ESPN boxing analyst Teddy Atlas likes Juan Manuel Marquez to finally get into the win column against Manny Pacquiao, in his fourth try, he told viewers on a Thursday edition of "Friday Night Fights."
Atlas, calling a card headlined by Ray Beltran-Ji-Hoon Kim at the Mirage in Vegas, said that neither man should change what they do for this fight. "They've done pretty well if you haven't noticed. I don't think they have to change anything." The judges, he said, do need to change. "They need to be honest. They need to get it right. I think so far in the three fights, they've gotten it wrong twice."
Who will win? "I think if the judges get it right, Marquez is gonna get it right, as he has a couple times, I thought, already in these first three fights, and Marquez will finally get his just desserts," Atlas said. Yes, Marquez is close to 40, "he could suddenly become old," and "put a wrinkle in my plans." But the two could give a close could fight at age 80, he said, and he thinks Marquez has the edge in the urgency department. Manny's legacy is more secure, he noted.
Atlas presented a fight plan, in the gym. He said Pacman has to be faster, feint him, and time him. If he does that, he'll stay undefeated against the Mexican. Marquez has to keep his left foot outside of Manny's lead foot. He needs to set traps, make space and counter his way to the win. And most of all, he needs to judges to be on their best behavior.
ESPN's Dan Rafael said he thought Marquez won the first fight, in 2004, and the second one, and felt the third was a draw. He sat with Bernardo Osuna and was asked for his prediction. Rafael thinks Marquez, "on the law of averages," will get the W on this one. Rafael believes the judges will finally show Marquez love in those close rounds.
Pacquiao was seen in a chat with Osuna. The boxer made sure to mention his massive faith and how he has grown closer to God. He then said he'd like a toe to toe fight. "I hope so," the Congressman said. Pacman said he's ready for the counterpunching excellence of the Mexican.
Osuna also chatted this week with Marquez. The Mexican said he is motivated to have the ref raise his hand, to validate his belief that he has won all three matches. The last fight made him angry, more than the previous two. "Not just me, a lot of people the same," he said.
Legends Tommy Hearns and Ray Leonard chatted with Joe Tessitore about the Saturday showdown. Hearns said Pacman will try to land big shots, show him he's in charge, early. Leonard said he spoke to Marquez, and he said he stated he has to be stronger and faster. He thinks Marquez will look to "out-power" Pacman. Hearns said Marquez will be smarter this time out.