MANILA, Philippines — Arriving in rain-drenched Manila to a rock star welcome Thursday morning, Juan Manuel Marquez of Mexico hinted at giving his fire-breathing Filipino foe a “taste of hell” when they square off the third time on Nov. 12 in Las Vegas.
Bitter all these years after coming close to beating Manny Pacquiao on two occasions, Marquez said his preparation for the rubber match will be unprecedented as he expects a monumental battle at the MGM Grand.
As an indication that he is dead-serious in upsetting Pacquiao, Marquez even went to jog outside the historical landmark Manila Hotel, the official residence of the Manila leg of the tour, according to Spanish-speaking publicist Ricardo Jimenez of Top Rank.
“I am training long and hard because this is going to be a difficult fight not only for me but for both of us,” said Marquez, who was on board Philippine Airlines flight 103 from Los Angeles.
Even though their first fight resulted in a draw and the rematch went Pacquiao’s way on a split decision, Marquez, who turned 38 last week, said he has Pacquiao all figured out.
“I know him,” said Marquez, who was joined in the trip not only by his trainer, the Hall of Fame strategist Nacho Beristain, Dr. Plutarco Gatica and training assistant Raul de Anda but by Top Rank big boss Bob Arum.
Marquez is in the country to kick-off the four-city press tour on Saturday at the Quirino Grandstand. The roadshow travels to New York on Sept. 6, Los Angeles on Sept. 7, and Mexico City on Sept. 8.
Jimenez, who was also on the same flight that Marquez boarded, narrated that as soon as passengers and airline staff recognized who Marquez was in Los Angeles, cameras clicked incessantly.
“Even inside the plane, people were still taking pictures of him,” said Jimenez, adding that the media welcome at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport was tremendous.
Smiling from ear-to-ear was Arum, who acknowledges the fact that the first two fights were razor-thin close.
“This is the reason why they’re fighting for the third time,” said Arum, who tagged along Mexico’s leading promoter Fernando Beltran and ace publicist Fred Sternburg to experience what Manila has to offer.
While Marquez insists that he has the technique needed to mess up Pacquiao, he remains wary of what Pacquiao can do considering that, in this third bout, they’ll be fighting at a catch weight of 145 lbs.
“Pacquiao has power and speed so I have to improve on my power and speed too,” said Marquez, stressing that he is more concerned now of gaining weight without sacrificing his movement.
Marquez fought Pacquiao at 126 lbs and 130 lbs where the Mexican felt at his best and when he tried to bulk up and fought Floyd Mayweather also at a catchweight, he fared miserably.
Meanwhile, Marquez paid a courtesy call on Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim.
Bringing Marquez as well as the Top Rank team to the Manila City was an 11-car convoy that included a TV crew from Mexico.
A meeting with the Mexican ambassador to the Philippines on Friday, TV guestings and interviews, a brief visit to the on-going World Pool Masters and attending Sunday mass at the Manila cathedral will make up Marquez’s visit here. (With a report from Anjo Perez)
Friday, September 2, 2011
Marquez vows to give Pacquiao a 'taste of hell'
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