Laura Ranch / Associated Press
Tuesday, July 27, 2010 | 6:56 p.m.
Manny Pacquiao is good. Floyd Mayweather Jr. is better.
At least that’s the opinion of one of their common opponents.
Juan Manuel Marquez made his grand arrival Tuesday at the Mandalay Bay hotel lobby in preparation for his rematch with Juan Diaz this weekend.
With the reality still settling in that Pacquiao and Mayweather will not fight in 2010, Marquez offered his opinion on which of the two would win if they ever meet.
“I think Mayweather,” Marquez said. “He has the great defense. He can move, move, move. Pacquio has the power, but Mayweather has the intelligence, the speed and the counterpunches.”
Marquez (50-5-1, 37 KO) has faced Pacquiao twice, fighting him to a draw in 2004 and dropping a narrow split decision in 2008. He lost a lopsided unanimous decision to Mayweather last September.
Although he’s winless in three tries against the widely considered top two fighters in the world, Marquez still believes he’s got what it takes to beat them both.
The Mexican fighter feels as though he was robbed of a win both times against Pacquiao (51-3-2, 38 KO) and says that had Mayweather (41-0, 25 KO) dropped to lightweight in their fight instead of forcing him to go up, the outcome would have been different.
“Mayweather is a great fighter, but he was very heavy for me,” said Marquez, whose only fight above 135 pounds was against Mayweather. “Yes, I think if Mayweather had fought at 135 or 140 it would have been a different fight.”
Not only did Mayweather not fight Marquez at lightweight, he didn’t fight at the agreed-upon 144 pounds, either.
On the day of the weigh-in, Mayweather came in at 146 pounds. Although the infraction cost him $600,000 of his purse, Marquez believes he did it on purpose.
By the night of the fight, Marquez guesses Mayweather outweighed him by about 15 pounds.
“I think Mayweather didn’t want to lose more weight because it’s very important,” Marquez said. “He took that advantage. At first I was surprised and I felt very angry, but I don’t know what I could have done.”
Marquez doesn’t mind talking about the disappointing outcomes of the Pacquiao fights or Mayweather’s decision to ignore the weigh limit — in fact, he smiles as he does.
Even at 35, Marquez is entering an exciting part of his career.
His lightweight title fight against Diaz will be a rematch of one of the most entertaining bouts of 2009.
Should he come away from the weekend with a win, Marquez is expected to move up in weight and take on junior welterweight champion Amir Khan. The opportunity would give him a shot at a world title in a third weight division.
Adding to the excitement is that his younger brother, Rafael, also has a title fight scheduled. Rafael is set to face Juan Manuel Lopez on Sept. 18 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
“It’s great for me and great for my family,” said Marquez on his brother’s success. “I talked to my brother this morning and I felt very happy because he has another great fight. I’m happy he took it.”
Marquez says his goal is to string together enough wins to force Pacquiao into fighting him again, although a third meeting between the two looks unlikely at this point.
Whether or not he receives that coveted matchup or not, it seems clear Marquez has no intention of hanging up his gloves. And with fights still available to him like the one this weekend, no one can blame him.
“I feel great. My body keeps saying to me, ‘more,’” Marquez said. “If it ever is saying, ‘no more,’ I’ll retire.”