- Kieran Mulvaney, Boxing
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A lot of the discussion around the media room this week has been focused on the physical changes in Juan Manuel Marquez, the fact that he has put on muscle to make the 144-pound limit for Saturday's fight with Manny Pacquiao.
Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach, is surprised that Marquez and his camp took that route.
"I'm very surprised, yes," he said on Wednesday. "I thought he'd come in at 135 and use his speed and counterpunching ability, that that would be the best way to fight Manny. But they seem to have gone in a different direction."
Marquez won the majority of the rounds in their first two bouts, with Pacquiao making up the difference courtesy of a total of four knockdowns. Roach is confident that the Mexican's added bulk will reduce his speed and thus the likelihood of his winning as many rounds; besides, Roach adds, Pacquiao is a much-changed fighter. Three years ago might as well be eons past.
"[Marquez] won those rounds by leading with his right hand, and Manny moving in one direction and walking into it," Roach said. "Manny can move laterally now, and at that time he would move in only one direction. He was a limited guy, he only had one big left hand and no right hook, and now he has two hands and he's much more mobile and I think he's a whole different fighter now."
Roach does expect Marquez to hit the canvas again, though. But the trainer doubts he will do so more than once:
"I don't think he's going to be able to get up from this Manny Pacquiao punch."