Unfinished Business–Manny Pacquiao vs Juan Manuel Marquez
Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez look to finalize loose ends left from their previous meetings when they complete the last leg of their great trilogy at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Saturday, November 12th.
Pacquiao vs Marquez II
The official record currently stands at 24 rounds completed in two fights with Pacquiao leading 1-0-1 to 0-1-1 while scoring exactly one(1) more point in the combined scoring totals. That includes 4 credited knockdowns of Marquez and one uncredited knockdown that would have secured a unanimous decision in the 2nd fight had it been properly called by referee Kenny Bayless.
Three of the knockdowns occurred in the first round of the first fight, after which one of the judges made a very rare admission that he made a mistake in scoring that first round that would have given Pacquiao the split decision win.
Marquez fans are a relentless bunch, claiming wins for both fights, so now the table has been set for the biggest fight of Marquez’s career, a chance to secure his place among the elite after being overshadowed by great featherweights of his era, Paquiao, Barrera, and Morales, all of whom have some great featherweight trilogies for their records.
The fight is another in a series of catchweight fights for Pacquiao causing a great hue and cry among supposed purists who don’t know their boxing history much less the nuances of modern fight contracts.
Manny’s catchweights have been part of a bonus incentive program where the fighters make more money if they come in at the contracted weight. If not, they pay a penalty much like Floyd Mayweather Jr paid to Marquez. The fight goes on regardless.
In this case, it’s Marquez asking for the catchweight, settled at 144 lbs because he is not a natural welterweight, and of course Pacquiao’s promoter loves the publicity and notoriety that the catchweights garner. Folks, it’s all about maximizing big money, something Bob Arum is an expert at no matter how many howls of protest from the impoverished critics.
Ideally, there would never be any catchweights, but outside of boxing the world is a very disorderly place, so how is boxing to be perfect in the larger imperfect world?
Marquez wanted 142 lbs, the same as he got against Mayweather, but negotiated up in order to secure his biggest payday ever, not a bad deal at all for the aging warrior. Boxing fans had hopes that he would provide a competitive contest against Mayweather, but alas, his training was literally piss poor since his self produced urine tonics and tossing about of large rocks couldn’t provide the technical nuance needed against the crafty Mayweather, surely one of the most bizarre nutritional supplements in the history of modern boxing.
Though he lost a wide technical decision on the cards, he did land a few signature right hands early in the fight, enough to keep Mayweather on the backfoot for most of the fight and resembling a Chinese contortunist as he twisted his body into incomprehensible positions to avoid the Marquez offense.
The Mayweather Pretzel Defense
So Marquez is a sharp counterpunching boxer whose power has to be respected. He is susceptable to being outboxed by crafty boxer types as Freddie Norwood, Chris John, and Floyd Mayweather have shown and Pacquiao has held his own in the boxing points tallies. Pacquiao was hurt briefly in their last fight, so a knockout for Marquez is not out of the question even if it seems unlikely.
The main key for Marquez is the knockdowns he suffers from, and not only against Pacquiao.
There is no way he can ever win against Pacquiao if he continues to be battered to the canvas, and Marquez was more than battered in the previous two fights, he was out on his feet and quite fortunate the fight wasn’t stopped at those points.
The Marquez brothers, Juan Manuel and Rafael, are some of the toughest fighters in any era. They do not quit out of sheer stubborness, nor do they or their supporters concede any of their defeats. These are very proud men, a noble attribute for sure, but one that has doomed many a misfortunate who lacked the judgment to know when to give in or make an adjustment, so can Marquez make the adjustment for this fight?
He can start by losing his urine tonics and hire a respected nutritionist and physical trainer to gain the weight properly, something he failed to do against Mayweather.
Now Marquez is steeping a tempest in a teapot with the hiring of controversial strength and conditioning coach Angel Hernandez, AKA Angel Heredia who was affiliated with convicted felon of the BALCO Laboratories, Victor Conte. Marquez claims not to have known about the past of Hernandez which pretty much exposes the lack of quality professional advice from his team, but at least Marquez should be in better shape this time around than he was for Mayweather.
That is what Manny Pacquiao has done for boxing. He whips his opponents into their best ever conditioning before comprehensively whipping them in the ring, so is Marquez now following down the same treacherous path?
Boxing has never seen such out of the ring exploits of the likes of Manny Pacquiao. Movie star, recording artist, and serving Congressman in his district in the Philippines, not to mention devoted husband and father, there is simply no known past model that can predict when or if the monumental out of ring distractions will take their toll on his boxing.
Though Marquez is the older fighter at age 38, the 31 yr old Pacquiao has almost caught his 59 career fights with 58 career fights against better competition, most significantly at higher weights these past three years. Marquez has logged more overall rounds, 432 to 341 for Pacquiao, but Pacquiao has been taking the stiffer shots against bigger fighters, so both have significant wear, yet they’ve remained two of Ring Magazine’s favorite P4P fighters over the decade.
vs Marquez 2008
Pacquiao last fought Marquez only three years ago as a super featherweight and followed up by destroying Ring Magazine’s top welters who appeared on their covers that year, De la Hoya, Cotto, Margarito, and Mosley. Few in boxing would have believed that possible then, yet the critics remain unsatisfied.
Boxing is a business first and foremost and Pacquiao has worked as hard as any fighters in history to arrive at this spot where he can afford the luxury of fighting “only” twice a year. His political responsibilities are such that he should be hardpressed to fight even once a year and in fact, he has delayed his retirement the past 2 yrs because of all the money on the table for him and the big fights still available like this one.
The Marquez trilogy could be the biggest money fight of his career once the PPV totals come in which leads to another relevant point lost on the average boxing fan. Pacquiao is the first ever featherweight to command a PPV fight and looks poised to break the record for the most career PPV fights currently held by Oscar De La Hoya. More importantly, his PPV numbers over the past 3 yrs has set a new record first set by Mike Tyson.
He’s no longer the little Filipino fella with a funny name trying to make a name in America any more, though at the 146 lbs or so he currently enters the ring at, he is small for modern welters who sometimes come into the ring weighing over the middleweight limit come fight night. No matter the size, Pacquiao continues to rearrange the known boxing universe as we know it.
In spite of sweeping every consensus award as the decade’s best boxer, surely Freddie Roach and Manny Pacquiao know that he has to conclusively nail down this final fight with Marquez to get full credit for the rivalry.
Is Marquez just that sort of stubborn fighter who refuses to budge to the greatness of Pacquiao, or has Marquez been living on borrowed time at the fringes of officiating mistakes all these years?
Pacquiao will be the substantial favorite. In the 7 fights since their rematch, Pacquiao has dominated superior competition with 4 straight knockouts followed by 3 straight shutout decisions. Marquez has sometimes struggled in the points tallies and has continued to get knocked down or otherwise hurt in some of his 6 fights since, but he is the Ring lightweight champ even as he has slipped in the P4P rankings, currently Ring #5 and Boxrec #7 . In contrast, Pacquiao is #1 in every significant rating known to man.
I don’t see how Marquez can survive this latest version of Pacquiao, but Manny did seem to let up after his beatdowns of Margarito and Mosley, so could be Marquez survives yet again to tell the tale of being robbed.
Full props to all the parties who helped to tie down this difficult loose end for good. Marquez had to leave Goldenboy Promotions who chose not to match the Arum offer.