With the ever expanding SBNation combat sports family, it has become painfully obvious that we now have the ability to have some big cross over between all the sites. Tonight after the UFC on Fox fight, Manny Pacquiao will be defending his WBO Welterweight title against Juan Manuel Marquez. Below are the predictions from some of SB Nation's most knowledgable writers when it comes to boxing.
Brent Brookhouse (Bloody Elbow/MMA Nation) - While I scored the first two bouts for Marquez, it's just too hard to pick him to win this fight. 38 years old and at welterweight is not the Juan Manuel Marquez that has proven himself one of the best boxers of the past 20 years. Pacquiao is in his prime, is comfortable at the weight and has developed into a two handed boxer of much higher skill than in the first two bouts.
While I do believe it will be an exciting fight and I do think Marquez will win a round or two, it should still be a fairly comfortable Pacquiao decision. I think Manny may score a knockdown or two but I think Marquez will get to the finishing line. Manny Pacquiao by unanimous decision.
Thomas Myers (MMANation/MMA Mania) - Marquez -- his counter-punching "Aztec warrior" style, power and toughness -- is tailor-made to defeat the Filipino fighter. Despite one very bad first round in their first fight, and a a knockdown in the third round of their rematch, Marquez has given Pacquaio fits. He could very well be 2-0-0 rather than 0-1-1. Yes, it's three years later. And yes, Marquez is three years older. Hopefully, whatever he's lost to age in quickness, he's made up for with wisdom. I like Marquez in this fight to pull off an upset, ruining the fantasy fight with Floyd Mayweather that has been embarrassingly teased for years. That can't happen. And I'm fairly confident Bob Arum or someone else behind the boxing scene will ensure it doesn't should this fight go to the judges scorecards. If Marquez fails to finish Pacquaio, therefore, I predict him to lose via crooked decision.
David Castillo (Head Kick Legend) - Pacquiao by TKO, round 10. While Marquez was highly competitive in their first two meetings (I had the first match a draw, and the 2nd for Manny by a very thin margin), I think the difference here will be watching Marquez' age begin to show, similar to how Manny's fights with Morales evolved. Even a small decrease in Juan's ability to counter will make it rough for Marquez going into the later rounds. Juan's boxing is all about timing, and as that declines, so will his ability to compete against the elite.
Scott Christ (Bad Left Hook) - This is a fight that has been criticized by many, if not by most, but I think there's still value here. If the fight is another good one, it seriously may be the best trilogy of the young century, and will join the likes of Vazquez vs Marquez, Barrera vs Morales, and Gatti vs Ward in that discussion. If the fight is a blowout, it tells us one or two things: Manny Pacquiao has gotten that good, and/or Juan Manuel Marquez just can't compete beyond the lightweight division.
Watching the first two fights this week psyched me out a little. I don't expect Marquez to avoid contact just to survive the way Shane Mosley and Marco Antonio Barrera have done in recent years against Manny, and he's not physically strong enough to endure punishment the way Antonio Margarito did, and doesn't have the brick wall defense of Joshua Clottey that lets him stand still for 12 boring rounds, either. One way or another, this fight will have two-way action. I'm betting it's largely dominated by Pacquiao, and the fight I most expect this to be reminiscent of is Pacquiao vs Cotto, where we saw Miguel Cotto come in with a good game plan and a lot of spirit, only to be broken down over the course of the fight. Pacquiao UD-12
Matthew Roth (Bloody Elbow) - A lot of people are talking about Marquez and how he's gotten older therefor he's also gotten slower. It's something that every fighter has to deal with in the twilight of their careers. My counter-point is that Manny Pacquiao has been sold as this amazing and exciting boxer yet he's been facing these older fighters for years now. He finished an old Oscar De La Hoya and a broken Ricky Hatton. However, in his last three fights he hasn't come close to stopping them within the time limit. Do I think he's gonna win tonight? Of course. But I don't think this is gonna be as much of a blowout as people are predicting. Marquez will remain competitive for much of the fight and will lose a unanimous decision. Pacquiao UD-12