By Doods A. Amora, PEE
In my last article, I wrote:
“In this third fight, Juan Manuel Marquez would kiss the floor for the fifth time – and this will happen in the fifth round of this Sunday’s event. Expect Marquez to get up quickly and by pride mix it up more fiercely to get even. By the sixth round, the pride of Mexico would be floored again – the sixth time around. Marquez would then get up by reflex but only to spastically do the Kentucky Chicken Bambolero. Marquez would quiver in confused vertigo and would fall again to the floor…"
“The sixth flooring is just a dream. It is just a vision to express the excitement of the fight. The tension of ambiguity as an element prior to a mega-fight motivates suspense which in turn fires up the imagination. Thus, once and for all, this trilogy must end the insanity. This time there should be a knock – out! Whether Marquez or Pacquaio owns it, it doesn’t matter anyhow, anymore.”
NOW: There was no fifth or sixth flooring. There was no knock-out. But it doesn’t matter anymore and the insanity lingers on.
"In the sixth round, the end is near… or a ‘near death’ so to speak. For three minutes, Marquez had to be revived. A worried Medical Team at his side, and like Hatton, Juan Manuel Marquez could have not understood why he was in the Wonderland.”
NOW: In reality, nothing of that sort happened. But there really was a ‘near death’ albeit not on the ring. The ‘near death’ refers to the 'Pinoy Pride Chicken' when the Pacman lost the fight. But it was the same ‘near death’ resurrected to life by two judges when Michael Buffer barked “By majority decision…, Still … the WBO Welterweight Champion of the World!” … Huh?
Not really – me and my friends watching the screen disagreed. Not even the facial expression of Pacquaio or of his corner men were in agreement. Not even the foreign commentators were happy.
Unbelievable, isn’t it…? Meanwhile, for the first time, no one had the appetite to feast on the food and the chilled canned SMB we waited to partake until the afternoon. Now for the first time, there were left-overs, lots of them.
. . . . .
Then, as my lines went on:
“Marquez has a much better jab than Pacquaio’s.”
“The Mexican is more accurate in his shots.”
“The left uppercuts and the overhand rights are always hitting targets.”
“Efficiency? Marquez gets the upper hand.”
“Ability to recuperate? Marquez had displayed this quality in two of their fights.”
“Intelligence? Marquez to me is more technical.”
“Discipline? Marquez has a finer ear to listen to his Coach.”
“Technology? There’s Nacho Beristain and Miguel Angel Heridia.”
NOW: Yes, the actual flat screen showed it. And to add:
Marquez was fresher, faster and stronger while Pacquaio looked slower and weaker.
Marquez had his combinations hitting targets while Pacquaio retrogressed to his ancient right-left combo that missed most of the time.
Marquez showed more energy at 38, while on the contrary the younger Pacquaio seemed disconnected when it was supposed to be his prime.
Marquez displayed angles while Pacquaio appeared amateurishly back to his one-dimensional style.
Marquez was masterful in executing his fight plan, while Pacquiao faltered almost all night.
Most of all, Marquez schooled Pacquaio on how to perform an intelligent fight.
In this part; my crystal ball saw it correctly…
. . . . . .
"Sorry guys but in the previous two fights, Pacquiao against Marquez was too predictable, hittable and one-dimensional. Marquez, the counter-punching expert on the other hand, created opportunities to fit to his advantage – most of the time alluding sideways making Manny miss too many by hairlines. And when Manny’s missiles missed, he over-travelled and then Juan Manuel’s counterpunches slung-shot back to swarm Manny’s head and body."
NOW: Exactly, this actually what did happen. Pacquiao against Marquez this time was still too predictable, hittable and one-dimensional. No wonder why Marquez shifted his body from frontal to sideways making Pacquaio miss. The left straights were perfectly eluded several times by simply ducking to let-through Pacquaio’s whizzing darts. And Marquez posting himself within range, fires back not one but combos of lethal bombs. The combos were overwhelming that not even the vaunted Pacman’s whirlwind blows and footwork could not be found. Nice execution of a homework. Amazing, why the exchange of roles?
Marquez must have rehearsed these traps to perfection. Visibly, Marquez was more prepared and psyched than Pacquaio.
For this part, my prediction tool was right.
. . . . . . .
"On the other hand, Pacquiao now is no longer one-dimensional. He no longer over-travels when in attacking mode nor clumsy when backpedalling. More in fluidity, he had metamorphosed into a tornado with too many angles to twist instantly at the command of his instincts. Manny now is less hittable, slicker and above all, wiser."
NOW: I was wrong again… Now we know that I should have referred the above to Marquez not Pacquaio.
"Watch out Juan. With a body now heavier, denser and thicker, Manny had evolved into an Abrams tank. With a new armor, the bombs of Cotto, Clottey and Margarito were just to be swallowed. And the fire power, speed and new technology; these would become Juan’s biggest headache."
NOW: Hehehe, my crystal ball faltered once more. Again, the reverse was true - it was Marquez who showcased a new armor, new firepower, new speed and new technology.
. . . . . . .
"Pacquaio on paper may be stronger, bigger and faster, but Marquez is the KRYPTONITE of the Filipino Superman. He has the formula to defeat Manny. Marquez in fact is a puzzle that Coach Freddie Roach has to unbundle."
NOW: This time, my crystal ball saw it right.
JUAN MANUEL MARQUEZ conquered Pacquaio twice. Why twice?
The first one was a draw – and I agreed to it. The second, it was Marquez. This time, again Pacquaio lost it. Don’t get me wrong, that’s according to my book. I am supposed to be entitled to it.
The war designed to finish the unfinished ended with more questions than answers. The first Unfinished Business was a controversial draw, the second fight was arguable and this fight just turned out to be more notorious. A fourth fight? That’s for the houseflies.
Insanity? Yes? Craving for answers, the supposed answers to finish the unfinished is still unfinished business! Ah, talking of business, this could be it. I’ll touch on this later…
To be honest, my own score card shows a 116 – 113 for Marquez. In the end, my notes bared three rounds for the Dynamite over the Pacman. Where did I err? Amir Khan, Pacquaio’s sparring buddy & friend, while commentating in a UK television said, “Marquez must have won”. The American PPV commentators midway in the fight, quipped the words, “frustration”, and “desperation” on the part of Pacquaio. Freddie Roach himself was overheard saying to Pacquaio as “you are behind”.
Ronnie Nathanielz, in his interview with ABS-CBN said that Ed Tolentino, Tony Aldeguer, Bruce MacTavish, together with him saw the fight for Marquez. Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated’ scored it 116-112 for Marquez. Dan Rafael, espn.com boxing writer and sports commentator, and Kevin Iole, who writes for Yahoo, for their part, thought the bout should have ended in a draw. And there are more in PACLAND website where talking against the Pacman is a taboo, wrote and commented the same perception?
Some boxing pundits percieved that Compubox Statistics won’t lie. Compubox numbers favored Pacquaio, fine. But then, if the same argument has to be used, then why Marquez did not win in the second fight when Marquez was winning by Compubox figures? (See my article dated March 18, 2008 in this blogsite).
The unofficial Compubox is not all computerized. Men assigned specific to the boxers push buttons when they see a boxer hits the opponent. The computer merely counts the points. Same as the judges, the men pushing the buttons may err in their judgments. For instance, a power punch partially blocked gets still a full point the moment the button is pressed. There is no one-half point, I suppose. Hence, lapses and subjectivity are still there.
As Filipinos, we root for Pacquaio - that’s a fact not to be taken from us. Pacquaio had brought many good things to the country. But we also have honor and dignity. In my opinion, the most that could happen is a draw. But a 116–112 verdict for Pacquiao by one judge is overly ridiculous.
To most Filipinos, winning must be accompanied with honor.
WHAT HAPPENED TO PACQUAIO?
He came less prepared?
Why, when he trained for eight weeks? This is two weeks longer than his usual six weeks. Over-training? Maybe yes, maybe not.
But then it was very visible that his timing was off, his combinations missing the point, his reflexes & movements sluggish than usual, the angles of attack weren’t there; oftentimes clumsy in his defense, very much hittable even in an obvious double jab, and most all, had no cure for the ambushing counter-combinations of Marquez.
Why all these? Were they not anticipating Marquez moves? Was he not prepared to deal with Marquez’s counteroffensives when all these were obvious? If this is the case, then Pacquaio came in less prepared. Maybe yes, maybe not.
He no longer is hungry?
Pacquiao now is King, the Boss. He is now a Congressman. The man known as the singer, movie actor, basketball player, father, husband, lover, leader, writer, politician and not just a world champion boxer but the world’s top pound-for-pound boxer rolled into one.
His wishes are everybody’s commands.
What else can you ask for?
Comfort Zone? Maybe yes, maybe not.
For the money? Maybe yes. Win or lose, the 22 million dollars beckon.
He no longer is a good listener?
In a team game like Boxing, we need good coaches and good pupils too. Something like ‘brains & brawns’ stuff. The Coach must be a figure to be trusted, respected and be looked up – that’s why he is the ‘coach’. If the pupil (who incidentally is the Boss) starts ‘not to believe’ in the coach anymore, it’s useless then to prolong the marriage. After all, in the boxing world; the coaches are just part of the pupil’s payroll.
Grapevines have it that Pacquaio himself devised his own training regimen. Is it the reason for the leg cramp? Is it the reason why his performance in this fight seemed to retrogress back to his ancient techniques? The thing is, he might have over-trained himself. He might have peaked too early.
WHAT GOES UP MUST COME DOWN
What goes up must come down. Pacquiao has been winning fights in a long streak. Pacquiao is undefeated in seven years; in a 14-bout winning streak over the biggest names in boxing and now world champion in eight weight divisions.
How much threshold can a once diminutive Pacman gobble up & swallow more than he can chew in the Boxing Sport?
Now he might have forgotten how it is like to lose. He might be in the cloud nine of the false wisdom of invincibility. As I said in my previous article, he has already been on top of the world. Intoxicatingly powerful in such a mood, is Manny taking Marquez lightly? Maybe yes, maybe not.
BUSINESS IS BUSINESS
Is Pacman’s house in danger of caving in? Is the marriage between Pacquaio and his Coaches now ripe for termination? Maybe.
However, there is still the last mega fight lurking in the corner - Pacman Vs. Mayweather. Everybody is talking about it; even Coach Roach joined the fray. That could be the reason why Pacman must win over Marquez because a Marquez win will dissolve the salivation of the mega fight.
One more fight! The mega dollars is temptingly awesome!
And after all these, it doesn’t matter anymore. Coach Roach must have already been rich by then. Ariza could have now amassed dollars of his won. So, it doesn’t matter anymore. Parting ways? Yes. Retirement for Roach? Why not?
How about Pacquaio? Yes. After this last mega fight, win or lose; he has heaps to squander. For how long?
History will judge it. Who knows? It might not take long.
November 14, 2011