MANILA, Philippines – Speed will be the biggest factor that will dictate the outcome of the fourth ring collision between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez, according to a veteran boxing analyst.
Ronnie Nathanielsz said on ANC's Hardball on Wednesday that Pacquiao’s chances against Marquez will hinge on the Filipino’s ability to beat his opponent to the punch.
“Pacquiao's speed I think may be the deciding factor. Speed kills like they say, if he's faster than he was before and Marquez is slower, he's bound to tattoo him with a number of punches… That could make the difference,” said Nathanielsz.
The analyst pointed out that the Filipino superstar was more successful in knocking down Marquez during his younger years.
Nathanielsz believes that if Pacquiao can turn back time and return to his fleet-footed self again, he will beat Marquez.
“The change has to come mainly from Pacquiao, because if you noticed, he dropped him thrice in the first round in the first fight, he dropped him once in the second fight, he couldn't drop him in the third fight,” he said.
Nathanielsz, however, is bothered by reports that the Filipino has avoided doing his plyometric and isometric routines which, he added, helped him beat fighters like Oscar de la Hoya, Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto.
“He (Pacquiao) has not changed anything in training for this fight, except that he's shown a lot more fire, a lot more speed, lots more flurries in terms of punching, good movement and so on. But in physical conditioning, he hasn't done anything,” he said.
In contrast, he said, Marquez has been cooperating well with conditioning coach Angel Hernandez.
This, Nathanielsz said, has helped the Mexican gain muscular size.
“The question is, has this slowed down Marquez? Dyan Castillejo told me earlier today that she saw Marquez on the track, doing all the plyometrics, he looks tough, he looks strong, but he was compared to Pacquiao, he's slow,” he said.
But Nathanielsz said the outcome will have to be decided inside the boxing ring.
“The fact remains, the action in the ring is very different,” said the analyst.