Manny Pacquiao has an agenda to keep fighting even if he does not meet Floyd Mayweather Jr. and he has moved past the questions about when or if he will ever meet his adversary. The emphasis Tuesday morning in New York City, the second of a four city media tour was about his November 12th encounter again with Juan Manuel Marquez at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas that will be televised on HBO Pay-Per –View.
“I really don’t need that fight,” Pacquiao said about the often discussed bout with Mayweather. “If it happens good, It’s the fight the fans want. If not, I’m satisfied with what I’ve done in boxing.” Mayweather prepares for Victor Ortiz on September 17th and Pacquiao, hinted he really isn’t interested in the outcome. “I think I am more focused on this fight compared to the last two because Marquez denied he lost the fight, complaining he won the fight, complaining blah, blah, blah, and that makes me focus and train hard for this fight,” he said.
Truth be told, Pacquiao is relaxed and ready for his third meeting with Marquez. The press conference at Chelsea Piers started with Pacquiao singing a rendition of “Sometimes When We Touch” with Dan Hill the original composer. At previous media events in New York City, Pacquiao would make his entrance, sit quietly at the podium and wait to be introduced. This time it was a different tune but the same Manny Pacquiao acknowledging his legion of fans from the Philippines who observed in a rear area of the Lighthouse.
“I still enjoy the press tours,” he said. “It’s a good thing. You meet a lot of your fans.” Earlier, Pacquiao did a jog in Central Park and headed to the press conference. After a twenty minute sit- down with the media he did a live spot with ESPN, stopped at HBO headquarters in midtown, and then to JFK Airport with a destination to Los Angeles for the next stop on this latest media tour.
This may not be the fight Pacquiao wanted, but it sparks interest for boxing fans. After all it is Manny Pacquiao, and it is a trilogy with Marquez. They met at featherweight in their first fight and at super featherweight in their second encounter. Pacquiao has graduated to be a record eight- division champion and once again is favored to win this time at a catch weight of 144 pounds. Marquez is a three-division champion and went down three times in the first fight in 2004, though the outcome was a draw. The crafty (53-5-1, 39 KO) veteran at 38- years of age is not concerned about the outcome of this one. He says moving up in weight is not an issue. To which Pacquiao says, “I don’t know what Marquez can improve moving up in weight. We fought at 130 pounds in the last fight, and the third fight is 144. I don’t know what he can do.”
Marquez claimed he won both fights. “I know I can do it again,” he says. “I did it in 24-rounds. I was able to get a draw even though I knocked him down three times, so I beat him. I just have to be fast and I have to hit him hard enough.” And if Marquez prevails, or even if he sustains the loss, there is a rematch clause in the contract. But he deeply feels he will dethrone Pacquiao and take his welterweight title.
“I already proved it,” said Pacquiao about their previous fights and disputing Marquez when it came to the controversial draw. “But somebody is claiming they won the fight. I have to work again and prove I won the fights. I want to prove that somebody is wrong and somebody I right.” But this fight will not be a legacy for Pacquiao, even if it is a trilogy. He says there will be adjustments since the last fight with Shane Mosley and in the previous fights with Marquez. “I learned more techniques and strategies for being a fighter,” he says.
Freddie Roach, his trainer says, “Pacquiao will knock him (Marquez) out along the way. Manny can’t walk in like we did in the first two. He was just a young kid then. He’s a much more intelligent fighter. I am very confident he will knock him out.” But Pacquiao is not underestimating Marquez. He saw his last fight on July 16th, a first-round TKO over former WBA interim super featherweight champion Likar Ramos.
“I saw a still good Marquez but the difference is, I changed a lot of my style and improved my technique and strategy and my power,” commented Pacquiao. There has never been a question of the power, or the technique, just that Marquez is now in the way of continuing the legacy that Manny Pacquiao has established. Far from retirement though, as promoter Bob Arum looks at his main fighter continuing a fight schedule and serving in the capacity of Congressman from the Philippines at least until re-election time in 2013.
Yes, it was a different entrance for Manny Pacquiao in New York City Tuesday. And the trilogy with Marquez should close some issues and put a conclusion to whatever controversy that occurred in their previous fights. Pacquiao has nothing much more to prove, even if we still don’t have a resolution to the Mayweather question.
Arum still wants the Mayweather fight to happen. For now the trilogy bout with Marquez will fill the void and because it is Manny Pacquiao, who happens to be the face of boxing, there will be continued interest.