LAS VEGAS – For someone who has fought Manny Pacquiao four times, it was easy for longtime rival Juan Manuel Marquez to notice there seems to be something amiss in the Filipino boxing icon.
The Mexican believes Pacquiao is not totally focused on his fight against Tim Bradley.
While he still sees the third duel between the two top welterweights as interesting, Marquez, now 42, pointed out that Pacquiao seemed not as focused as he was in his previous fights.
“Maybe the politician, maybe the family, maybe the religion, I don’t know what happened,” Marquez told four Manila-based sportswriters as he relaxed in an exclusive private club inside the MGM Grand on the eve of the fight.
“I think Pacquiao is not focused in the fight. This is important in a fight. Bradley is focused on the fight, he prepared very hard.”
Marquez flew all the way from Mexico not to watch the two warriors whom he traded punches with in the past, but to be the commentator for ESPN (Mexico).
One of the best known counterpunchers in boxing annals, Marquez fought Pacquiao and Bradley in the past and lost to both of them.
But he did deal his 37-year-old Filipino rival the worst loss of his career after knocking him out cold in the sixth round of their welterweight duel four years ago with a perfect counter right.
Marquez appeared to be more satisfied with the way the rivalry with Pacquiao ended. He discounted the possibility of meeting the southpaw for a fifth time, saying judging has something to do with it.
“If I won the fight, the closer fight and the judges gave me the decision, maybe I will do the fifth fight,” he said. “Pacquiao wants the fight, but you know what happened in the past.”
The native of Mexico City hasn’t officially retired from boxing, although he last fought in 2014 yet when he lost a 12-round unanimous decision to Mike Alvarado.
Marquez said he’s still weighing his options whether to finally walk away from boxing. His condition will have a big say on it, although he said he keeps fit by running every other day.
He believes though, he’s still good for another two fights.
“I will return to the ring if my condition will be great, if I will feel strong, if I will feel good, I’ll continue,” said Marquez.
Asked if he thinks Pacquiao should retire after the Bradley match, Marquez said it depends on the outcome.
“If Pacquiao loses the fight, you think he will retire? Nobody wants to lose and retire,” he said. “Win the fight and he can retire. He loses the fight and so what happens?”