By Eric Raskin
Hall of Fame trainer and manager Emanuel Steward, who will provide analysis of Pacquiao-Marquez III as part of the HBO Pay-Per-View broadcast team on Saturday night, breaks down his three keys to victory for each fighter:
1. Maintain balance when he punches: With his style of moving in and punching aggressively, Pacquiao risks leaving himself out of position and off balance when he gets done punching. Marquez is a great counterpuncher. Manny has to know that punches are coming back, so he can’t leave himself off balance and exposed after he finishes up his combinations.
2. Punch with full power: Pacquiao has probably about eight pounds of natural weight in his favor. Since the last time he fought Marquez, in 2008, he’s grown into a much bigger fighter. He has to take advantage of that and punch with full power. Remember those three knockdowns in the first round of the first fight? That’s what allowed him to come away with a draw. And Pacquiao’s power edge is going to be very important again in this fight. He cannot just be throwing a volume of punches. He must punch with authority.
3. Utilize his excellent footwork: Marquez is not especially gifted in terms of footwork. Pacquiao is. He has to get in and out and change directions, and really use his foot speed to make it a long night for Marquez.
Juan Manuel Marquez
1. Stay calm and patient: Some fighters have one dream fight that they spend years thinking about. For example, for Floyd Mayweather, that dream fight was against Oscar De La Hoya. This is the dream fight for Marquez. He told me since 2008 that he wanted a third fight with Pacquiao, but he thought he would never get it. Now it’s here. So the key is for him not to get too excited. He has to fight in a patient manner; otherwise he could open himself up for disaster.
2. Use defense to get Pacquiao off balance: We’ve established that Pacquiao wants to maintain his balance. It follows that Marquez wants to take that balance away from him. Sometimes Pacquiao rushes in recklessly, and most of the guys he fights are just blocking the punches, so he gets away with it. But if Marquez just takes a little step back when Manny comes in, he can make him lose his balance and then he can counterpunch when Manny gets out of position. Marquez proved in the first two fights that he’s capable of doing this.
3. Be prepared for Pacquiao’s left hand: Marquez was better prepared for the left hand in the second fight as compared to the first, and he needs to prepare like that again this time. That straight left hand was the punch that knocked Marquez down three times in the first fight. Marquez knows that, of course—you don’t forget something like that. He just can’t lose focus and take his eye off Pacquiao’s left hand. As we all know, Pacquiao can change the direction of a fight with one punch.