Freeman Cebu Sports

Roach: Pacquiao will KO Marquez


CEBU, Philippines - Five days since their cool exchange of words in Manila, nothing different has been said when Filipino sports icon Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez faced off in New York yesterday for the second wave of their World Press Tour but celebrated American trainer Freddie Roach provided some fireworks to the show by saying that Pacquiao will knock the Mexican punching dynamo cold this time around.

"Pacquiao will knock him out somewhere along the way," Roach said in a report by espn.com. "Manny can't just walk in like we did [in the] first two. He was just a young kid then; he's a much more intelligent fighter. I'm very confident we will knock him out."

Pacquiao has earlier vowed to erase all doubts and put a definitive end to his rivalry with Marquez after their first two encounters were shrouded with controversy.

Pacman knocked down Marquez three times in the opening round during the first time they traded blows in 2004, but the sturdy Mexican survived the ordeal and went on to forge a draw. In their 2008 rematch, they figured in another super close battle that saw Pacquiao squeezing through a split decision victory after a bloody 12-round rumble.

Marquez has claimed since then that he won both fights, but Pacquiao gamely declared he is out to prove superiority over the Mexican in their highly-anticipated November 12 showdown at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

"I already proved it [beat Marquez]," Pacquiao said, "but somebody is claiming they won the fight. I have to work again and prove I won the fights. I want to prove that somebody is wrong and somebody is right," said Pacquiao, who set up a jovial mood for the press conference with his wonderful rendition of the "Sometimes When We Touch" hit along with its original singer and composer Dan Hill.

"I don't know what Marquez can improve moving up in weight," he said. "We fought at 130 pounds in the last fight, and the third fight is 144. I don't know what he can do. When I saw his last fight, I saw a still-good Marquez, but the difference is, I changed a lot since the last fight we had. ... I changed a lot of my style, and improved my technique and strategy and my power. I'm not underestimating him."

Roach, too, affirmed that his most prized fighter has evolved into a complete and higly-skilled artisan in the ring but added they still have to be extra cautious against Marquez.

"We have to be a little smarter. We can't walk in recklessly," Roach told usatoday.com

In between questions thrown to Pacquiao and Marquez, talks shift to Floyd Mayweather, Jr. - a name that will surely follow wherever the Pacman is.

And Pacquiao gave reporters a fair answer saying that he is open to the possibility of slugging it out with the man he dethroned as the world's pound-for-pound king.

"I'm thinking right now that Floyd is preparing for our battle because he's got a southpaw opponent for his next fight," Pacquiao told usatoday.com. "Maybe it will come. I'd give it a possibility."

Roach said he also would like that megafight to happen in the future. "I want to see that fight as badly as all of you, because he's (Mayweather) a challenge and I love a challenge," the amiable tactician said.

Top Rank big boss Bob Arum assured that he will work out that match if Mayweather takes care of his business against Victor Ortiz on September 17 and Pacquiao disposes off Marquez. - THE FREEMAN

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