[PHOTO - Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez pose during the final media conference for their showdown Saturday (Sunday in Manila) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. ABAC CORDERO]

LAS VEGAS, NOVEMBER 10, 2011 (STAR) By Abac Cordero – Manny Pacquiao announced during the final press conference this is going to be his last fight with Juan Manuel Marquez.

Well, it’s either he’s so sure of a victory or he must have totally forgotten about the rematch clause stated under the fight contract.

It must be the former.

“This is going to be our last fight,” Pacquiao said as his way of teasing fight fans to come and see Saturday’s fight at the MGM Grand.

If Pacquiao wins the fight, the third between these two great warriors, then it will be their last. The rematch will only happen if Marquez wins this one.

But again, Pacquiao has said many times leading to Saturday’s fight that he wants to provide the answers to all the questions surrounding their first two fights.

They fought to a draw in 2004 and fought another close one in 2008, with Pacquiao winning a razor-thin split decision.

Pacquao said his motivation for this bout is far greater than for any of his previous fights. He feels Marquez had disrespected him in shouting to the world that he had beaten him twice.

Money-wise, this should also be the biggest for both boxers. Reports said Pacquiao is guaranteed $22 million and may hit $30 million when everything comes in; Marquez is guaranteed $5 million.

During the well-attended press conference at the Hollywood Theater of the MGM Grand, again it was pretty evident that Pacquiao dislikes Marquez.

They stood side by side, and then face to face, before the press, but they never spoke. After the photo-op, Marquez tapped Pacquiao’s shoulder with his left hand and seemed to have offered his right.

But Pacquiao moved to his left and walked away.

No handshakes.

“It’s not good for a boxer to trash talk. You can be a good fighter even if you don’t say bad things about your opponent,” Pacquiao said before the press conference.

“He wore a t-shirt he beat me twice or he was robbed. It’s his freedom to do that but to me something inside my heart, well he’s my friend, but inside my heart we have a business to do. We will make sure there is no issue after the fight,” he added.

With Marquez just inches away to his left, Pacquiao also said, “I’m praying not only for myself but that no one gets hurt, (meaning) hurt like badly hurt,” he said, drawing some laughter.

“Boxing is hitting each other but I hope it will end by people loving it,” he said.

Marquez had his turn at the microphone, and said something like he’d never been a trash talker.

“A lot of people know me I don’t like talking outside the ring. I just want to give another great show, another great fight,” he said.

Pacquiao looked the other way.

Pacquiao faces old nemesis in fight with Marquez ( Updated November 10, 2011 08:46 AM

[PHOTO - Manny Pacquiao, left, jokes with members of the media while posing for photos with Juan Manuel Marquez during a news conference Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011, in Las Vegas. Pacquiao and Marquez are scheduled to meet for boxing's WBO welterweight title on Saturday. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

LAS VEGAS (AP) - The hype is on for the return of Manny Pacquiao, boxing's most exciting fighter, who was last seen headed back to his duties as a congressman in the Philippines after dominating Shane Mosley in a 12-round decision in May.

And, while he's not fighting Floyd Mayweather Jr. as fight fans have hoped for a long time, he will be in the ring against Juan Manuel Marquez, a man who has given him more trouble than any other fighter in recent years.

They've gone 24 rounds together, with not much separating them. Pacquiao escaped in a draw in their first fight seven years ago, then won a decision by the narrowest of margins in the 2008 rematch.

That, however, was before Pacquiao exploded into the public consciousness with dominating wins over Oscar De La Hoya and others. And it was before Pacquiao grew big enough to fight comfortably as a welterweight, where he is not only bigger but stronger.

That's a big reason the bookies in this gambling city make Pacquiao a 7-1 favorite in a fight between two boxers who like nothing better than to mix it up.There aren't too many guarantees in boxing, but one is that both Pacquiao and Marquez will end up at some point in the center of the ring slugging it out.

And that's fine with the congressman from the Sarangani province.

"I think this fight Marquez will fight me toe-to-toe," Pacquiao said. "We know the style Marquez likes to fight and that's his style."

Marquez showed that in both of his two previous fights with Pacquiao, the first one fought at 125 pounds and the second at 130. But this fight has a contract weight of 144 pounds, and Marquez was outclassed in his only fight above 140 pounds, a 12-round drubbing at the hands of Mayweather.

To avoid that happening against Pacquiao, Marquez bulked up for the fight with a new conditioning coach with previous ties to performance-enhancing drugs. The upper body of the 38-year-old challenger is notably bigger, though that too doesn't seem to bother Pacquiao or his handlers.

"I'm very surprised," Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach said. "I thought he'd come in at 135 and use his speed and counterpunching against Manny. They moved in a different direction by getting bigger."

Pacquiao is bigger now, too, though much bigger than Marquez remembers him from their 2008 fight. And that could be trouble for the Mexican fighter, who was dropped three times in the first round in their first fight and once in the second fight.

"I don't think he's going to be able to get up from this Manny Pacquiao punch," Roach said.

Though Pacquiao is the attraction in the fight, Marquez might be the star today had he won either or both of the first two fights. He believes he did win both, angering Pacquiao when he showed up a few months ago at a rally promoting the bout in Manila wearing a T-shirt saying he was robbed.

But he's not doing bad for the rubber match, with a $5 million guarantee against Pacquiao's $22 million guarantee.

"This time is going to be different," Marquez promised. "We're going to be very, very intelligent in fighting with speed."

Roach isn't buying that, saying Marquez will be slower because of his added weight. Still, the fact that Pacquiao inserted a rematch clause in the fight contract should he get beat is evidence enough of the respect he has for a man he has faced for 24 long rounds in the ring.

"You win by knockout," said Roach, "and there's no rematch."

Roach wants Pacquiao to stay hungry By Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star) Updated November 10, 2011 12:00 AM

LAS VEGAS – Freddie Roach said Manny Pacquiao can do 10 more fights and not even slow down.

One time, he said, the world’s greatest fighter must have thought he had slowed down since the day they met in 2001 and formed what is now the best tandem in boxing.

Roach did not say exactly when this happened but he remembered Pacquiao asking him.

“He asked me that if you see me slowing down, will you tell me?” said Roach inside the VIP lounge of the MGM Grand and before a group of scribes Tuesday.

“And I said yeah,” he promised.

When in truth, Roach said he has never seen Pacquiao slow down – on his own.

The only time the 32-year-old king of the ring slows down is when he is being forced to slow down. Oftentimes, they argue on the number of rounds in training because Pacquiao is always asking for more.

“But I want him to stay hungry and never overdo things,” Roach would often say.

But honestly, he feels that Pacquiao is like a Ferrari that just came out of the factory line.

“I don’t see any decline in Manny Pacquiao. He can fight years more if he wants to. He still has motivation and the first day he comes through the Wild Card doors and if he’s lazy, I’ll tell him.”

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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