The crowd booed the MGM Grand in Las Vegas Saturday night once the judges decision to award WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao the victory over Juan Manuel Marquez aired over the speakers. The match could have easily went the Mexican’s way but with the card reading (116-112),(115-113), (114-114), against him, Marquez again goes winless against Pacquiao. The face of the Filipino fighter revealed relief rather than elation after the announcement but after landing 176 punches to Marquez’s 138 – the act of connecting on shots was the statistical difference.
Upon the announcement of the fight’s decision, I went straight to the Twitter-verse and sought out to see the what people thought. The common theme read amongst my feed contained the words “Marquez” and “robbery.” I agreed – but maybe not in the same way as the tweets.
Yes, there was an “attempted” robbery but the culprit, in fact was Marquez. Most boxing analysts led a lot of us to believe Manny had this trilogy wrapped up. Many people wrote him off. Blame it on the pundits who vehemently predicted a Marquez massacre and the bettors 7-1 spread with Marquez as the underdog. Yes, JMM is now a 38-year-old and his last fight in a higher weight class resulted in a beat down by Floyd Mayweather Jr. so to predict a conclusive win by Congressman Pac-Man, not a dumb bet. But boy did Marquez prove us all wrong and almost even proved Manny…almost.
This was still only an attempted robbery. And he really almost got away with it to if it weren’t for those meddling trainers.
Nacho Beristain, Marquez’s trainer, can’t be outright blamed for giving confidence in his fighter by telling him he was winning. In the middle rounds, that was an absolute fact. Marquez kept to his game plan, relying on counter-attacks but lacked the urgency to be the aggressor and seal up a win. The approach made him look like someone just trying to maintain a lead when in reality he needed to punch his way to lock up the judges points to get a lead. With Manny frustrated to find openings, Marquez would have even won the fight if he blacked-out with combos in the twelfth.
The fans who are well versed on the history between Pacquiao and Marquez already knew this fight wouldn’t pan out smoothly. Their styles compliment each other. As Manny moved up in weight classes slaughtering every Goliath that crossed his path, the “David” doppelganger in Marquez proved he was still the scariest amongst the physically intimidating.
Juan Manuel Marquez and his masterful counter-punching made Manny Pacquiao look mortal. Many thought the heavier but speed maintained Manny would do damage with his power. Evidently, Marquez new strength and conditioning coach paid off. He looked way more effective at this weight than the Mayweather bout. Thankfully the new coach got JMM to quit his training superstition of drinking his own urine.
Manny should have lost this fight. It was by far one of the worst of his career and definitively the worst during his pound for pound dubbing. Marquez and his hesitancy to attack in the final rounds did him in and that’s why the judges voted so closely the other way. If you doubt Juan’s bad decision-making then you can explain the post-fight interview where he’s covering his business with only a sombrero. I’ll leave that up to you to find the footage and if you didn’t see it, be thankful.
After all the debates cease on who you thought won or lost, there’s only on real winner for this fight – the fans.
This result may be the final key in opening the flood gates for Pacquiao v Mayweather. We know Floyd was watching this fight. With all those rumors about a May 5th fight coming from his camp, the results of this fight may give Floyd enough confidence to inking the contract. Floyd Mayweather Jr., who is another counter-puncher, now has enough fight footage from last night to work on a blueprint to take down Manny. With a Pacquiao v Marquez IV highly unlikely, both sides don’t have an excuse left to use.