MANILA, Philippines – Alex Ariza, the strength and conditioning trainer of Manny Pacquiao, is dreading the Filipino boxer’s fourth fight against his Mexican rival Juan Manuel Marquez.
Pacquiao and Marquez are set to meet for the fourth time on December 8 in Las Vegas, after their first three encounters all ended in controversy.
“I’m dreading it,” Ariza admitted in an interview with Boxing Scene. “I just think it’s very hard to get up for another fight like that.”
“Nobody really cares about it. You hear the buzz in the casinos... people are like, ‘Wow, really, out of all the guys that are out there at the 147, 140-pound divisions, that’s the only guy you can come up with,’” Ariza added.
Pacquiao has beaten Marquez on the scorecards twice, including a disputed majority decision in their November 2011 trilogy bout.
Their 2008 rematch ended in a split decision for Pacquiao, while their first encounter in 2004 was a draw.
Ariza is also concerned about the judging in the fourth bout, pointing out that judges may feel sympathy towards Marquez after the controversy generated by the third fight.
“I think we go into this fight down three rounds,” he said. “I really believe that. It can’t be another close fight.”
“I think Manny knows that he has to knock him out for this fight... I don’t think that we’ll get another decision like that,” Ariza added.
Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, has also said he is not keen on a fourth bout against Marquez, saying that the Mexican is a match-up nightmare for Pacquiao.
“Style-wise, it’s the hardest style in the world for us,” Roach said in a RingTV interview.
But Roach also praised his boxer for choosing to fight Marquez again instead of opting for a rematch with American Timothy Bradley Jr.
“This is the most challenging fight, but the thing is, Manny picked it. He didn’t have to pick Marquez. He could have picked Bradley in a rematch. That’s an easier fight in my book,” Roach said. “He picked this fight, and he knows what he’s up against. He has balls.”