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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: HR Assistant

£17447 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This organisation is a leading centre fo...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Case Handler

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Trainee Case Handler is requi...

Recruitment Genius: Junior Sales Apprentice

£15000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £20,000 - £60,000

£20000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence