I did become excited about this fight when Bob Arum bigged up a Mexico City venue, just the place to make Marquez step out of his shell and try for once to really take it to Pacquiao, and just the sort of challenge that Pacquiao loves, a Mexican Bullring packed to the hilt with El Locos screaming for mano a mano Mexican style boxing that the Filipino relishes. Imagine the contagion spreading around the world on fight night with HBO and Larry Merchant broadcasting from Mexico City as tens of millions storm the worldwide broadcasters for a stream of the fight on whatever set ups they’re using!
Nope, ain’t gonna happen that way.
I gather the numbers didn’t work since Marquez has been a Vegas fighter for most of his career and lacks the overwhelming Mexican support that Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales enjoyed. Marquez is a Top Rank fighter now, so Arum gave him a trial run in Mexico City against Ukrainian Serhiy Fedchenko for the WBO junior welter title. Marquez aggressively outpointed Fedchenko for his 4th divisional title.
Pacquiao has also become something of a Vegas fighter with Arum carefully booking him at MGM Grand, Floyd Mayweather Jr’s home for the last several years. Mayweather might decide to take the plunge and make a Pacquiao fight on the spur of the moment, so Arum maybe looks to keep the Grand booked for all future Pacquiao dates.
As you can see, Marquez was well packed and ripped for the rubber match in a fashion that he has never been thanks to Angela Heredia, one of many infamous trainers part of the BALCO scandal. Somehow he avoided the convictions and jail time others in the scandal were handed, probably by plea deal in exchange for favorable prosecution testimony.
Regardless of whether or not Marquez has fallen into the PEDs trap, his conditioning has been at career bests against Pacquiao. I had hopes that he could provide a good fight against Mayweather when he moved up two divisions a few years back, but then he started taking his frothy health cocktails drawn from a spigot hooked up to his own private pistola, well, I winced and hoped I wouldn’t heave. Then the comic book endurance and strength training of him throwing around large rocks at altitude evaporated whatever chance he had against the crafty Mayweather.
Pacquiao is taking on his third P4P fight in a row with Timothy Bradley sandwiched between Marquez, and, boy howdy, what a surprise wake up call against the undefeated physical phenom. Pacquiao took it big time to Bradley for 9 rounds, hitting him so hard that the shock waves popped tendons in Bradley’s ankles loose from their moorings. Incredibly Bradley didn’t go down in spite of sporting the usual Pacquiao souvenirs of a lumped up, mashed out of place face before convalescing in a wheelchair after the fight ended.
Even more incredibly, the Vegas judges awarded Bradley the split decision in a fight nobody thought was even close. The outrage was such that the WBO commissioned 5 veteran judges to review the fight and awarded Pacquiao the unanimous decision, yet Bradley still holds the WBO title. Bob Arum called for an investigation of himself, wanting to distance himself from the grievous improprieties of the Nevada commission who stacked the judges.
Bradley did physically extend out Pacquiao’s conditioning more than any fighter yet. The 9th round is what turned around the fight for Bradley as he was completely exhausted, a sitting duck for legendary straight left hands that made Pacquiao the most celebrated fighter since Muhammad Ali. Right at the point of the knockout, Pacquiao hit the wall and went into slower and slower motion until they were standing there looking at each other in disbelief. Neither had anything left to mount a decent assault for the rest of the fight, yet Bradley won the judges over while the rest of boxing told him that he really didn’t win the fight. Yeah, thanks guys.
The decision was a headscratcher until you consider the source. This is boxing in Vegas that’s moving closer to pro wrestling in plot line and choreography, see the Ortiz/Mayweather outrage, and in outcomes, see any of dozens of their fights every year where the judging defies all logic.
There always has been a long standing prejudice against big sluggers like Pacquiao when they fail to knock out their opponent as was expected. Big Vegas Players lose huge sums no matter how technically nuanced Pacquiao has become under Freddie Roach, so it means nothing to judges who know the bottomline. The Marquez and Bradley fights were the easiest fights Pacquiao has had in ages as evidenced by his postfight choirboy looks as opposed to his typical mangled features after he lays down ferocious beatings and knockouts as the most celebrated offensive fighter of the decade. All the lumps were transferred to Bradley and Marquez.
Pacquiao didn’t help his concentration by the revelations of his marital woes hours before the Marquez fight when he was supposedly served divorce papers. His concentration further lapsed before the Bradley fight when he came out against gay marriage in the home state of the powerful Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a liberal democrat in support of gay marriage who Pacquiao had previously campaigned for. Boxing results shouldn’t be determined by politics, but the reality has always been that if the referee and/or judges want, they can determine the outcome of any fight, not the fighters, and the Nevada Commish is a political appointment.
Pacquiao suffered his first officiating outrage with the Agapito Sanchez Technical Draw when the Dominican Billy Goat butted his way out of the fight. I’ve never seen a better example of a fighter that should have been DQed after it was obvious butting was the only offensive tool in his arsenal. Then the admitted scoring error in the first Marquez fight that would have given Pacquiao the split decision instead of a draw. Then the missed 2nd knockdown by referee Kenny Bayless in the rematch that should have been at least a unanimous decision for Pacquiao if not a knockout when Marquez walked to Pacquiao’s corner, clearly out on his feet. Bayless is also the ref for the 4th installment, so we’ll see if he can get it right this time around.
Maybe Marquez can borrow some of the fight from diehard JMMarquez fans who continue to litter the internet with bitter claims of victory over Pacquiao. He really does need some extra fight to him IF he REALLY wants to beat Pacquiao.
The Rubber was a stylistic technical disappointment for both. Marquez throw a some furious popcorn flurries off the backfoot that never put a dent into Pacquiao’s features, whereas Pacquiao leading right hooks swiped Marquez’s left eye half closed and his straight lefts lumped up his right side, but he never really went after Marquez nor did he ever hurt him or knock him down like previous encounters.
Pacquiao for his part needs to understand the sympathies that Vegas holds for Marquez and bring back some of his aggressive offense that made him such a legend. No need to abandon technical boxing, just step up the intensity a few notches or risk another controversial decision that might not go his way.
It should also be noted that Pacquiao continues to break his own record for the most Ring P4P fights, the Marquez rubber being his 11th and Marquez will vault into sole ownership of 2nd place with his 5th P4P fight. He’s currently tied with Mayweather for 2nd place with 4 each.
FYI, you can read about the compelling parallel P4P histories of Pacquiao and Mayweather here:
Another interesting development going into this fight is that after Mayweather was released from prison, he quietly paid out a private settlement with a public apology to Pacquiao in exchange for dropping the lawsuit that Mayweather had lost every round in. The IRONY is now Mayweather has been hit with hard rumors about 3 positive drug tests that were hushed up by Golden Boy Promotions and the USADA drug testing cartel. Here’s the skinny by Thomas Hauser that pretty much backs up what I’ve been saying about the poor reporting in the boxing media about drug testing, plus plenty of new revelations:
Yes, most anywhere we look in the boxing world, there’s a lot of cynicism over the 4th fight between Pacquiao and Marquez. It doesn’t seem possible they could top their previous PPV total, yet there should be plenty of interest in the fight come first bell.
Who wants to miss what could be the best fight by far between these warrior adversaries? Not a chance.