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This writer has long said that undisputed lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez requires more than a Hail Mary to best reigning WBO welterweight champ Manny Pacquiao, perhaps Marquez’ greatest rival in the ring, in their upcoming title scrap November 12th, 2011 in Las Vegas, USA. After all, Marquez looked slow and sluggish against Floyd Mayweather in his lone bout as a welter a couple of years back. Mayweather breezed through the fight, registering a knockdown in the second stanza.

But one cannot deny that Marquez has always be a stylistic nightmare for Pacquiao, as evidenced by their last two fights, first in 2004 and the most recent in 2008. A very effective counterpuncher who operates best when his opponents come forward and swinging, the Mexican dynamite has been a puzzle that remains befuddling to the Filipino pugilist.

Pacquiao vs Marquez Press Conference

A lot has changed since they last met. Pacquiao became a punching dynamo equipped with a wide arsenal of offensive weapons, improved lateral movements, and ability to attack from weird angles. On top of that, the Filipino conquered opponents who are presumably bigger, heavier, and stronger, without losing his trademark speed. But even with such evolution, Pacquiao has never faced a master counterpuncher whose caliber is comparable to that of Marquez.

Emphasis on “NEVER”.

While this writer still maintains that the trilogy comes at a less opportune time (a bit too late, as I call it), expect a fight of epic proportions. Marquez, as mismatched as he is against his greatest adversary, will come to fight with the iron will to win, despite the seemingly huge opposing odds. And expect Pacquiao to finally settle an old score, but not without giving it his all.

It is a beatdown that will see Marquez lose decisively and Pacquiao the clear victor. But with Marquez’s Aztec warrior mentality along with his prizefighting finesse, it is going to be a hell of a beatdown.

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Kenneth P. Ragpala is an award-winning sports blogger who has been covering the sport of boxing since 2008. His works have appeared in local newspapers in his home city in Cagayan de Oro and in several online publications abroad. Ragpala has written for several boxing websites, namely Fight Hype, 8 Count News, and Bleacher Report.