Boxing trainers say Pacman, Marquez grow from work, not doping
LAS VEGAS, Nevada, United States (AFP) - Trainers for Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez said hard work and fitness, not performance-enhancing drugs, have allowed their fights to add muscle and power as they move up in weight classes.
Doping has been an issue for both ﬁghters in Saturday’s (Sunday in Manila) welterweight ﬁght between Filipino icon Pacquiao, with world titles in a record eight weight classes, and Mexico’s Marquez, who seeks a world crown in his fourth division.
Unbeaten US star Floyd Mayweather failed to make a deal for a megaﬁght with Pacquiao in part because he wanted more extensive blood tests than usual, issuing taunts that prompted “Pacman’’ to ﬁle a slander lawsuit.
Marquez’s bulking up for the ﬁght came under greater scrutiny after Twitter notes from Victor Conte, the central ﬁgure in the BALCO steroid scandal, revealed that Marquez’s strength and conditioning coach is Angel Heredia.
Heredia admitted providing performance-enhancing substances to Trevor Graham, the former coach of disgraced dope cheats Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery as well as other former US athletics stars.
“There are different ways to get a ﬁghter very strong. We have done it the right way,’’ Ignacio Beristain, Marquez’s trainer, said through a translator. “I do not see why somebody should doubt we have done it the right way.’’ Marquez denies his bigger bulk has come through banned substances and has said he will take random blood or urine tests to prove he is not a dope cheat.
“I have done a clean preparation for this ﬁght like always,’’ Marquez said through a translator. “I will take any test any time. That is why anti-doping exams exist. It is a shame all the work I have done has been trashed.’’
Beristain said Thursday that his man received no help from banned substances, but was aided by nutrition and technique guidance from Heredia.
“I am grateful for what he did with my ﬁghter. I got a great guy who is strong,’’ Beristain said. “Juan would never do anything wrong. If he came to Juan with something, I know he would not take it. I know Juan well enough to know that. Mexican ﬁghters do not take that stuff. They know better. We teach them what that stuff can do to their bodies.’’
Freddie Roach, Pacquiao’s trainer, said his camp had enough of such taunts from Mayweather to ever think of tossing such charges at Marquez.
“I am so tired of that bulls—,’’ Roach said. “You get a ﬁghter in shape and make him work hard and (some people think) there must be something ﬁshy about that. I do not want to do that to them.’’
As for someone with doping links like Heredia working with Marquez, Roach was unmoved. “He was a rat,’’ Roach said. “But I do not care about that.’’
Pacquiao, 53-3 with two drawn and 38 knockouts, will defend his World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight crown against Marquez, 53-5 with one drawn and 39 knockouts.
“I have got two clean ﬁghters,’’ promoter Bob Arum said.
Pacquiao has little to prove after world titles in a record eight weight classes, but he carries an extra ﬁre into the ﬁght with Marquez.
Pacquiao, regarded as the world pound-for-pound king, will defend his title against Marquez after they fought to a 2004 draw and the Asian southpaw won a 2008 rematch by one point on one judge’s scorecard.
Marquez taunted Pacquiao by saying he truly won both prior ﬁghts, inspiring Pacman to train like never before.
“This is one of the most important ﬁghts I have had,’’ Pacquiao said. “This ﬁght is really important to me because he says he won the ﬁrst two ﬁghts. The question is what do I need to do to prove to people I won those ﬁghts.’’
A knockout would leave no doubt about which ﬁghter is superior and both men have made changes to boost their chances of landing such a blow, Marquez adding muscle to boost his power and Pacquiao improving his footwork and right hand.
“With the aggressiveness Manny has had in training, I am sure that is what he is looking for,’’ Roach said. “He has a little extra ﬁre in him. His attitude is aggressive. He wants this ﬁght badly. If Manny puts him down, I do not think he will get up.’’
Pacquiao knocked down Marquez three times in the ﬁrst round of their ﬁrst ﬁght but could not win and knocked him down in the third round of the rematch before barely escaping with the decision.
“I will go to my death and know that (Marquez) won that second ﬁght,’’ said Beristain. “I thought we won both of them,” Roach said. “They were great fights.”
Coming up empty twice against Pacquiao drives Marquez, who at 38 is six years older than the champion. “I am just as motivated as he is. I am just as upset as he is because I deserved to win those two fights,” Marquez said. “We are going to cure a lot of doubts.”
Pacquiao has given Beristain sleepless nights studying video while trying to find a strategy to end the 14-fight win streak of Pacman.
“You can lose a lot of sleep thinking about Manny Pacquiao,” Beristain said. “He is going to come like a lion to this fight. He has the whole Philippines on his shoulders. Pacquiao has a great punch. Every minute of every round you are in danger if you get hit. We have worked on ways to avoid that. We talked a lot about being more explosive with his punches.“
“Manny Pacquiao is a spectacular fighter. He likes to exchange. He always wants to fight. And he has found a guy who wants to stay in there and fight with him.”
Marquez is more cautious about Pacquiao’s improved right hand skill compared with the first two fights.
“In the past, he did not use his right hand,” Marquez said. “Now he is using the right hand with speed. We have to be careful of both hands. His left hand was always the big one, the one we tried to nullify. I think his right is the better one now. You have to be careful knowing that he can knock you out with either hand.”
But Beristain sees a possible edge for Marquez in Pacquiao’s evolution.
“He is a more complete fighter. That helps us,” Beristain said. `’Before he was throwing wild punches from different angles. You never knew where he was coming from. Now you know right where he is coming from. You know what he’s going to do.”
Not so fast, Roach warns, citing Pacquiao’s footwork.
“That is the key to the fight. That is the way to draw out Marquez,” Roach said. “Manny’s balance is better. He will throw the wild shot here and there. With Manny, it is hard to know when he is coming. It is because of the footwork. It is going to cause Marquez problems.”
Marquez has added muscle but that has brought speed concerns, although Beristain said Marquez can trade blows or evade punches when necessary.
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