MANILA, Philippines – Boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao and his Mexican rival Juan Manuel Marquez gave hints about the strategies they will be using when they collide for the third time this Saturday in Las Vegas, Nevada (Sunday in Manila).
“I've changed a lot, my style. I think I'm more improved right now, compared to three years ago, four years ago," Pacquiao said in ESPN.com.
|Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez in the pre-fight press conference.
In the last 3 years, Pacquiao said he has improved his techniques, especially his side-to-side movements and timing.
Pacquiao, a lefty, added that he has also become more reliant on his right hand.
"I think I'm more experienced, especially my strategy and techniques, and more improved in my right hand, and also movement side to side, and timing. I've learned how to be a counter-puncher as well as an aggressive fighter," he said.
Side to side
His coach, Freddie Roach, said the side to side or the lateral movements will be their answer to Marquez’s right hand.
Pacquiao had difficulties against Marquez in their first two fights because the Mexican always connects with his right hand.
"[Marquez] won those rounds by leading with his right hand, and Manny moving in one direction and walking into it," Roach said in a separate ESPN.com report.
"Manny can move laterally now, and at that time he would move in only one direction.”
Nullifying Pacquiao’s speed
Marquez, on the other hand, said he is aware of Pacquiao’s improvements.
“Obviously he’s changed over the years, he uses his right hand more, he has a little more speed,” said Marquez in Ringtv.com.
"My strategy is to nullify all of that.”
Marquez said he will be evasive of Pacquiao’s improved right hand.
"Now I see that he uses it a lot, with speed also, throwing hooks and uppercuts with the right hand, and we need to be careful about that,” he said.
Marquez believes that just like in their past two fights, he will be able to connect his punches.
"It's all experience. You have to know how to land your punches and when to land your punches, and I think that I've always been able to do that against Manny Pacquiao,” he said.
|Manny Pacquiao works the mitts with Freddie Roach.
He added that this time, Pacquiao will be surprised with his punching power.
"I am going to be able to connect very hard, and I think he is going to be surprised."
Roach said that Marquez’s efforts to bulk up indicated that the Mexican is prepared to go toe-to-toe against Pacquiao.
"I thought he'd come in at 135 and use his speed and counter-punching ability, that would be the best way to fight Manny. But they seem to have gone in a different direction," he said.
But Pacquiao is unfazed.
"It's easy to say he'll rumble or go to-to-toe," he said. "I've heard that before with my opponents, but when they get in the ring, it's not true. But we will see on Saturday whether it's true or not."