Manny Pacquiao and his trainer, Freddie Roach, insist that there is no mounting pressure to end Pacquiao’s one-fight losing streak or that of his stablemates at Roach’s Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, Calif., heading into the fourth bout with Juan Manuel Marquez.
Pacquiao has, nevertheless, vowed to score a knockout this time against Marquez, whom he chose to face over a return bout with Tim Bradley following a controversial split decision in June which dethroned Pacquiao as the WBO’s 147-pound titleholder and ended his 15-bout winning streak that included eight stoppages.
Pacquiao’s stumble comes amid those of several other fighters who have been trained by Roach, including former IBF/WBA junior welterweight titleholder Amir Khan and ex-WBC middleweight beltholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
The loss to Garcia was the second in a row for Khan, whose winning streak under Roach ended with a controversial split-decision loss to Lamont Peterson last December. Khan had begun working with Roach following his 54-second knockout loss to Breidis Prescott as a lightweight in September of 2008.
This past September, Chavez Jr. (46-1-1, 32 KOs) was dethroned as WBC titleholder by unanimous-decision loss to RING middleweight champion Sergio Martinez. That ended Chavez’s streak of six straight victories under Roach, including a majority-decision triumph over Sebastian Zbik for the belt in June of last year.
“We’re getting Manny ready for this fight. The thing is, it has nothing to do with the rest of those guys. I thought Manny won his last fight 11 rounds to one, and I don’t really consider that a loss, so we just look at this like it’s business as usual.”
During early interviews with RingTV.com, Marquez’s trrainer, Nacho Beristain, said that that his fighter “will be better than ever.” Marquez’s strength coach Angel Hernandez vowed that Marquez would be “bigger, stronger and faster,” and Marquez himself said that he will “try to knock out” Pacquiao.
But neither Roach, nor Pacquiao is concerned about Marquez’s conditioning.
“I don’t think that it’s a factor because I don’t think that muscle makes you have a better chin,” said Roach. “The thing is that he’s put a lot more muscle on and I think he’s slower than he used to be, and we’re going to take advantage of that.”
Still, after having floored Marquez three times in the first fight, only once in the second, and not at all in the third, Pacquiao emphasized his desire to end the fourth one in decisive fashion.
“My mind is focused on winning. Then, if I have a chance inside the ring to make the fight easy, then why not? Then I will grab that opportunity,” said Pacquiao.
“Our strategy this time is more aggressiveness and of course to develop and to improve the strength more, and also focus on the speed. We have the side-to-side movement. I’m not worried about his strength.”
Photos by Chris Farina
Photo courtesy of HBO Sports
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org