In November, Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 knockouts) scarcely won a highly disputed majority decision over Marquez (54-6-2, 39 KOs), with whom he has also battled to a draw and won a previous split decision.
Pacquiao floored Marquez 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.
Pacquiao, who turns 34 on Dec. 17, chose to face Marquez over a return bout with Tim Bradley, whose controversial split decision in June dethroned Pacquiao as the WBO’s 147-pound titleholder and ended his 15-bout winning streak that included eight stoppages.
Marquez, who turned 39 in August, rebounded with April’s unanimous decision over Sergei Fedchenko for the WBO’s junior welterweight belt.
In this training blog distributed by HBO, Pacquiao recalled his second bout with Marquez:
MONDAY, NOV. 19: “I was looking forward to my rematch with Juan Manuel Márquez. Our first fight had been exciting, and even though it took a few years for Márquez to finally accept a rematch with me, the fans seemed happy to see it too.
“The arena was electric. It inspired me. After I scored the knockdown, early in the fight, I went back to my corner thinking I would finish him in the next round. Freddie Roach told me, ‘We have him right where we want him. Finish it.’
“Well, I couldn’t finish him in the next round, and as the fight continued, I thought ‘Here we go again.’ Márquez’s superb boxing skills and excellent stamina got him back into the fight. After the eighth round, Freddie told me the fight was becoming too close and we needed to win the last four rounds to avoid the close decision we had in our first fight.
“‘Take it to him Manny. Pick up the pace – double the pace. You’ve got the better speed and power. It’s time to use all your weapons.’ I stopped counter-punching in those last four and attacked him constantly. Staying away from his right hand helped me to score more, too.
“Freddie’s advice was right, and I thought it was a clear victory for me that night because I won those last four rounds. I was so happy to be a world champion again. It’s a night I’ll never forget.”
Photos courtesy of HBO
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com