Manny Pacquiao has been installed as the big 2/5 favourite to win his fight with Juan Manuel Márquez this Saturday night – but things look like being a lot closer than those odds suggest.
This is the fourth meeting in eight years between the fighters, with Pacquiao winning two and the other ending in a draw.
However, that only tells half the story.
Many people – including Márquez himself – believes the Mexican can legitimately claim to have won all three encounters. Their first encounter in 2004 ended level, their next saw Pacquiao win on a split-points decision, while he also took their last meeting with a majority decision.
The closeness of those fights (they’ve duelled it out over 36 rounds in their career) suggests that the 2/1 offered for Márquez to finally come through and get a decision looks well worth backing, especially as much of the 20,000-seater MGM Grand will be full of partisan Mexicans.
However, Márquez is now 39-years-old and should find the rejuvenated Pacquiao, if not too hot to handle, then certainly uncomfortably warm at the higher weight division.
Pacquiao has attempted to goad Márquez out of his counter-attacking style this week by urging him to fight toe-to-toe and show he is truly the better fighter. That’s unlikely to get to Márquez though and the conservative style that’s served him so well throughout his career won’t be abandoned because of some gentle gamesmanship.
Because of this, backing Pacquiao – who should be doing a lot of chasing throughout the fight – to win on a points decision at 11/10 looks well worth backing, while a punt on a draw/technical draw at 20/1 is also due some serious consideration due to the closeness of their previous three encounters.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date