The trilogy is done, and we still don’t have our minds set on who was better. Juan Manuel Marquez stunned pretty much everybody by dominating Manny Pacquiao with his counter-punching and defense for most of the first seven round. Onward? It was Manny Pacquiao, who got the judges decision in his favor with a barrage of boos coming from the stands.
For the second time in a row, Manny Pacquiao wins a fight against Juan Manuel Marquez, probably ending the trilogy, but with so many doubts around his win, again. A draw seemed like the more fitting result, but like when fighting in someone’s home town, you gotta be convincingly better, probably even get a knockdown, to win the fight on the scorecards. Marquez wasn’t exactly on enemy grounds here, but judges tend to go with the bigger name in fights as close as this one.
Pacquiao was simply unable to get inside until the last couple of rounds. Marquez moved perfectly, avoided and countered each time the eight-division world champion tried to make a move on the interior. Left Hooks, uppercuts and some nasty combinations had Pacquiao very wary at some point. It looked like someone in the corner, somewhere around the 7th or the 8th, told him he needs to really start pushing it, otherwise this is going to be a somewhat very uncomfortable upset.
Pacquiao started fighting better and Marquez, the 38 year old man he is, started looking like a 38 year old fighter. The combos weren’t landing the way they should, the hands weren’t up as quickly as earlier, same with his moves and dodges. He resorte to tie up Manny once and again, but Pacquiao started getting through, finally landing a few body shots. Pacquiao went for a knockout, feeling he might lose or draw if he won’t get it, but Marquez stood firm. He was rocked a few times in the 11-12 rounds, but he survived.
The scorecard? 114-114, 115-113, 116-112. Very close, too close. Juan Manuel Marquez wasn’t given a chance by nearly everyone, including us, but had Manny’s number for six rounds. He probably deserved a draw. But the Pacquiao – Mayweather train needs to stay on tracks, and if Manny would have lost…
Timothy Bradley showed some rust but was impressive in general in the undercard, beating Casamayor. If the May 5 deal for Pacquiao, which needs to be struck between Bob Arum and Golden Boy Promotions (not a love story exactly), and Mayweather doesn’t go through, Bradley looks like the likely opponent.
More importantly is how Marquez showed again how to fight Pacquiao. You need certain skills to carry out the plan, and probably stamina that very few fighters posess, but this was the first time in over 3 years that Manny had this much trouble, that his win was actually put into doubt. The crowd at the end wasn’t pleased, to say the least, with a few object even flying towards the ring.
Somewhere, Floyd Mayweather Jr. was watching, taking notes. Maybe Pacquiao didn’t prepare well enough tactically for this fight. Maybe it’s something else. But Marquez showed how to beat Manny Pacquiao, he just couldn’t follow through to make it look decisive enough. Not enough to convince the judges at least. The fans? They’ll probably remember this as Pacquiao getting away with one.