[PHOTO - WEIGHING THE FUTUR: Under a huge display of a mock front page of the Manila Bulletin offering a glimpse of what the future may hold in store, Manny Pacquiao shows off his muscles at the official weigh-in Friday, October 11, 2011, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. (Photo by NICK GIONGCO)]

LAS VEGAS, NOVEMBER 10, 2011 (BULLETIN) By NICK GIONGCO — Manny Pacquiao wants to make his fans happy and that spells bad news for Juan Manuel Marquez.

Pacquiao (53-3-2 38 KOs) and Marquez (52-5-1 38 KOs) face off for the third time Saturday (Sunday in Manila) in a fight that is bound to become a classic, a virtual continuation of their 24-round saga that compelled Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum to pit them together again.

Pacquiao is aiming to put a closure to their storied rivalry by putting an exclamation point when they take center stage at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, where more than 16,000 fans will converge to witness the collision of the bitter rivals.

“I don’t’ want to disappoint the fans,” Pacquiao told the crowd of about 5,000 after weighing in at 143 lbs.

Reading between the lines, what the 32-year-old Pacquiao meant was he would do his best to put on a show of force, a performance so overpowering fight fans will no longer beg for a fourth fight.

Marquez is craving for a win so a decisive and lucrative fourth fight can be made possibly in May 2012.

Drawing strength from his own set of boisterous followers, the 38-year-old Marquez acknowledges the fact that he will be in for another rough night at the hands of a fighter universally recognized as the best in the world pound-for-pound.

“This is the most important fight of my career. I want to beat the man who is considered the best pound-for-pound in the world,” said Marquez, whose first fight with Pacquiao in 2004 ended on a draw and the second going Pacquiao’s way on a split decision in 2008.

“This time, I need to win every round and win each round convincingly,” said Marquez, who weighed in at 142 lbs but looked more massive with his bulging muscles and an enviable six-pack.

After losing in 2008, Marquez continued to fight in an effort to secure a third fight with Pacquiao, winning mostly against topnotch lightweights but faring badly against Floyd Mayweather in 2009 when he tried his luck at welterweight.

But with the acquisition of a conditioning coach and a nutritionist, Marquez is very eager to strut his stuff and prove to everyone that he, indeed, has Pacquiao’s number.

“For me, this fight is about pride, about dignity. Everyone knows I got robbed in the first two fights,” said Marquez, insisting that he won their previous meetings but didn’t get the decision.

The first time they rumbled, Pacquiao floored Marquez thrice in the first round but Marquez adjusted immediately and survived the early onslaught en route to an action-packed draw.

In the rematch, Pacquiao leaned on a third-round knockdown to emerge victorious in another thriller.

Such is bound to happen again in this third tussle, Marquez said.

“I am going to fight him toe-to-toe and give the people what they want. Like a true Mexican warrior, I will match Pacquiao punch-by-punch to get the victory.”

Pacquiao is guaranteed $22 million, while Marquez will get his biggest paycheck of $5 million. Both fighters are also entitled cuts in the pay-per-view, closed-circuit, and gate receipts.

Kenny Bayless will be the referee, while the three judges are Dave Moretti, Glenn Trowbridge, and Robert Hoyle.

In Malacañang, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said congressmen are free to watch their colleague, Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao, battle Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez in Las Vegas Sunday.

As Filipinos are eager to watch the fight, no live telecast will be allowed in churches.

Retired Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz, in an interview, said local bishops need not issue an order prohibiting parishes to air the boxing match convinced that parish officials already know what is proper.

Cruz said there is no need for parishes to show the fight since other entities are already doing it.

The city government of Manila will provide free live telecast of Pacquiao’s fight in covered courts in the city. It will be shown at the Delpan Sports Complex (near North Harbor) District 1; Patricia Sports Complex (Flora Street, Gagalangin, Tondo) District 2; Rasac Covered Court (Alvarez Street corner Rizal Avenue) District 3; Dapitan Sports Complex (Instruccion Street, Sampaloc) District 4; San Andres Sports Complex (San Andres Street, Malate) District 5; and Teresa Covered Court (Teresa Street, Sta. Mesa) District 6.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police, and the Philippine Coast Guard are also preparing their respective facilities to show the Pacquiao bout to their personnel and their families for free. (With reports from JC Bello Ruiz, Leslie Ann G. Aquino, and John Carlo M. Cahinhinan)

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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