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Boxing | International

Manny Pacquiao (L) and Juan Manuel Marquez © Gallo Images

Happiness is ... just one win



Juan Manuel Marquez wants to celebrate victory over Manny Pacquiao, just once.

That is his sole motivation for the non-title welterweight clash with his arch-rival in Las Vegas on Saturday night.

Marquez has fought Pacquiao three times, most recently 13 months ago in the same MGM Grand ring where they meet on Saturday. But he has not beaten the Filipino.

"People tell me, 'You really beat him', in the last three fights," Marquez, a three-division world champion, said on Wednesday. "A lot of people feel I beat him.

"But I want to have my hand raised. I want the judges to really look at what they're doing and get it right this time."

When they last met, Pacquiao retained his WBO welterweight title with a controversial majority decision.

For his part, Pacquiao seems to be growing increasingly irritated by the Mexican's insistence that he won their previous three fights, particularly because of the counter-punching style favoured by Marquez, whose record now stands at 54-6-1, with 39 knockouts.

"He always claims he won the fights," said Pacquiao (54-4; 38) who has won world titles in eight divisions. "So he needs to prove something.

"You cannot say, 'Yes I won the fight' when you are always backing off. If you're claiming you won the fight, then you have to press the action."

FOUR-FIGHT RIVALRY

The four-fight rivalry between the two almost failed to last one round. Pacquiao knocked Marquez down three times in the opening round of their first encounter in 2004, but the Mexican rallied to outbox his opponent and eke out a draw.

In their second meeting, four years later, Pacquiao knocked down Marquez in the third round, which proved the difference when he won a split decision.

Their third bout was adjudged a majority decision victory for the Filipino southpaw, despite his surprisingly unimpressive performance.

"I thought Manny won that fight," Pacquiao's trainer Freddie Roach said on Wednesday. "But the booing was very loud and very vocal.

"Someone said, 'Why aren't you smiling? You won the fight'. And I said, 'It's very hard to smile when you're being booed.’"

Pacquiao acknowledges that his series of fights with Marquez had been the defining rivalry of his career.

"When you say 'Muhammad Ali', you think 'Joe Frazier'," the Filipino said. "And I think when you say 'Manny Pacquiao', you think 'Juan Manuel Marquez'. And when you say 'Marquez', you think 'Manny Pacquiao'."

But neither man is expecting a fifth fight, whatever happens on Saturday. The fourth bout, they insist, will be the last.

"This is the last fight with Manny," said Marquez. "I don't know what will happen in the ring, but this is the last time."

UNDERCARD ACTION

RON JACKSON writes that SuperSport viewers will be able to watch several other top-class fights on the undercard.

The talented Yuriorkis Gamboa, undefeated at 21-0, with 16 knockouts, faces Michael Farenas (34-3-4; 26) for the interim WBA junior lightweight title.

Gamboa, a 28-year-old Cuban, is a former WBA and IBF featherweight champion. He won a gold medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens and now lives in Miami, Florida.

It will be his first fight this year but he has beaten highly rated fighters such as Rogers Mtagwa, Jonathon Victor Barros, Jorge Solis and Daniel Ponce De Leon.

Farenas, 28, from the Philippines, has lost just once in his past 30 fights.

That was in July this year when he challenged WBA super-featherweight champion Takashi Uchiyama. The fight was stopped in the third round and declared a technical draw after Farens was cut over the right eye.

Miguel Vazquez, a Mexican with a record of 32-3; 13, will defend his IBF lightweight title against a 25-year-old Filipino, Mercito Gesta (26-01; 14) who is rated at No 5.

Vazquez, 25, won the vacant belt in 2010 and has made four defences.

Vazquez, unlike most Mexicans, is a stylish fighter. Gesta who has been called “the next Pacquiao”.

Two undefeated fighters, Javier Fortuna (20-0; 15) and Patrick Hyland (27-0; 12) meet for the interim WBA featherweight title.

The 23-year-old Fortuna, a southpaw from the Dominican Republic, beat Yuandale Evans and Cristobal Cruz in his past two fights.

Hyland, 29, born Ireland but now based in Newburgh, New York, has beaten the likes of Emmanuel Lucero, Frankie Archuleta and Carlos Fulgencio this year.



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