Juan Manuel Marquez's trainer, Nacho Beristain, agrees that Manny Pacquiao is much-improved technically since he and Marquez first fought. But, he argues, those improvements will be to his fighter's advantage.
"Without a doubt, his trainer's done a great job with him," Beristain told reporters through an interpreter at the MGM Grand on Thursday. "He's taught him a lot. He's become a more complete fighter, but that helps us. Before, he was a little wild, throwing different punches from different angles. Now he's a more efficient fighter, but I think that helps us. Not being so wild, instead of not knowing where it's coming from, we know exactly what he wants to do."
The first two meetings between Marquez and Pacquiao were closely fought, back-and-forth crowd pleasers, and Beristain says he is confident the third leg of the trilogy will be no different.
"I believe that because Manny Pacquiao is such a spectacular fighter, he's always willing to exchange, he's always willing to fight and he found a guy who's willing to fight with him, in his own style, at his own pace -- I think that's why they make such great fights,” Beristain said. "One guy is trying to make his own style work, and the other guy is trying to make it not work, to do his own thing. Their style just matches, and I believe the third fight is going to be the best one."
Freddie Roach, Pacquiao's trainer, expressed surprise Wednesday that Marquez had elected to bulk up, adding muscle to make the fight's 144-pound weight limit, rather than coming in light and using the speed and counterpunching that had served him well in the first two contests. Beristain said the plan had always been to make Marquez stronger, although he acknowledged he'd had concerns over what that muscle would do to his fighter's speed -- concerns, Beristain insists, that have been assuaged.
"We wanted him to be strong enough to be more explosive with his punches," he said. "I was very concerned in the beginning, I could see he was slowing down. But over the last 15 days he's picked it up. We've done something different and I'm much happier now with his speed. I was expecting to get a slower fighter. I knew he was going to get bigger. But every time he went into the gym, he did what I wanted him to do. I knew he was bigger, I knew he was stronger, but the speed now is coming up. I was a little concerned in the beginning, but he's coming along and I think he's going to be fine for the fight."
Talk of the new Marquez physique inevitably leads to questions about the man who helped provide it, the Mexican's strength and conditioning coach, Angel Hernandez -- who, when known as Angel Heredia, provided steroids to track stars such as Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery. But Beristain insists he isn't at all concerned that there may be anything nefarious behind his fighter's muscle gain:
"I'm grateful for what they did with my fighter. I've got a real good fighter, a real strong fighter, a guy with a lot of energy. I know that Juan would never take anything illegally. He would never do anything like that. He's always been a clean fighter, and this guy can't do anything wrong. If he does anything wrong, all the eyes of the world will be on him. I know if [Hernandez] came to Juan with something, Juan would never take it. I'm not worried about that."