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Marquez sees tough first round

By NICK GIONGCO

ARCADIA, California ­- A day spent at the races on Saturday afternoon gave Juan Manuel Marquez the time to mull over next week’s trilogy with Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas.

Appearing at the picturesque Santa Anita Park to drumbeat his much-awaited third encounter with Pacquiao, Marquez said he is more than ready to take up the challenge, saying he knows what’s right in store for him in the first round.

“The first round is going to be tough for me because Pacquiao will be looking for the knockout,” said Marquez, who went straight to the historic racetrack that has the San Gabriel mountains as background after his flight from Mexico City.

Still, Marquez believes he has done enough to welcome whatever Pacquiao would bring to the ring at the MGM Grand.

“I am very satisfied with my preparation and I trained hard,” said the 38-year-old fighter, clad in a thick jacket to fight off the wintry weather prevailing in this bright autumn day.

Marquez is all juiced up that he actually did his last sparring session a day before getting here.

“I did six rounds yesterday and I did maybe a total of 140 rounds,” said Marquez, a huge underdog going into what could be his last chance at beating the Filipino.

Officially, Marquez is 0-1-1 (win-loss-draw) against Pacquiao but the Mexican insists it should have been 2-0 in his favor as he had done enough to merit the decision.

“I still think I won the first two fights. The people know that I won and I don’t know why Pacquiao is so angry at me for what I said. But the people know (I won both).“

As Marquez was regaling the appreciative crowd, 18 miles away at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, Pacquiao was also doing the same, giving trainer Freddie Roach all the reason to look forward to next week’s bash in Sin City.

Pacquiao sparred six rounds and will do four on Monday just before he goes on a four-hour drive to Las Vegas.

Roach is upbeat Pacquiao will score an overwhelming win that it would put an end to the debate over who really is the superior fighter between the two.

“We’ll shut him up this time,“ said Roach.

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