Manny motivated by T-shirt

Philippines congressman and fiv-division world champion Manny Pacquaio says he has never been...

Philippines congressman and fiv-division world champion Manny Pacquaio says he has never been motivated as much as he is for his Nov. 12 bout against Juan Marquez. (Reuters)

Murray Greig, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:45 PM ET

It’s not Ali vs. Frazier or Zale vs. Graziano, but as the lone blip on boxing’s current flat-line of public interest, the final act in Manny Pacquiao’s trilogy with Juan Marquez is certainly worthy of comparison to Duran vs. DeJesus or Bowe vs. Holyfield.

The fact the Philippines’ fightin’ congressman could pocket upwards of $50 million for defending his WBO welterweight title Nov. 12 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas is pretty good motivation, too.

But not as much as a T-shirt, apparently.

“I have never been so motivated as I am for this fight; I almost can’t wait for it,” Pacquiao told a media conference in Los Angeles last week.

“I want to prove that he (Marquez) was wrong in wearing that T-shirt saying he won our last two fights. So this is kind of special. It’s the most important fight in my boxing career, because I want it to answer all the doubts that have been raised.

“Right now, outside the ring, there is nothing personal. But when I get into the ring on Nov. 12, it’s going to be personal for us.”

In 2008, Pacquiao (53-3-2) was awarded a razor-thin 12-round split decision over Marquez (53-5-1) for the WBC super featherweight crown.

Four years earlier, Marquez was floored three times in the opening round, but came all the way back to earn a 12-round draw.

Hence the T-shirt the champ finds so infuriating. It boldly states: ‘Marquez beat Pacquiao twice!!’

“Marquez has the right to make alibis about not winning our two previous fights, but it’s because of those alibis that I am so motivated,” Pacquiao continued.

“I want to end all the questions he has raised about who won our past fights and who the better fighter is. The years between each fight only makes it more interesting. Which of us has improved more? 

“I’ve improved a lot. I’m a more complete fighter than when we fought previously. I’m now a two-fisted fighter; my right is as potent, as powerful and as dangerous as my left. I have as much confidence in my right as I do in my left.

“Another difference between Marquez and me is that since our second fight, I have challenged bigger opponents with a lot more success than he has.”

Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddy Roach, is taking nothing for granted.

“The last two times they fought, Manny got complacent after knocking Marquez down,” said Roach.

“Instead of fighting his own fight, he followed Marquez and began fighting his fight. Big mistake.

“I think Manny won both times — but he made them closer than they should have been.”

Could that happen again?

“Yeah, I’m a little worried that Marquez could have Manny’s number,” admitted Roach.

“He’s the only fighter who seems to have figured out Manny’s style. That’s why I’m training Manny for the knockout. He’s going to shut up Marquez once and for all. I’m sick of all his whining.” 

Roach said he thinks Marquez — who’s a brilliant counter puncher — will be surprised by the ‘new and improved’ southpaw champ, and will pay for it by getting starched.

“Manny no longer fights in one direction or with one hand; he has become a complete fighter. He moves laterally in both directions and he throws potent punches with both hands.

“Manny has so many more weapons than the last time they fought.

“I think Manny knocks out Marquez in the sixth round.”

Five greatest trilogies in boxing history

No. 5 – Riddick Bowe vs. Evander Holyfield (1992-95): When they met the first time for the undisputed heavyweight title, both men were undefeated. Bowe prevailed in the opener, only to see Holyfield take the title in the famous ‘Fan Man’ rematch. Bowe got the only KO in the finale.

No. 4 – Roberto Duran vs. Esteban DeJesus (1972-78): Duran was at his peak when they first met at lightweight, but DeJesus decked him in the opening round en route to handing ‘Manos de Piedra’ his first loss. The other two were all-out wars.

No. 3 – Emile Griffith vs. Benny (Kid) Paret (1961-62): In the opener, Griffith rallied to take the welterweight crown by KO. Paret got the title back in a close split decision six months later, but in the televised rubber match he took such a savage beating that he died 10 days later.

No. 2 – Tony Zale vs. Rocky Graziano (1946-48): Rarely has ring violence been more numbingly relentless than in this middleweight title series, but sadly, only the third fight was ever filmed. Suffice to say the sheer viciousness cemented the all-time status of both combatants.

No. 1 – Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier (1971-75): Frazier’s defining moment was the 15th-round knockdown that won him the opener. Fight 3 — the legendary Thrilla in Manila — was watched by more Earthlings than the first moon landing. ’Nuff said.

murray.greig@sunmedia.ca


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