[PHOTO - Pacquiao-Marquez 3: Time to settle the score]

MANILA, MAY 23, 2011 (STAR UNBLOGGED) BY HOOPH - It's official. Manny Pacquiao's next fight after his steamy battle against the Reproductive Health Bill would be against his nemesis, Juan Manuel Marquez. Marquez, the only remaining asterisk on the Pacman's lucrative career, is looking to vindicate himself and his claim that he actually has Manny Pacquiao's number had it not been for the fishy decisions that went against him in their first two fights.

This fight brings in a lot of intrigue, as many boxing analysts and even most of Pacquiao's fans have admitted that Marquez' style is Manny's worst nightmare. And why not? Marquez is tough as nails knows how to stick with his game plan and not get sucked into adrenaline and fight his opponent's type of fight. His counter-punching style has given Pacquiao lots of problems in their first two fights. And because of that fight, fans have been made to believe that a third fight would be the only way to settle things between the two fighters.

Two great fighters, two great fights – a fighter trying to keep a name and a fighter trying to prove a point.

Could you say fireworks?

Not quite.

I am one of the minorities who believe that this fight is not only pointless; it could also be similar to the fights that Pacquiao has been involved in his last three fights. What am I trying to say here? It's just another ploy for Top Rank and the likes to rob fight fans their money. It's two things: it's either the old, fired-up Marquez shows up and it ends early (with a Pacquiao victory of course), or Marquez pulls a "Mosley" and resorts to a jab, counter right, backpedal gameplan.

So why am I actually saying these things? Well here are some reasons:

1. Two great boxers going through separate directions

Say what you say about their first two fights, about how Marquez should have won or how close it was then. The key word right here is “then.” Marquez fought Pacquiao when the latter was very vulnerable to counters because of his one-dimensional offense. Back then, Manny was basically a brawler who happened to have one of the fastest hands and feet in boxing and with a very strong left. Nothing else. Marquez, on the other hand, was at his prime, and can take a punch and enjoys putting up defensive schemes and counters.

But things have changed. Manny has grown into a technical boxer who finds angles, and bobs and weaves before unleashing his barrage of punches that he's known for. Marquez, on the other hand, still looked good but has lost a lot of speed ever since their second fight. At 37, his body can only do so much.

2. The weight class will be a difference

Pacquiao has fought larger guys ever since the second Marquez fight – Miguel Cotto, Joshua Clottey and Antonio Margarito to name a few. While Pacquiao's power isn't really not that special when he's up against the bigger and stronger guys, he carried on his number one asset, which was expected to deflate once he starts gaining weight – and that is his speed. Pacquiao, despite fighting at 147 for quite some time now, looks sharp, footwork wise and handspeed wise. The same can't be said about Marquez.

After fighting Mayweather at a catch weight of 145 pounds, Marquez eventually returned to lightweight – citing that anything over 140 is not for him – granted that he looked very slow at 145. With Pacquiao very comfortable fighting at 140 and above and Marquez looking slow and flatfooted at any weight class above 140, you know that Pacquiao has the distinct advantage here.

3. Pacquiao's legacy as a whole

I am not buying the legend of how Mexicans are not going down without a fight. Sorry. Marquez is too proud to get finished in a third fight against Pacquiao. After eventually experiencing Manny's power, I expect Marquez to backpedal and try to just finish the fight. This would look similar to Pacquiao's last three fights against Clottey, Margarito and Mosley.

This would tarnish Pacquiao's legacy as a finisher, and although it will finally close out the issue named Marquez, this fight will not do Pacquiao any good in terms of winning new fans.

Well, that's about it. Three reasons why I am not buying the hype that is surrounding the third fight between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez. Let this be a warning. Don't be blinded by the history of these two fighters and all the talks that will be given out.

And if you still expected something out of this fight after reading this, well don't tell me I didn't warn you. (CJ)

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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