Behind Manny Pacquiao vs Juan Manuel Marquez trilogy controversy

Pacquiao VS. Marquez III will go down in history as one of, if not, the most debatable among Pacquiao's high profile bouts. One could always make a case it was the first match, or the second. Whatever is our 5 cents worth, their trilogy is one of the most bitterly contested rivalries in the annals of boxing. No doubt about that.

My intention in making this thread is to encourage everyone to analyze the outcome without dwelling so much on the round-by-round analysis. Dime a dozen threads had been devoted to that, prompting multitude of believers to re watch it a few times in normal pace and slowmo versions just to support their personal scores. Hopefully, we will all rise above that to prevent an extension of conflicting perspectives toward scoring a close round.

Can we actually analyze a very close fight without vividly dissecting each round and directly linking it to scorecards and compubox?
Let's try a different approach...


1) PREFIGHT EXPECTATIONS

Was it 9-1, 10-1 or 11-1 betting odds in Vegas on fight night? I'm not so sure. What i'm sure of, Marquez was an overwhelming underdog. The only positive news going his way prior to the fight, he would give Manny a more decent scrap that Clottey and Mosley failed to deliver. Need i say anymore how our fellow posters envisioned its outcome? Mine included, Marquez would be lucky to answer the 7th round and that was already being generous compared to brutal early round knockout predictions of our peers. Boxing experts were more passionate though, 9th round would likely be his curtain call.


2) THE FIGHT

Of all Pacquiao's recent bouts, against Marquez was the least anxious i had been on my chair.
So confident that i only made three short trips to the bathroom to take a piss during National Anthem interlude. My usual average was 10 before the first bell.

Round 1. Feel out moments as expected. Both combatants were looking good.
Round 2. Still a chess match.
Round 3. Not so special.
Round 4. Hmmn...i was getting impatient.
Round 5. Marquez exploded with a some flashy combinations albeit not everything landed. The easiest round to score and it was his!
Round 6, 7, 8....Deja vu? Something started to pound on my chest. I wasn't expecting it to be that tight and uneasy at this point.

Lest i be misinterpreted, i wasn't exactly scoring it. I was relying more on my instinct and gut-feeling. Deep inside, i felt something was amiss. Nervously waiting for Roach and Manny to unveil their Plan B.


3) WHAT THE EYES FAILED TO SEE

When Sugar Ray Leonard announced his comeback to fight Marvin Hagler, boxing experts thought he was only in for the money and an overwhelming majority gave him no chance at all.

Fast forward to the fight, round 10.
Hagler was mounting a spirited comeback but Leonard was still holding his own.

Ollie Dunlap, cornerman to Leonard, said...
"But you must understand that at this point in the fight, everyone had Ray knocked out. To me, at that point in the fight, the judges stopped watching the fight, started watching Ray."


Relative to Pacquiao vs. Marquez 3, we could draw some serious similarities worthy of reflection. Only a few predicted that Marquez would go beyond round 9 like Leonard. But Marquez, likewise, held his own. So i thought as frustration took over my anxiety. Nevertheless,part of me was also fixated to Marquez's dazzling array of combination punching. Plus, i had Mario Lopez constantly reminding me that Marquez was doing an absolutely marvelous job. And that British anchorman excitedly swooning over Marquez's punches at every turn, even those that were blocked and avoided solicited oohs and aahs from the crowd. Somehow, from round 6 onwards, i stopped watching Pacquiao too and started paying more attention to Marquez. Darn, he really had Pacquiao's number. Admittedly, Marquez looked flashy in there even in his wild,off-balanced misfires. Not only did he take away Pacquiao's potent weapons, left straights and right hooks, he took away Pacquiao's fans too. He won the crowd over. The 9-1, 38 years old huge underdog appeared to look more impressive over a young, in-his-prime p4p king. People who counted him out before he could start swapping leathers began to root for his unexpectedly rejuvenated performance. Reminiscent of Leonard mesmerizing the attention of fans with his flair and flamboyance, and virtually stealing the moments away from Hagler. That's why i can never imagine myself holding a pen and a scorecard someday, my emotions get in the way and my frustration for the one i'm rooting for clouds my better judgement. I know i'm not the only one.


4) THE REAL WINNER AND LOSER...

Marquez won it. He won the audience. He captured the home viewers attention. He gained the admiration of his peers inside the boxing circle. He and Nacho even won the mental battle inside the ring. He won almost everything except the scores of the judges. How could a boxer who won the mental battle would lose the bout? Robbery? Fixed? No. That's just me saying. Pacquiao barely won it. It could have gone either way but I have no trouble with a draw either even though i felt Marquez won it by the skin of his teeth at first viewing.


Between the two, Marquez landed the most emphatic blows. Lovely to look at in slowmo replays during round breaks. Even when he was retreating, he looked as though he knew what he was doing. He seemed in control of himself, following his game plan to the T. But...did he really do enough to win? Did he really bring something new out there to confound Pacquiao? Looking at it closely, he fought exactly the same way he did in their previous bouts. Only this time, he was more careful and calculated. As to Manny, fighting conservatively for the most part was something all of us didn't expect. Somewhere, somehow, we were hoping he would transform into a whirling dervish and charged into Marquez in Round 10 like he lost all previous rounds. That failed expectation blinded our better judgment. We felt the win was slipping away as the tactical battle drew near to its conclusion. However, how many of us really paid extra attention to little things Manny did to win most, if not all of the remaining championship rounds? Initially, i didn't because i was hoping the vintage Pacquiao would suddenly show up in there, wreak havoc and score a knockdown or two in the last two rounds. Too much lofty expectations, like in our prefight predictions, ruled over our emotions while Manny was trying hard, although not in his old reckless ways, to bag the crucial rounds. Anything less of knockdown scored or a knockout would mean an automatic loss to Manny. Admit it or not, while Manny was struggling to win rounds, his blowout of Margarito, Clottey and Cotto were simultaneously playing inside our minds. That somehow, he would eventually unleash those flashes of fury in overpowering Marquez. Perhaps he said it best in a few words to settle down our emotions, "Am i not allowed to win a close fight?"

5) MENTAL BATTLE WON, OFFICIAL FIGHT LOST

How? Manny is largely to blame. Nonetheless, it's not something that was directly attributable to scorecards. To the emotions of the viewers, IT WAS. In some ways, it affected how we perceived each round and the complexion of the whole fight itself. Glad we are not professional judges because we are not trained to separate our emotions from what goes on behind the scenes.

Freddie Roach and Manny Pacquiao made Marquez looked good than he actually was.

Freddie telling Manny they were falling behind in the scorecards. For Roach, it could be true as he saw it or it could be interpreted as his way of motivating Manny to step up his offense and intensity. For TV viewers, commentators and live audience watching it on the big screen, they might take it literally. Well, what better way to capitalize on something other than that spouted straight from the horse's mouth?

Uncharacteristically, Manny gave away a lot in his physical gestures of frustration. For failing to live up to his own expectations. Sudden pauses in lull of actions. Walking wearily to his corner with his head bowed down. The absence of vapid fancy footwork and showboating. Looking confused and tired on his stool as if his mind was somewhere else. No banging of gloves when hit to display his defiance. And two mortal sins that left a lasting impact to the audience. He walked to his corner like a dejected man after the last bell. For the first time in their trilogy, he never raised his arms to show confidence in his victory. Those trivial things really mean nothing at all if a boxer is leading comfortably in the scorecards but in a give-and-take match, they tend to be magnified tenfold. Add all that to the funeral atmosphere in their corner before the winner was announced, they certainly looked like the losers. Maybe, maybe not. Unfortunately, people who believed Marquez won saw all those forlorn gestures as signs of resignation to fate.

Manny should take a page out of Leonard's vivacity. The former was not only brilliant at stealing rounds, he always let the people know he was very much into the fight even in rounds he clearly lost. It might not affect the judges' scoring but it could significantly sway the perception of the commentators and audience.


6) CONCLUSION

The last part of the trilogy showed us the other facet of Manny's speed. It could also work against him. He was so fast that his swift but not-so square connections could be a tough challenge for the human eye sometimes. When the smoke has cleared, all we saw was the bruises on Marquez's face and the significant advantage in punch stats. I said to myself, " i couldn't even remember what punch and what round did Marquez get that puffy right eye". Well, i reckon Manny getting tagged cleanly in at least 3 rounds but none of those shots left a trace on his face, except of course, that busted lower lip and the ugly gash caused by the clash of heads in the 10th round. As in the case in their rematch, there were a few rounds clearly won by Marquez very similar to round 5 in their last installment. Watching it on replay on two occasions, HBO and its muted version. Now free of Mario Lopez and that Brit's surprisingly one-sided reactions, i saw shots and misses i'd never seen before. To cut the long story short, Manny's victory was not an outright robbery as many disgruntled fans claimed it to be. Marquez might have succeeded in connecting a few solid shots but the quantity of Pacquiao's good but unfathomable shots earned him the other rounds. Less spectacular by his usual standard but he was doing something that the challenger should be doing. Pushing the actions. In very close rounds, the judges, who refuse to give even scores in a round, tend to abide by the unwritten rule that the aggressor deserves it more. For the one who throws more over someone who patiently waits and does nothing in most instances.



7) 37th ROUND

I believe Manny just had an off night. Not to discredit Marquez, it was one of his most splendid performances. Two things he proved sternly to doubters, styles make fights and he still had Pacquiao's number in a sense he could read his style better than anybody else.

If a 4th fight pushes thru next year and i hope it will. We might get the closure we've all been wishing for. I don't know to what extent Manny was embroiled in his marital problems with his wife and how much his political and other activities took out of him, but he will comeback with a vengeance. The MENTAL edge is on his side. Marquez will probably try harder to achieve a more convincing finale away from the judges' pens. But he will be coming in with less mental fortitude, his frustrations about their last fight and his apprehension of always getting the shorter end of the stick will linger on. On the other hand, Manny, motivated by the criticisms of his last victory, might rediscover that fire on his belly. He seems to work harder when he's got so much to prove. And when too much animosity is around the corner, it will eventually fall to the kind of vicious battle Manny loves to compete in. That's just me saying.


.....well said Helven of Philboxing.com/forum

4 comments:

dondee said...

well said!

Anonymous said...

excellent post...cheers

Anonymous said...

Well said. It is always refreshing to see the views and unbias comments from someone that I have always found honest and fair in his comments toward boxing. You always have the fighters themselves as your greatest concern and I like you feel their welfare should come first and they should be treated fairly.

MMIKE. T said...

The most honest article of the fight that i have read .Teddys writings of the fight reflect the way i saw the fight. THANKS TEDDY