By Bert Eljera
LAS VEGAS – With Juan Manuel Marquez presenting a bigger – and slower – target, it would not be surprising if he falls down in 1.
One round, that is, if Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer, is to be believed.
“Don’t be surprised if this fight [ends in] one round,” Roach said to reporters shortly before leaving Los Angeles for the 300-mile trip to Las Vegas, where Pacquiao fights Marquez at the MGM Grand on Saturday. “I know that’s a bold statement.”
Indeed. But the Hall-of-Fame trainer, who had guided Pacquiao through most of his victories in his illustrious career, knows whereof he speaks.
He said it was a mistake for Marquez to gain weight so fast in an effort to match Pacquiao’s power.
“He is so much bigger now and went on a weight program in such a short time,” Roach said. “And there’s only one way to use that effectively. I think he will try to come out early and exchange with us.”
If that happens, the fight will be vicious and exciting. And short.
It will be action-packed right off the bell. It will be fast-paced. So fast, in fact, that it could be over quickly, Roach said.
In the past, Roach had missed the mark a few times in his predictions. While the fight were close and thrill-packed the two previous times Pacquiao and Marquez fought, the results were inconclusive.
This time, Roach, who arrived here with Team Pacquiao Tuesday morning, said there will be no doubt as to the winner of the fight. Marquez has earned Pacquiao’s goat by claiming he has won in their two previous encounters.
Pacquiao said Marquez’s claim was “an insult” to his manhood.
To show his new-found strength, Roach believed that Marquez will go after Pacquiao from the first round on.
“He will try to exchange with Manny, come after Manny,” Roach said. “I told Manny to be ready for a fast start because [Marquez] will try to get him early.”
“And if he does that, he’ll end up in the floor.”
Pacquiao weighed 144 pounds after training Saturday, just right for the catch weight stipulated in the contract.