Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao goes into his upcoming fourth instalment with Juan Manuel Marquez knowing that nothing less than a knockout victory will keep his hopes of a super-fight with Floyd Mayweather alive.
Another performance like their last meeting and Mayweather will undoubtedly be turned off a contest with the eight-weight champion as their will be a unified feeling that Pacquiao may now be way past his best.
The 33 year-old’s last two fights have been in question, although one through no fault of his own against Timothy Bradley – but even that maybe should have been put right before attempting to score convincing win over Marquez on the back of three failures.
The pressure on Pacquiao for this fight is intense, and he isn’t hiding the fact that he is feeling it himself.
Trainer Freddie Roach has constantly been giving out statements of intent for the December 8 bout at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and Pacquiao is direct in agreement with his long-time coach.
Pacquiao recently echoed his intentions to World Boxing News, without alluring to what he already knows – that nothing but a stoppage will do. No matter how convincing any victory may be next month, the ‘Pacman’ is in danger of making Mayweather’s decision not to accept a multi-million dollar super-fight easy.
Even a 120-108 win would have question marks by some sceptics as his Mexican opponent goes into the fight having turned 39 in August. But by becoming the first fighter to ever stop Marquez, Pacquiao stakes his claim for pound for pound crown once again and puts the ball firmly in Mayweather’s court for next year.