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Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez Pick

Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez III Fight Preview and Pick to Win

When: Saturday, November 12, 2011

Where: MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada

TV: PPV at 9:00 p.m. EST

Weight Class: WBO Welterweight Title (Catchweight: 144 pounds): 12 Rounds

By Scotty L, Boxing Handicapper,

Manny Pacquiao, 53-3-2 (38 KOs), General Santos City, Philippines, WBO Welterweight Champion VS. Juan Manuel Marquez, 53-5-1 (39 KOs), Mexico City, Mexico, World Lightweight Champion

Betting Odds: Manny Pacquiao (-800), Juan Manuel Marquez (+500)

Over/Under: Over 10.5 (+105), Under 10.5 (-145)

Fight Analysis: On November 12, boxing’s top superstar Manny Pacquiao takes on the only man who has been competitive with him in recent years—the great Juan Manuel Marquez. The Mexican is the only fighter who has been competitive with Pacquiao recently. A look at the odds suggests most people do not think Marquez can duplicate his performances from their first two encounters.

Their first fight saw Pacman drop Marquez 3 times in the first round. He was a hair from making this rivalry a non-issue, before Marquez stormed back to salvage a draw. Their second fight was another close one, with a knockdown providing Pacquiao an edge in a split decision win. Those fights were in 2004 and 2008 and many things have changed, namely, the physical stature of Manny Pacquiao.

Their first fight was at featherweight, with their 2008 encounter taking place at 130 pounds. We now know that between the two, Pacquiao is a little better at carrying the extra weight. While he is further establishing his legend at welterweight poundage, Marquez has been left behind. Nothing against Marquez, as not every fighter can hop divisions as well as Pacquiao.

This fight will be held at 144 pounds, which should suit Pacquiao. Marquez has been a top featherweight/lightweight for a long time and at 38, is still the top 135-pounder in the world. At 18 years at those weights, he has never been conclusively beaten, His only clear-cut loss was another 144-pound catchweight bout—against Floyd Mayweather. In that fight, Marquez was out of his depth and didn’t seem to win a single round.

There lies the reason why a fighter who still appears to have “it” would be such a big underdog to a man he fought twice before on nearly even terms. One has to figure that Marquez still has the ability and style that gives Pacquiao problems, but can he make it work at this weight? Marquez was 35 when he made the jump to 135. You could even say he’s a slightly blown-up featherweight. Now he’s being asked to go to welterweight to take on the best fighter in the world—quite a tall order.

Another facet working against Marquez in a big way is the late-career improvement of Pacquiao. He is a drastically improved manifestation of the fighter Marquez met in 2004 and significantly better than even the 2008 version. Whereas Marquez has admirably retained his greatness, Pacquiao took it to another level. His defense is better, he uses both hands to greater affect, and he has somehow managed to carry his power into the higher weight classes.

Underdog players inclined to back Marquez are not without justification. From a value standpoint, you can’t scoff at a 5-1 underdog who many feel deserved one, if not both, of the decisions from their first two fights. Can 10-15 pounds difference really cancel out the stylistic problems Marquez presents to Pacquiao? Sure, Marquez is 38 and looked terrible in his only other welterweight appearance, but that was the only fight where he really showed his age and Mayweather is a very different fighter than Pacquiao. It’s not such a bad case, actually.

The feeling here, though, is that the weight issue and Pacquiao’s development into a more complete fighting force will allow Manny to create a little more distance from Marquez this time around. The Mexican legend will always give Pacman problems with his cerebral boxing style, but the explosiveness of Pacquiao will be more pronounced than in their first two fights—enabling him to catch the attention of judges with the more compelling work.

Scotty's Prediction to Win the Fight: Pacquiao should win, but there is only so much we can do with a –800 line. For value, taking a stab with Marquez isn’t such a bad idea. Maybe we should look at the over/under. At this weight, Pacquiao still hits very hard, but his last 4 fights all went into the 12th round. Marquez has never shown anything but great durability in his career. One could suppose that if there is a time for Marquez’ chin to betray him, it would be at welterweight poundage against a guy who has already dropped him 4 times in 2 fights.

With Marquez being such a surgical counterpuncher who greatly troubled Pacman with that style in 2 previous fights, maybe Manny will opt for a more measured approach. In any event, I see this fight going late. Take +105 on this fight going over 10.5 rounds.

Free Boxing Picks

Each week, Big Scotty L makes picks on upcoming boxing matches in an attempt to make a punching bag out of his bookie. Scotty is a GREAT boxing handicapper who offers tremendous insight on the fights and his knowledge isn't just limited to boxing matches in the USA. He has a broad knowledge of international fights as well.

Follow Scotty each week as he previews the best fights of the week. These fight previews can be found in the center section of this page. Good luck!

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