Side-by-side comparison of the Pacquiao-Marquez III weigh-in (left) and IV, which took place Friday.
LAS VEGAS – The talk about Juan Manuel Marquez going into his fourth fight against Manny Pacquiao Saturday has focused on his size. “He looks so big,” many said. “He’s ripped. He’s a different guy.” And one of Pacquiao’s handlers suggested his fighter would come in relatively light.
So what happened at the weigh-in on Friday afternoon? Pacquiao came in at the welterweight limit of 147 pounds, four more than Marquez.
That’s the biggest weight disparity in their four meetings. They both weighed 125 for their first fight in 2004, which ended in a draw. Marquez outweighed Pacquiao 130-129 in 2008, a fight Pacquiao won by a split decision. And Pacquiao outweighed Marquez 143-142 in 2011, which Pacquiao won by a majority decision.
Marquez had an edge when it came to the estimated 4,000 fans packed into cordoned off section of the MGM Grand Garden Arena for the weigh-in. The Mexican’s supporters, many draped in the flag of their nation and some wearing sombreros, chanted his name before he walked onto the stage and cheered loudly when they saw him.
Marquez in 2011 at the weigh-in for the third fight (left), and Marquez on Friday.
The Mexican fans weren’t as friendly to Pacquiao, who received cheers from his own adoring contingent but passionate boos from Marquez’s supporters when he walked out. Clearly, the Mexicans will outnumber the Filipinos when the fighters trade blows on Saturday night in the same arena.
To the naked eye, Marquez appeared to be at least as big as Pacquiao during the obligatory stare down after they were weighed. The word “ripped” would be appropriate in light of his washboard stomach and defined muscles, even at 39. This is the most he has ever weighed for a fight.
And Pacquiao, it seems, also was more defined than he was when he lost a controversial split decision to Timothy Bradley in June, when he also weighed 147 pounds. On Friday, he looked more like the tightly muscled Pacquiao who dominated opponents not named Marquez over the past several years.
That might lend credence to prevailing wisdom, that Pacquiao has pushed distractions aside and was more focused during this training camp in comparison to other recent fights.
Pacquiao in 2011 (left), and at this Friday’s weigh-in for the fourth fight against Marquez.
“They told me I have to be more focused,” he told HBO analyst Larry Merchant immediately after the weigh-in. “That’s why we did our best in training,”
“Do you still have fight in your belly?” Merchant asked him.
“Yes, sir,” Pacquiao said politely but firmly, perhaps an indication that he has an edge that has been missing in recent fights.
Marquez, hungry to finally beat Pacquiao after losing two close and controversial decisions and drawing once in the previous three meetings, told the crowd to expect another hotly contested fight in the fourth installment.
“We’ve fought 36 rounds,” he told Merchant. “We know each other so well. It’s going to be a war.”
“Is this the biggest fight of your career?” Merchant asked him.
“It might not be the biggest,” he respponed, “but it’s the most important. I want to show the people who the best man is.”
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