BEVERLY HILLS, CA.-Manny Pacquiao flew in from the General Santos City, Philippines while Juan Manuel Marquez arrived from Mexico City, it took four years to finally get them in the same ring again but the rematch is on.
In front of a throng of news people at the plush Beverly Hills Hotel, Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions announced Tuesday that Marquez (48-3-1, 35 KOs) will defend his WBC junior lightweight title against Pacquiao (45-3-2, 34 KOs) on March 15, at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.
It will be televised on HBO pay-per-view.
“Juan Manuel Marquez is the last Mexican standing,” said Arum.
Yes, Marquez will attempt to stop the rolling thunder of Pacquiao as he attempts to squash the last of the triumvirate of Mexican world champions. Not since Erik Morales beat the Filipino superstar in 2005 has a Mexican boxer solved the Pacman riddle.
Marquez scoffs at mention of Pacman as a Mexican Killer.
“He’s no Mexican killer, he didn’t beat me,” said Marquez.
Pacquiao smiles at the remark. Though their battle in 2004 ended in a draw, the Filipino southpaw bomber remembers dropping Marquez three times in the first round. After that, it looked like curtains for Marquez.
“He surprised me,” said Pacquiao of that first encounter. “I thought it was over.”
Marquez proceeded to outbox Pacquiao for the next 11 rounds and got a draw. Pacquiao won’t complain about the judge’s ruling it a draw, but he believes he won that fight.
“Yes, I won,” Pacquiao said.
Pacquiao has riddled opponents – including Marco Antonio Barrera for a second time – with an ever-growing arsenal that includes a hellacious right hook.
“He’s improved a lot,” admits Marquez. “He is very skillful now, but maybe that’s a weakness.”
Marquez remembers a very unorthodox Pacquiao attacking him with punches from different angles with no practicality behind them. Now Pacquiao has skill and logic.
“He may be easier to beat this time,” said Marquez. “Who knows?”
Pacquiao smiles at the mention of his improved skills. He knows that during the past three years, his knowledge through the advice of trainer Freddie Roach has made him the equal of any pugilist.
“Manny’s not the same fighter and neither is Juan Manuel Marquez,” said Roach.
Marquez has become a much more aggressive fighter and his last two fights showed against Rocky Juarez and Marco Antonio Barrera.
“Fans want to see this from me,” Marquez says. “I’m just proving that I’m more than just a boxer, and more than just a puncher.”
Marquez returns to Mexico to train, but Pacquiao will remain in Hollywood to train at the Wild Card Boxing gym.
Jaime Quintana, advisor to Marquez, summed up the rematch: “After four years of waiting for this fight, it’s is finally happening.”
Tickets are on sale (702) 474-4000.