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Manny Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Marquez exude confidence at weigh-in

In the third fight between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez, Pacquiao predicts a knockout. Marquez is bulkier, and his trainer says they're going for the 'technical advantage.'

November 11, 2011|By Lance Pugmire
  • Manny Pacquiao, left, and Juan Manuel Marquez face off during their weigh-in on Friday in Las Vegas.
Manny Pacquiao, left, and Juan Manuel Marquez face off during their weigh-in… (Jewel Samad / AFP / Getty…)

Reporting from Las Vegas -- Juan Manuel Marquez weighed in at a sculpted 142 pounds Friday for his third fight against Manny Pacquiao, who came in a pound below the welterweight-title catch-weight limit at 143.

Marquez, 38, flashed noticeably larger biceps and an ultimate six-pack abdomen after an 11-week training course under a controversial new strength coach.

The plan for Saturday night at MGM Grand Garden Arena, Marquez says, is to make the punches he lands against Pacquiao have more effect. The two fought to a draw in 2004, and Pacquiao won a split decision in 2008.

PHOTOS: Pacquiao vs. Marquez weigh-in

"I think I can knock him down, knock him out, yes," Marquez (53-5-1, 39 knockouts) said backstage after the weigh-in. "I know it's difficult, but I've trained very hard. My training camp was very good."

Marquez's Hall of Fame trainer, Ignacio "Nacho" Beristain, said the victory plan doesn't hinge on a knockout, however.

"You need a bat to knock down Pacquiao," Beristain said. "We're looking to outclass, for the technical advantage. And Juan looks good."

Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 KOs) stepped off the scale to an interview area near the 5,500 fans who watched the weigh-in and one barked, "Take him out, Manny! Finish him!"

Pacquiao looked into the man's eyes, smiled wide and nodded his head assuredly. He's right in his comfort zone at 143 pounds, noting, "This is my natural weight."

"I've trained 10 weeks for this fight," Pacquiao told Spanish-language TV Azteca interviewers Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. and Marco Antonio Barrera. "I want to win and have no doubts. No issues.

"Marquez is a real warrior, a great boxer and fighter, and I expect a good fight."

Chavez has been around the game long enough to know what Pacquiao is thinking, however, so he asked the near 10-to-1 betting favorite the question many want to know.

"What round?" Chavez asked.

After a lot of laughing and smiling, Pacquiao answered.

"Yes," he said.

Those in Pacquiao's camp exude even more confidence.

Amir Khan, the world junior-welterweight champion from England who trains alongside Pacquiao at Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, said, "I give it about six to seven rounds.

"Marquez is too big, too muscular. He trained wrong. He should've worked to come in quicker. Didn't he see what Manny did to the bigger guys already? [Miguel] Cotto? [Antonio] Margarito?"

Pacquiao scored a 12th-round technical knockout of Cotto in late 2009, and badly beat up Margarito in a unanimous decision last November.

Alex Ariza, Pacquiao's strength and conditioning coach, said he's not troubled by Marquez's association with strength coach Angel "Memo" Heredia despite Heredia's role as a performance-enhancing drug supplier, then as a cooperative government witness in some criminal and disciplinary cases.

"I'm glad he got somebody to work with," Ariza said of Marquez.

"But my guy looks great. It's all about having speed, being fast and explosive. [Pacquiao is] happy, especially with his footwork. All he has to do now is execute."

Pacquiao feels so good that he's already maneuvering for his next fight.

A close Pacquiao friend said there've been discussions to stage a one-on-one basketball game between Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. in December or January that would whet the appetite for their possible super-fight in 2012.

"Yes, I know about it; I'd like to play," Pacquiao said leaving the arena Friday.

Go-betweens have apparently reached out to Mayweather, but no one from the Mayweather camp returned messages left by The Times on Friday.

Pacquiao has a more important date to keep Saturday night, anyway.

PHOTOS: Pacquiao vs. Marquez weigh-in

lance.pugmire@latimes.com

twitter.com/latimespugmire

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