When the fourth fight between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez was announced this Fall, many observers pondered what could possibly be any different than what had already transpired between these two boxing legends in their first three meetings. We have witnessed the first major difference in the form of tonight's weigh-in for the HBO pay-per-view event tomorrow night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Marquez (54-6-1, 39 KO's), once again moving up in weight to face the Filipino star, weighed-in at 143 pounds which is only a pound heavier than the last time he faced Pacquiao last November. However, he was far more ripped and muscular tonight than we have ever seen the 39-year old Mexican before. This physical transformation has been the center of speculation given his relationship with strength and conditioning coach Angel Guillermo "Memo" Heredia (aka Angel Hernandez) who avoided prosecution in the BALCO scandal by testifying on behalf of the government.
Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KO's), while not as muscular, looked fit and conditioned while weighing in at the 147 pound limit. This is the heaviest he has weighed in all four fights, surpassing the 143 pounds from the last encounter. Top Rank promoter Bob Arum pointed to this fact in support of his undoubted belief that this fourth fight would end by knockout.
As Marquez himself told HBO's Larry Merchant after the weigh-in, muscles don't win fights but rather speed, intelligence and power are what counts. We know Marquez has the intelligence but will he have the speed and power to get the victory that has eluded him?
That would be the biggest and most meaningful difference.
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