So many things have raced through my mind since Saturday night. I wanted to give a little time to let it all sink in before making an assessment. So here it is. Everything regarding Pacquiao – Marquez is in this article.
First of all, wow. It will be a long time until we get a fight this meaningful, on this big of a stage, with this big of names, with that kind of drama and excitement. This was a pay per view extravaganza that will no doubt produce the knockout of the year, the fight of the year, and possibly the fighter of the year.
Watching an icon, a hero to millions, an ambassador of the sport, get separated from his consciousness was downright mesmerizing. Watching him get knocked down was shocking, let alone getting knocked out, and not just knocked out, but put to sleep. Not to mention, he nearly had Marquez out in the previous round.
I want to say that I thought Manny looked like great. His game plan was a good one, smother Marquez with aggression while you pile on the points early get if you can’t get him out of there. My resounding observation of Manny while watching live was this: “He looks like the old Manny.” That’s what most of his fans wanted. The only problem was, he may have looked like the old Manny, but he also looked like an old Manny.
I’m not sure who said it, but during one of Pacquiao’s fights a while back, an announcer (probably Jim Lampley) said it best, “You see the flaws. You know how to exploit them. You know what to do, but he’s just too fast.”
While Pacquiao showed everything he does great, the same flaws were still there: the lack of true defensive skills, reaching in with wild shots, and the 1-1-2 combination; A combination you knew was coming. The only difference this time was, he’s slowed down just enough to be countered.
In the first round of their first fight, Marquez couldn’t do anything about said combination. As it progressed, he was able to avoid it. Then he was able to avoid and counter. Yet it wasn’t enough to say he won. As their fights progressed Marquez was able to make Pacquiao miss and counter more. However, Pacquiao’s athletic gifts were still great enough to land his own powerful shots while avoiding a good amount of Marquez’s and state his case.
8 years have passed since they first met. As time passed, we saw Pacquiao’s physical skills reach an overwhelming peak, and now we’ve seen them make their way down the proverbial ark. He’s slowed to the point where Marquez was able to not only land hard shots but put him down, and ultimately out.
Some will argue that, well Manny slowed down; shouldn’t Juan Manuel have slowed down as well? (We’ll get to PEDs next.) I say to them, Marquez has never relied on his physicality. He chose to master his craft and execute perfectly timed counter punches. Marquez has above average defensive skills, and has created a way of making you throw punches. Only Floyd Mayweather had more patience, equal if not greater skill set, and the superior physical edge all rolled into one.
My final analysis on this fight, and the saga as a whole is simple. Pacquiao never had the skill set to match Marquez, but was able to offset that with superior physical gifts. Now Pacquiao still doesn’t have the skill set to match Marquez but can no longer offset that with his deteriorated physical gifts.
Marquez on Drugs?
There’s no doubt that this will be a huge debate shared by most everyone who is even mildly knowledgeable about the game. There’s also little doubt that the tests conducted by NSAC will not provide us with convincing evidence that either fighter was juiced up. Everyone knows those tests are not a reliable measurement of detecting PEDs.
It is well publicized that Angel Heredia (or Hernandez), Juan Manuel Marquez strength and conditioning coach is openly a known steroid providing coach. The saying goes, if you got caught, you know how to not get caught. The scientists will always be one step ahead of the curve.
Seeing Juan Manuel truly hurt someone, especially an iron chinned Pacquiao whom I’ve never even seen on rubbery legs was anything but ordinary. Yes, it was the perfect punch, but no it was not ordinary. Juan Manuel was definitely shook up in the fifth round. I thought the fight was close to being stopped on first view. Isn’t being on steroids supposed to give you super human punch resistance as well?
Some will say they simply don’t care, “Let ’em all juice up, fuck it.” I sometimes understand that line of thinking, but I sway back into morality because what if Pacman was playing by the rules, and was hurt in a manner in which years were probably taken on his life. Think of the look on Jinkie’s face and tell me you’re cool with Marquez cheating if he did.
I believe that ultimately it will come down to our trust in Juan Manuel Marquez. There will never be a definitive answer unless he comes out later in life and says “Yes, I did cheat.” The punch will always be viewed as out of the ordinary and suspicious, but until the overwhelming evidence comes to surface, I chose to say it was extraordinary.
It’s a shame that this is even a relevant discussion, and I truly hope that a fighter who I view so highly, is in fact, that honorable. I hope I’m right.
It’s fair to say that these two fighters had cemented their legacies as true great fighters and Pacquiao as an all-time great before their fourth fight. They were in a position where they couldn’t really hurt their legacy, but they could possibly advance it. And boy did they advance it.
Although at the end of the fight, Pacquiao was left lying unconscious, he was able to give us a show that won’t soon be forgotten. He showed what was best in him, why we fell in love with him. He always came forward and tried his best to give us a good show. Even if at times, especially this time, it wasn’t to his benefit. He came back from the hardest punch he’s ever taken since he was a teenager in the Philippines and nearly had Marquez out in the fifth. That heart and passion was being doubted going into the fight, and he hushed his nay sayers. Even if he lost, he should be praised for his performance.
“We did it!!! We did it!!!”
That’s what was being shouted by my Mexican American family and friends. Imagine Mexico. I have absolutely no problem with placing Juan Manuel Marquez next to Julio Cesar Chavez. He’s earned it. At worst he is unquestionably the best Mexican fighter of his generation.
With the third fight setting record television broadcast numbers in Mexico, there is surely a tremendous amount of passion for Pacquiao. To Mexican fans, he truly was the Mexican assassin. Marquez represented hope for restoring faith in the Mexican race and he set the Mexican race free with one punch.
At this point Pacquiao will make his way out of the Pound For Pound rankings, or least slide down to the bottom of the top ten. It’s hard to say where to place Marquez with so much young talent on the rise. He will be no worse than top five.
So where do they go from here?
There was talk about a fifth fight before Pacquiao even regained consciousness. I don’t mind it because it’s been so fun. I would rather watch them face some young talent. Eventually the torch will be passed, and there are some young bucks that may be worthy.
Rios was on the shortlist of opponents for the winner. I’d rather watch him fight the loser. You hate to see an icon become a stepping stone, but to me, outside of the fifth fight, this represents the best fight for Pacquiao. It’ll be an action affair that is highly winnable. He can set the record straight with Bradley, but Tim still has no fan base, a not fan friendly style, and you get the sense that he may have figured something out about Pacquiao.
Of course, when you’ve written your way into the history books and got put to sleep, retirement will definitely be on your mind. I feel Pacquiao has things he can still do in the sport, but I can understand if he does choose to go full time on his political career. My guess is he will be back and his post-fight statements have suggested so.
Marquez can face the above mentioned fighters as well, along with some other young talents, seeing as how he’s not entirely tied to Top Rank. I don’t like a Mayweather rematch, he was thoroughly beaten. My guess is he will sit on the shelf, possibly take a tune up against a cab driver, until Pacquiao makes his mind.
Marquez can now retire in peace. I don’t think he will. I hope he doesn’t.
Every fight between these two, as in any other fight, is set to answer the question, who is better? Through the first three, that question could not be answered. So while there’s talk of a fifth fight, I truly feel like the question has been answered.
Juan Manuel Marquez is better than Manny Pacquiao.