Boxing: Marquez seeks trial of strength with Pacquiao

Mexican uses services of controversial coach to bulk up for fourth fight against nemesis tonight

They call Manny Pacquiao "Republican enemigo numero uno" in Mexico because of his ability to ruin the reputations and careers of their best fighters in a series of clashes at eight different weights that continues tonight at the MGM in Las Vegas.

Pacquiao will make as much as $25m (£16m), securing his position as the second-highest earning athlete in the world (Floyd Mayweather is first, Tiger Woods third), for what will be his fourth fight with Juan Manuel Marquez. Pacquiao leads two wins to a draw; he is 2-1 up against Erik Morales and 2-0 up against the great Marco Antonio Barrera.

Pacquiao will weigh 10.7 stone for the fourth Marquez fight, but he started beating Mexicans in 1999 in the first defence of his first title when he stopped Gabriel Mira in the fourth round to keep his WBC flyweight title. Pacquiao weighed just 7.13st for that fight.

There was a sequence of 12 bouts between 2003 and 2008 when Pacquiao sealed his fate with 10 wins from 11 fights against Mexicans, including stoppages of Barrera, Morales, Hector Velazquez and Jorge Solis. In late 2008 he even battered and sent Oscar de la Hoya, the bilingual crossover fighter, into retirement for good measure.

Pacquiao has beaten Mexican fighters from Mira at flyweight all the way through to the fearsome and huge Antonio Margarito at light middleweight in fights that cover a shift in weight from just 7.13 to 11st, during a span of 12 years. In boxing history no one has come even close to replicating his astonishing physical achievements over such a sustained period of excellence.

"The thing that we will never know is just how big he could have been," said Bob Arum, Pacquiao's promoter. "His early diet was terrible and he starved so often when he was growing up that we have no idea what size he really is."

Marquez and Pacquiao first met when they weighed nine stone exactly, the rematch was made four pounds heavier and their last fight in November 2011 was the same weight as tonight's clash. Marquez has won world titles at three weights compared to the astounding eight that Pacquiao has held and he has decided to finally try to match his nemesis for strength.

However, Marquez has employed the services of strength and conditioning coach Angel Hernandez, aka Angel Heredia, who was a star witness for the United States federal government in its infamous drug abuse case against Balco. Marquez does appear to have put on a lot of extra bulk, leading to Pacquiao's long-term trainer Freddie Roach issuing the ripe challenge: "If that is natural, I will kiss his ass." Pacquiao has been at the centre of gossip even after testing clean, always insisting that his strength comes from mixtures of exotic Filipino herbs, roots and dead animals.

So tonight the Mexican people will boo the little man from Manila, who left home when he weighed about five stone and was just 13 after his dad slaughtered his pet dog to feed the family. The "dog" story is probably a fantasy but Pacquiao's passage from a penniless seven-stone pro 17 years ago to Las Vegas star, weighing 10.7st and making in excess of $25m right now, is not a fairy tale.

Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appeal
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Ched Evans in action for Sheffield United in 2012
footballRonnie Moore says 'he's served his time and the boy wants to play football'
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture