Manny Pacquiao hungry for a win over Juan Manuel Marquez
LAS VEGAS -- Manny Pacquiao had sipped only on water all day before weighing in at the welterweight limit of 147 pounds Friday before his fourth fight against Juan Manuel Marquez.
So after doing some brief interviews backstage, it was no wonder Pacquiao was in a hurry, jogging to get seated in the middle of a food table where chicken, white and fried rice, hard-boiled eggs, soup, oranges and bananas were laid out.
Pacquiao, 33, had just looked his rival squarely in the eyes, Marquez holding the stare until Pacquiao cast his eyes away and walked off.
Marquez weighed 143 pounds, the weight the former featherweight champion planned for to maintain crispness and movement with his added punching power.
At the table, surrounded by dozens of friends, Pacquiao stuck a fork in a leg of chicken and bit down as one friend remarked how angry Marquez looked — the residue perhaps of warring with the Filipino through 36 rounds with two losses and a draw to show for it.
Marquez, 39, has bulked up as never before for this final battle, raising the question of how the Mexican’s punches will affect Pacquiao.
“I can take his punches,” Pacquiao said, resting back in his chair at the meal’s conclusion.
How do you know that?
“I can take the punches of Margarito,” Pacquiao said, referring to his 2010 bout at 154 pounds against Antonio Margarito, who packed on weight like Pacquiao was doing late Friday in the 24 hours before their match.
“I can take it. God will give me the strength.”
Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 knockouts) has trained to subject Marquez (54-6-1, 39 KOs) to a constant attack.
“I’ll win this with my speed, being more aggressive,” Pacquiao said. “I’ve been thinking about how this fight will go since the day I started training.”
Promoter Bob Arum said he has guaranteed Pacquiao $23 million and Marquez $6 million, with more possible after pay-per-view sales are tallied.
Marquez is clearly banking on his added strength to decide the outcome. He flexed his muscles and pointed upward at supporters inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena after weighing in.
He said he expects “that little grain of difference” to finally achieve victory.
“It’s going to be another war because we know each other so well,” Marquez said. “This is the biggest of the fights.”
Pacquiao sipped some tea, looked around at friends during his meal and broke out briefly in song.
“This is the moment,” he sang. “The final day.”
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