Saturday Night Fights: UFC, Pacman and Vegas
By David Avila
Biggest prizefight of the year happens this week when number one pound for pound champion Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao battles it out with nemesis Juan Manuel “Dinamita” Marquez in Las Vegas.
But that’s not all that’s happening.
While Pacman (53-3-2, 38 KOs) and Marquez (53-5-1, 39 KOs) battle, and WBO junior welterweight king Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley joins them in the semi-main event at the MGM Grand, a huge mixed martial arts title fight takes place in Anaheim as Cain Velazquez defends the Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight title.
It all happens on the same day Saturday Nov. 12.
There’s something for everyone on Saturday whether it’s MMA or pro boxing.
Locally, Velasquez (9-0) finally returns to the Octagon to defend the title against Brazil’s super strong Junior Dos Santos (13-1) at the Honda Center on Saturday. It’s the heavyweight champion’s first defense since ripping it away from Brock Lesnar a year ago.
“It feels the same,” said Velasquez about returning to the Honda Center where he grabbed the UFC title. “There are a lot of Latinos here.”
It’s the first time that Fox will televise the event on a national live scale and it has UFC president Dana White more anxious and nervous than the fighters.
“We’ve never done anything like this,” White said recently. “There’s only going to be one fight televised.”
Other portions of the MMA card can be seen either live or through Facebook.com or Fox.com.
In Las Vegas, one of the most anticipated rematches takes place when WBO welterweight titleholder Pacquiao faces Mexico’s lightweight world champion Marquez for a third time. Previous encounters resulted in a draw and a much disputed win for the Filipino southpaw.
“I felt I won both fights,” said Marquez, 38, who lives and trains in Mexico City. “But I’m grateful to be fighting Manny Pacquiao a third time.”
And why not?
Both will receive far more than $12 million for this contest that will be shown on HBO pay-per-view. That’s just the guaranteed portion.
Pacquiao has been established as the prohibitive 9-1 favorite in this rubber match mostly because of Marquez’s poor showing against another welterweight Floyd Mayweather two years ago. The extra weight seemed to bog down the Mexican fighter’s speed and reflexes so he signed a conditioning coach Angel Heredia for this fight.
The boxing media has raised a lot of questions regarding Heredia’s past that includes accusations of illegal use of performance enhancement drugs. Many point to Marquez’s new muscular build as a sign of PED usage. Others accuse Pacquiao’s team of the same tactics.
“The idea that Victor Conte and this guy (Hernandez) would be dealing with steroids makes no sense. They’ve dealt with the legal system in the US. The last thing they would do is deal with illegal substances,” said Top Rank’s Bob Arum who is promoting the fight. “They using natural and totally legal supplements and state of the art conditioning methods”
The accusations don’t seem to stir up problems with either fighter.
“It doesn’t bother me at all,” said Marquez while at the Santa Anita Racetrack this past Saturday. “I used different conditioning methods because this is a very important fight and I want to do my best against Manny Pacquiao.
Pacquiao agrees and has increased his training tempo for this fight.
“I believe this fight will be much more exciting fight because of Marquez’s style and his followers,” said Pacquiao. “It’s going to be a lot of boxing in the ring. You can see our last two fights created a lot of boxing in the ring.”
It’s Bradley’s first time fighting under the Top Rank banner and the junior welterweight world champion we’ll be facing Cuba’s Joel “El Cepillo” Casamayor (38-5-1).
Bradley participated at the public workout at Santa Anita Racetrack along with Marquez on Saturday and was awed by the response.
“I never did anything like this before,” said Bradley (27-0) who shadow boxed in a make-shift ring along the race track turf. “I’m going to be ready for Casamayor. I hope he’s ready for me.”
Bradley could face the winner of Pacquiao-Marquez.
“Its exciting man,” Bradley said.
Fights on television
Fri. Fox, 7 p.m., Mercito Gesta (23-0) vs. Ricardo Dominguez (34-7-2).
Sat. Fox, 6 p.m., Cain Velasquez (9-0) vs. Junior Dos Santos (13-1).
Sat. HBO pay-per-view, 6 p.m., Manny Pacquiao (53-3-2) vs. Juan Manuel Marquez (53-5-1); Tim Bradley (27-0) vs. Joel Casamayor (38-5-1); Mike Alvarado (31-0) vs. Breidis Prescott (24-3).