Boxing is a sport about risk. Las Vegas is a town built on risk. In both cases, the odds mean something.
Oddsmakers created Vegas, turning it from a dusty spot in the desert halfway between nowhere and no thanks into a boom town. It is a destination for people around the world because oddsmakers were right much more than wrong.
Juan Manuel Marquez understands this. The 38-year-old has been a fighter all his life, a craft he began to master while a boy with holes in his shoes in Mexico City. He knows what it means to be a 9-1 underdog for the final chapter of his trilogy with Manny Pacquiao, which will be cheap jerseys written Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
It means the wiseguys give him no chance despite the fact his first two confrontations with Pacquiao ended in a draw and a hotly disputed split decision that went against him. Marquez has not been shy in his belief that he won both times. He is not alone.
Yet that is not all that gives him hope. What also buoys him is a simple fact: Oddsmakers are not always right. If they were, Las Vegas would be a dust bowl. No one would come back, including Marquez. The reason people come back is the reason he believes.
“It doesn’t do anything for me,’’ Marquez (53-5-1, 39 KOs) said of his underdog status. “People can make bets if they like those odds. That’s fine with me. It has nothing to do with my fight. I have to go into the fight with the mentality that I have to win each round, and if the opportunity comes, I go for the knockout. I am not going to hesitate if the opportunity is there.
“Without a doubt this fight is personal for me. I didn’t get the two decisions cheap jerseys free shipping thought I won. I think I will win this fight because I should have won the first two. We both are going to give it our all.’’
The smart money says Pacquiao’s all is a bit too much for Marquez’. Pacquiao is six years younger and has adjusted far better to the move from featherweight (126) and junior lightweight (130), where their first two matches were contested, to welterweight. Pacquiao has won four times at 147 pounds since making the jump three years ago while Marquez’ only foray resulted in a lopsided loss to Floyd Mayweather two years ago.
That night, Marquez was knocked down once and dominated for one of the few times in his career, and he quickly moved back to the lightweight division. But success against lighter, lesser men was not enough. There remained a score to be settled with someone who has knocked him on his back four times but lost more rounds to Marquez than he won.
The two fighters agreed to a catch weight of 144 pounds, still nearly a 10-pound advantage for Pacquiao. Coupled with his youth and the fact he is a far more complete fighter then the one-armed bandit he was when last they met three years ago, opinions have been formed. Marquez has heard them all and concedes some are true. But other things are true, too.
“If Freddie Roach (Pacquiao’s trainer) looks at the same films that we have, he noticed that I always won the ‘combat zone’ as I like to call it,’’ Marquez said, meaning he was able to get inside on Pacquiao and damage him. “It is important that we do it again, but it’s not going to be easy. It is cheap nfl jerseys free shipping going to be tough, but you have to know how to do it and when to do it. . . . The key is being strong and as quick as he is.’’
Marquez’ route to achieving that quickness has sparked some debate because he hired Angel Hernandez as his strength and conditioning coach to help him pack on weight without losing speed. Hernandez once was known as Angel Heredia and was involved in the BALCO steroid scandal that broke open baseball’s dirty little secrets of a decade ago. His presence has cast a shadow over Marquez, who has dismissed the controversy as baseless and agreed to any form of blood testing Pacquiao wants, believing the real test between them will come when they are alone together Saturday night for the last time.
“Whatever testing they want to do, blood or Olympic, I am ready,’’ Marquez said. “As long as he does it too. The problem is my style. It is most difficult for Manny Pacquiao.’’
And, he hopes, for the oddsmakers, too.Juan Manuel Marquez confident he can conquer odds