NOTWITHSTANDING two wins covered under a cloud of doubt, Manny Pacquiao has been installed as favorite to beat Juan Manuel Marquez anew in their scheduled December 8 non-title fight in Las Vegas.
On Wednesday (Thursday, Manila time), the MGM Grand Opening Line has established the Filipino a clear 4-1 favorite over his longtime Mexican nemesis with whom he has fought three times in the past in one of boxing’s most compelling rivalries.
The 33-year-old Pacquiao is -400, meaning a US$400 bet on the boxing superstar will only win US$100, while the 39-year-old Marquez is +300 (US$100 bet will win US$300).
That the odds on Pacquiao winning almost doubled is a bit surprising considering the pride of the Philippines barely beat the Mexican in their last two meetings -- not to mention he is coming off a 12-round loss against Timothy Bradley.
Only a year ago, Pacquiao eked out a majority decision over Marquez to retain his World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title in a match not a few believed the Mexican should have won.
A lot also believed Marquez should have been the winner in their 2008 rematch won by Pacquiao via split decision to wrest the World Boxing Council (WBC) super-featherweight crown.
The first encounter between the two future Hall of Famer in 2004 ended in a draw despite Pacquiao scoring three knockdowns in their 12-round fight for the International Boxing Federation/World Boxing Association featherweight belts.
Now in the midst of a whirlwind, three-city press tour that comes to an end on Friday (Saturday, Manila time) in Mexico, both Pacquiao and Marquez vowed to knock each other out and settle the issue of their rivalry once and for all.
Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer for more than a decade now, acknowledges Marquez is the one fighter that has given the Filipino boxing legend a lot of trouble.
“We have Marquez three times using all kinds of strategy. It is time to throw logic out the window and start over,” said Roach during the New York stop of the mini-press tour.
“Marquez is the smartest fighter of his era.”