marquez III? The experts decide

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The first time Juan Manuel Marquez  faced Manny Pacquiao was in May of 2004 in defense of his WBA and IBF featherweight belts.

Although the Mexican warrior rose from three first-round knockdowns to salvage a draw that allowed him to retain his crowns, a disgruntled Marquez felt as if he deserved the victory.

Marquez’s WBC junior lightweight belt was on the line when he met Pacquiao yet again in March of 2008, but this time, rallying from a third-round knockdown was not enough to prevent his southpaw Filipino nemesis from dethroning him by split-decision in a clash that left both fighters bloody.

Yahoo!Sports’ Kevin Iole and ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael each had Marquez winning both fights against Pacquiao, with Rafael scoring them, 114-111, and, 114-113, meaning that he awarded Marquez the nod in 16 of the 24 rounds.

“In terms of rounds, Marquez won nine of the 12 rounds in the first fight, but he lost the first round by four points on my card, which put him in a big hole,” said Rafael, who was at ringside for each of the contests. “The second fight, I had it the fight dead-even going into the 12th round, and I ended up giving the last round to Marquez for the edge in a 114-113 decision.”

On Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, site of their first encounter, it will be the 32-year-old Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 knockouts) whose WBO welterweight belt will be at stake opposite the 38-year-old Marquez (53-5-1, 39 KOs).

Owner of the WBO and WBA lightweight titles, Marquez is in only his second-ever welterweight bout, having won three straight fights since debuting at 147 pounds in a one-sided unanimous decision loss ro RING No. 2-rated pound-for-pound Floyd Mayweather Jr. (42-0, 26 KOs) in September of 2009.

Rated No. 5 in THE RING pound-for-pound, Marquez has hired a strength and conditioning coach whose tactics he believes will help him to increase his weight and prevent him from falling to Pacquiao, THE RING’s No. 1-rated pound-for-pound fighter.

But does that mean the third time will be the charm for Marquez?

Iole isn’t so sure.

“When you spin forward to this fight, Pacquiao was a one-handed fighter when they fought the first time, and in the second fight, he had started to develop his right hand, but it was not yet the weapon that it has become. For this fight, Pacquiao is a two-fisted fighter who has one-punch knockout power with either hand,” said Iole.

“I just think that Marquez is a lightweight, not a welterweight, and that the combination of Pacquaio punching harder and having two-fisted power, and being the bigger guy in the fight is going to be too much for Marquez to overcome.”

Iole’s is among the opinions of 15 knowledgeable observers culled by RingTV.com as to what they believe will transpire in Pacquiao-Marquez III.

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