By Eric Raskin
Since the last time Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez fought each other, on March 15, 2008 as junior lightweights, Pacquiao has competed seven times and Marquez has entered the ring six times. Over the course of those fights, neither man has tipped the scales at the same weight twice. From the moment Pacquiao-Marquez III was contracted, weight has been a huge part of the discussion. Since their last fight against each other, both fighters have jumped up and down through the scales with varying degrees of success. What will this catchweight of 144 pounds mean for them?
Fight 1: David Diaz on June 28, 2008 at 134.5 pounds. KO 9.
Fight 2: Oscar De La Hoya on Dec. 6, 2008 at 142 pounds. KO 8.
Pacquiao jumped all the way from lightweight to fight De La Hoya, but he wasn’t really a welterweight yet—as evidenced by Pac-Man’s drop back to junior welter in his next fight to take the lineal championship from Hatton. Since then, Manny has held steady at about 144 pounds.
Fight 3: Ricky Hatton on May 2, 2009 at 138 pounds. KO 2.
Fight 4: Miguel Cotto on Nov. 14, 2009 at 144 pounds. KO 12.
Fight 5: Joshua Clottey on March 3, 2010 at 145.75 pounds. W 12.
Fight 6: Antonio Margarito on Nov. 13, 2010 at 144.5 pounds. W 12.
Even when he fought Margarito for a 154-pound trinket, at a catchweight of 150, Pacquiao weighed in the mid-140s. Size most definitely did not matter in this fight, as Pacquiao brutalized the bigger man and left him with a broken orbital bone.
Fight 7: Shane Mosley on May 7, 2011 at 145 pounds. W 12.
Juan Manuel Marquez
Fight 1: Joel Casamayor on Sept. 13, 2008 at 135 pounds. KO 11.
Fight 2: Juan Diaz on Feb. 28, 2009 at 134.25 pounds. KO 9.
Fight 3: Floyd Mayweather on Sept. 19, 2009 at 142 pounds. L 12
Many point to the weight as the reason Marquez was so thoroughly dominated by Mayweather. But it had at least as much to do with the fact that Marquez was, for one of the very few times in his career, in the ring with someone much quicker and slicker than he was.
Fight 4:Juan Diaz on July 31, 2010 at 133.5 pounds. W 12.
Fight 5: Michael Katsidis on Nov. 27, 2010 at 134 pounds. KO 9.
The Katsidis fight marked Marquez’s third successful defense of the lineal lightweight championship he won from Casamayor. Whether the Mexican great will ever return to 135 pounds after Saturday’s showdown with Pacquiao remains to be seen.
Fight 6: Likar Ramos on July 16, 2011 at 138 pounds. KO 1.
Overall Analysis: The fighters have clearly taken different weight-related paths since their second fight, with Pacquiao putting together an unprecedented run of successes across numerous divisions (even if some of the titles came as a result of the usual boxing sanctioning-body machinations) and Marquez mostly competing as a lightweight. All of the evidence suggests Marquez is still at his best when he weighs about 135 pounds. So for him to succeed in this third bout with Pacquiao, his most intelligent move is probably to weigh in some 8-10 pounds below the 144-pound limit and aim to beat Pacquiao with his speed and skill rather than trying to match the pound-for-pound king literally pound for pound. Needless to say, we’ll be watching Friday’s weigh-in closely …