Marquez seeks vindication from third fight with Pacquiao

By Mark Lamport-Stokes

(Reuters) - Vindication is the buzzword for Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez as he prepares for the concluding chapter in his trilogy of bouts with Manny Pacquiao next week.

"Now it's time to shed doubt over who the best fighter is," Marquez said on a conference call Wednesday while wrapping up his training camp in Mexico. "I want to win this fight because I believe I won the first two fights.

"We are not the only ones saying that we won those first two fights. A lot of people out there, a lot of fans and a lot of the media, agree. So we will be ready and prepared."

Marquez gave southpaw Pacquiao extra motivation for the fight by wearing a T-shirt bearing the legend: "We Were Robbed" when their November 12 showdown was promoted recently in the Philippines.

While Pacquiao claims he was insulted by that fashion statement, Marquez believes he has just as much incentive for their third and final meeting.

"It is personal for me too," said the 38-year-old Mexican, who has a career record of 53-5-1 with 39 knockouts said. "If he is upset about me saying that I won the first two fights, I am upset that I haven't got the decisions.

"I am just as motivated as he is. We all have our opinions. That's his opinion and my opinion is that I didn't get the decisions that I deserved. I think this fight is going to be great because we both want it so bad."

Marquez, a three-division world champion, is in the twilight of his glittering career and will go into next week's bout as a 9-1 underdog against one of the best offensive fighters of all time.


"(Odds) don't do anything for me," said the Mexican, who recovered from three knockdowns in the opening round to earn a draw when they first clashed in May 2004.

"People can bet what they want, people can put the odds how they want them. If they like the 9-1 odds, that's fine with me. It has nothing to do with the fight.

"I am just going in with the mentality that I have to win the rounds. If the opportunity comes, if I hurt him, then I will go for the knockout. I am not going to hesitate if the opportunity is there to go for it."

"Pacquiao has definitely become a better technical fighter than he was," said Marquez's trainer Ignacio "Nacho" Beristain. "He has become a more complete boxer.

"His punches are now more clinical, he is not as wild as he used to be. He looks like he knows what he is doing and that's directly the effect that Freddie Roach, his trainer, has had. He has learned a lot of techniques and a lot of new things and he is doing them better, especially the right hook."

Beristain knows Marquez can no longer simply focus on the Filipino's lethal left hand.

"When we fought the first couple of times, his (Pacquiao's) left hand was always the big one, the one we had to worry about, the one that we tried to nullify," Beristain said.

"We see that he has a better right hand now. I think you just go up into the ring with the mentality that you must be ready for both, stay focused on what you need to do.

"We have always won the 'comeback zone', as I like to call it. It's important that we do it again but we know it's not going to be easy. We have to be smart enough to know how to do it and when to do it. That's what Juan is capable of doing."

(Editing by Julian Linden)