Q & A: Manny Pacquiao is ready to settle things
Manny Pacquiao has listened to Juan Manuel Marquez’s complaints almost from the moment a Nevada State Athletic Commission judge scored that Pacquiao defeated Marquez, 114-113, in their March 15, 2008, rematch.
Judge Tom Miller’s scorecard settled alternate 115-112 scores by Duane Ford (for Pacquiao) and Jerry Roth (for Marquez) in a narrow match probably decided by Pacquiao’s third-round knockdown of his rival from Mexico.
When they fought in 2004, the gritty, gifted counterpuncher Marquez overcame being knocked down three times in the first round to score a draw. He has since flown to Pacquiao’s Philippines wearing a T-shirt reading he’d beaten the national hero twice, and has long beaten the drum to get this third fight.
Now, he has it, on Nov. 12 at MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, much to the delight of Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 knockouts), who took a break in training at Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood to discuss Marquez and his future.
Last I heard, you didn’t even wait for the opening news conference in the Philippines to start training for Marquez. You really can’t stand this guy?
“I’m focused on making my strength and speed be the best they can be. It’s harder to train [in the Philippines], it’s high altitude — it’s hard to breathe the air is so thin where I go, at 7,000 feet [above sea level]. But it helps my stamina and energy, which I want to be very strong in this fight.”
You know enough about boxing history to know the third fight in a rematch defines what fighter in the series is remembered as the better man. Is that how you’re treating this fight?
“I’m always dedicated in my training, but this fight is real important to me. Because it’s our third fight — our last fight — I have to end all the issues, all the doubts in people’s minds about beating him. I know I need to be in 100% condition to do that. You always hear me say I want to make people happy, make people satisfied with my fights. I want to be happy too.”
Do Marquez and his fan base have a case when he says he beat you twice?
“I do not blame Marquez or his fans. Yes, the fights were close. This fight will not be close.”
We’re hearing Marquez’s training camp in the mountains of Mexico is going as well as possible. Your response?
“I’m expecting he’s trained as hard as he can. I’ll never underestimate this fight. He needs this fight badly. That’s why I’m doing what I’m doing. On Nov. 12, you’ll see a high level of boxing in that ring.”
The sport needs that after three straight months of weird endings in big bouts. What were your thoughts on how Floyd Mayweather Jr. knocked out Victor Ortiz just as a fourth-round break was ending last month?
“Ortiz was starting to give him some trouble that round, but then he head-butted Mayweather and tried to be too nice of a guy, trying to hug Floyd. He [Mayweather] showed no sportsmanship, but that’s legal what he did. It’s a good example, a lesson, that you can’t be nice in the ring. You can say you’re sorry, but keep your hands up here [at the top of his head]. I don’t know why Ortiz head-butted Floyd. He got angry, caught up in the moment — another lesson.”
Floyd has a criminal case hanging over him with a hearing Dec. 21, but if that can either be resolved quickly or delayed beyond May, your promoter Bob Arum says the drug-testing and co-promotional issues that previously stopped this fight from happening are now solvable. Are you ready for that fight?
“Whoever I have to fight the rest of my career, I’m happy and satisfied with what I’ve done. I don’t need somebody else to be satisfied with what I’ve done. I don’t need to be looking for, or chasing, a fight. I want the fight, but I cannot force him to take it. He has to show he wants to fight me.”
Do you pay attention to how much of this sport revolves around you? Last week, HBO Sports replaced its president with the guy who had you on Showtime for your last fight. Middleweight champion Sergio Martinez says he wants to fight you. Junior-welterweight champion Timothy Bradley left his promoter, and turned down more than $1 million to fight Amir Khan, thinking he has a shot to be your next opponent.
“That’s my promoter’s problem. Whatever the TV stations do is up to them. My job is to prepare for fights, to get in shape and put on a good show. If Sergio Martinez can get to 147 pounds, why not? We can negotiate a weight. I really don’t know anything about Bradley’s style, but I’ll fight him. OK? Have a nice day.”
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