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He doesn’t look like that bloated lightweight chump who fought Floyd Mayweather two years ago. Not bad at all.

From all angles, Mexican boxing legend Juan Manuel Marquez (53-5-1, 39 KOs) looks ripped (and big). There must be something team Marquez is doing right at their end. Well, it could range from adapting scientific methods of bulking up to totally disdaining the inclusion of bladder juice in his training regimen.

Also, speculations that surround Marquez’s strength and conditioning coach Angel Hernandez float over the Mexican’s sudden increase in muscles mass.

But will the immediate rise in weight and size help the Mexican dynamite to, at the very least, come competitive against his upcoming opponent, WBO welterweight titlist Manny Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KOs)?

Nothing is set in stone, or so the old adage goes.

Many observers contend that Juan Manuel Marquez like a fattened calf when he fought Floyd Mayweather two years ago.

That said, Marquez has been talking about how he would beat Pacquiao by increasing his speed while muscling up. But while this may seem like a good idea, Pacquiao’s long-time mentor, Freddie Roach, believes the ploy will set Marquez for a knockout.

The American boxing coach, who has won the BWAA Trainer of the Year accolade four times, expects Marquez to come out strong and engage Pacquiao early. The Filipino champion is highly successful against opponents who come to him and lock him in a trade. Notable examples include former world champions Ricky Hatton and Antonio Margarito.

I love that for my guy,” Roach said.

But for Filipino conditioning coach Pio Solon, who is the head of the conditioning programs of ALA Gym fighters such as AJ “Bazooka” Banal, Rey “Boom Boom” Bautista, and Milan “Method Man” Melindo, Marquez’s move to bulk up in size may help him in his fight against Pacquiao.

It’s better than coming to the fight fat,” Solon told this writer. “I can’t judge whether his increase in size will decrease his hand speed. But so far, he looks good. I think it’s the upcoming fight will the most competitive Pacquiao has had in the past two years.

Some people are born with a certain percentage of fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscle fibers. But speed is also a very adaptive motor skill. To an extent, it can be trained but it’s also physiologically and genetically predetermined.”

Ultimately, Solon told this writer that revved-up hand speed will not be Marquez’s strongest point come fight night.

On hand speed, I do not think Marquez will be able to compete and frankly, I do not think that is how Marquez will be able to neutralize Pacquiao.

What is important at this point is to time his counters perfectly,” Solon said.


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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.