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Marquez hopes for fair fight against Pacquiao

Juan Manuel Marquez has complained that he can’t get a fair shake when he fights Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas.

So why did Marquez agree to return to the MGM Grand Garden on Saturday for his fourth meeting with Pacquiao?

"I was very angry at the time," Marquez said, referring to their third fight on Nov. 12, 2011.

After Pacquiao won by majority decision, Marquez vowed afterward never to return to Southern Nevada. "I said things then that were out of anger," he said. "But the people know I won that fight, and the others as well. The only people who thought I didn’t win the fight were the judges.

"I don’t like fighting here (in Las Vegas). I would have preferred fighting in Mexico. Manny wanted to fight in Mexico. But the promoters wanted it here. So here we are."

In three previous fights with Pacquiao, the best Marquez has managed was a draw, which came in their first meeting in 2004. Pacquiao won a split decision in their 2008 rematch and the majority decision 13 months ago.

The fact Marquez will earn a minimum of $6 million Saturday probably had a lot to do with his accepting a fourth fight in Las Vegas against Pacquiao, who is scheduled to make $26 million. At 39, Marquez knows he won’t have many big paydays left.

He also will have a fresh set of faces judging the fight – Adalaide Byrd of Las Vegas, Steve Weisfeld of New Jersey and John Keane of Great Britain.

Top Rank chairman Bob Arum said once Marquez was assured the judges would not all be from Las Vegas, he was fine.

"He was worried it would be the same judges as last time, and that was never going to be the case," Arum said.

Marquez said he hopes there won’t be any issues with the judging this time around.

"I’m very happy that none of the judges that worked the other three fights will be working this one," Marquez said. "The only thing I am asking for them is to be fair and for them to qualify what is happening in the ring."

Marquez can take it out of the judges’ hands by knocking Pacquiao out. That’s easier said than done, which is why Marquez won’t predict a KO Saturday.

"It is difficult but not impossible to knock (Pacquiao) out," Marquez said. "The last time we fought, I did say I needed a knockout. But Manny Pacquiao is a strong fighter. It’s not easy to knock him out.

"I won’t go for the knockout right away, but if I get the opportunity for the knockout, I will go for one. I will fight with intelligence, and I will also be a counter-puncher. You need to fight intelligently to get a knockout."

Marquez spent a good portion of his time with reporters Tuesday after his official arrival at the MGM defending himself against accusations made by the Pacquiao camp that his increased size was not attained naturally.

"We can talk about it all day," Marquez said of allegations that he has used performance-enhancing drugs. "I’ll take any test they want."

Marquez (54-6-1, 39 KOs) said that while the four meetings with Pacquiao will have shaped his legacy, they’re not the only fights for which he should be remembered.

"You cannot qualify my career in only four fights," he said. "I have had many other fights, and they have all been important."

Marquez points to his 2007 fight against Marco Antonio Barrera in which he won the WBC super featherweight title as an example.

"Barrera was an important fight for me," he said.

But Marquez knows this fourth fight with Pacquiao might be what fans always remember because it could be his last.

"I want to be able to retire with a victory over Manny Pacquiao," Marquez said. "I have this opportunity, and I feel strong mentally and physically. If I win this fight, I will continue. If I don’t, we may go forward. We may stop. Who knows? Right now, I am only thinking about Saturday."

Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.

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