Should Pacquiao face Marquez again before Mayweather?November 16, 2011
Last Saturday night the Boxing world once again focused it’s attention on two fighters Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez as they entered the ring with the intention of concluding a would be trilogy. In the prelude to this third encounter between the two future hall of famers I stated that a key factor that would determine if Pacquiao – Marquez would rank in history among the greatest trilogies in the history of the sport is that if a clear winner were to finally emerge between the two.
When it comes to trilogies in the sport of Boxing it is usually by the climatic final battle between two fighters that a clear victor emerges and stands out from the other. It is clear that we did not get the clear victor between Pacquiao and Marquez. We did however get a much more interesting and entertaining fight than some had predicted going into the contest. Although the fight was not as filled with reckless abandon with both fighters throwing everything they could possibly throw at each other as had been the case in the previous two bouts, the two warriors engaged in a more tactical yet exciting duel.
From the outset both fighters appeared tentative but it wasn’t long before the two would engage. Marquez seemed to have a little trouble finding his rhythm early due to Pacquiao’s angles but he was able to find a home for his right hand that appeared to frustrate Pacquiao. Marquez also led with a left hand to Pacquiao’s body an interesting tactic that we did not see in the first two fights.
One thing that Marquez also accomplished was getting Pacquiao to come to him and not going at Pacquiao in an aggressive manner, a move that some will argue led to his downfall in the first two fights. One thing that makes a fight that is fought so tactically difficult to score is when it seems that two fighters virtually match each other round after round. This was one of those fights…
There were points in this fight when Pacquiao was able to throw his punches, land, and get back on the outside before Marquez could get set to return offense. By the same token Marquez was able to bait Pacquiao frequently throughout the fight and land counter punches cleanly. Frankly it appeared for much of the fight that the two were matching each other punch for punch. In fights fought this way it is extremely difficult to score.
Although it is rare that judges score rounds even, in this fight I don’t believe there was much of a choice. It was simply the kind of fight that didn’t leave any conclusive answers to stand one fighter out from the other.
One factor that led to no real conclusive answer was the fact that unlike the first two fights, there were no knockdowns in this fight and it seemed that was because the fight was fought at a far more tactical pace than the previous two meetings. Perhaps after twenty-four closely fought rounds both Pacquiao and Marquez may have showed each other more respect than some fans may have expected based on the first two fights.
Often many may feel obligated to put an emphasis on CompuBox statistics in influencing how they may see a fight, particularly a close fight. In my experience I never really put an emphasis on CompuBox statistics because often the mere statistic simply does not give the whole story of what goes on in a fight. Effective aggression and ring generalship are two components that people often use in their criteria of scoring a contest. Others may put an emphasis on technique over effective aggression. It often boils down to what a judge prefers. This is why often you may see a consensus score separated by two points at most between two judges and another judge may have a score by a wider margin that can leave one curious as to how that judge came to that score.
Saturday night we had circumstances where there was a consensus of either the fight being called a draw or, the fighters being separated by one or at the most two points either way among observers. I scored the fight 114-114 a draw. There simply was nothing to separate either Pacquiao or Marquez from the other. A draw frankly seemed to be the fairest score one could render under the circumstances.
Official judge Robert Hoyle rendered the same score that I had unofficially of 114-114. It appeared that Hoyle may very well have been in the same dilemma that I had found myself of having no clear way to separate the two fighters. This seemed to hit the nail on the head along with the thinking of many observers. Judge Dave Moretti rendered a score of 115-113 for Pacquiao. Although I scored the fight a draw and believe that a draw was the fair verdict of the contest, a score of 115-113 for either fighter I don’t believe one could dispute or feel angry over. It’s all about a judge’s interpretation. A score separated by one point or two points either way is difficult to argue against. Then, there was the score announced by Judge Glenn Trowbridge who scored the contest 116-112 for Pacquiao rendering Pacquiao the victor by majority decision.
Although I do not agree with a score of 116-112 in favor of either fighter, lets examine why some including Trowbridge may have come up with such a questionable score. This bout was held in Las Vegas and there is a long standing reputation that judges in the state of Nevada emphasize aggression. This doesn’t always necessarily mean that a fighter who is relentlessly aggressive will get credit for a round over a fighter who chooses to pick their spots. It does however indicate that if one fighter doesn’t throw enough to equal or even surpass an opponent’s offensive output even though the two may match each other in punches landed in a round, that the fighter whom puts forth consistent pressure on his opponent will often get credit. This seems to be what some may point to as justification for a score of 116-112. Longtime New York State judge and, HBO unofficial judge Harold Lederman rendered the same score as Trowbridge citing effective aggression as the strong factor for his basis. This seemed in large part due to Pacquiao consistently coming forward even though both he and Marquez seemed to be matching each other punch for punch. In close rounds this will often tempt a judge who favors effective aggression to credit a fighter who comes forward.
Another factor that may have given Trowbridge and those who had Pacquiao ahead by a wider margin justification than the consensus close score of many may have come in how Marquez fought the last four rounds of the contest. After eight rounds, the fight was even on both Judge Hoyle and Judge Moretti’s respective scorecards. Judge Trowbridge however had Pacquiao ahead 77-75.
In the last four rounds from rounds nine through to twelve when the fight was still very much up for grabs Marquez seemed to have eased up his approach in rounds that were extremely close. Marquez eased up after being vehemently assured by his trainer Ignacio Beristain that he was ahead in the contest. This could have led Marquez to not step up his pace in those crucial rounds down the stretch. Although there was no clear precise answer as to who won the fight this may have given some including Trowbridge an excuse to score very close rounds in favor of Pacquiao merely due to his pressuring of Marquez.
Whether it was an error in coaching on Beristain’s part or, Marquez electing on his own to be cautious, and not come forward, it definitely had an impact on the outcome of the fight. Although the risk of being caught by counter punches from Pacquiao which has been detrimental to him in the previous two fights, it was a risk Marquez should have taken. In this observers opinion this decision cost Marquez the win.
In the moments following the fight, I had the opportunity to gage reaction from a variety of people whom seemed to have every possible point of view that one could have coming out of a fight like this. There were opinions like mine that the fight was a draw, there were opinions of Pacquiao did enough to retain his World Welterweight title even if he may not have necessarily looked good in doing so. Some opinions contended that Marquez had been robbed and pointed the finger of blame squarely at the judges. Some even made accusations of corruption suggesting that perhaps the state of Nevada wanted to protect a potential Manny Pacquiao Vs. Floyd Mayweather fight which if it were ever to take place will surely generate a significant economic boost to the city and state that the fight is held.
Although I can certainly understand every point of view of those who were kind enough to share with me following the fight and even though I may not agree with some points including the scorecard of Judge Glenn Trowbridge, it is unfair to place blame automatically on judges and or a state athletic commission whom appoint those judges in a fight as close as this. Even though 116-112 seemed outrageous this fight was so close the four point difference could easily be scored even. Judge Trowbridge had scored the last round for Marquez. Thus far the majority of those who have shared their opinion, round twelve was clearly won by Pacquiao. I agree.
Regardless which way one saw the fight, the one thing that is indisputably clear here is that there was no closure in the series. If this series of fights is to remain a trilogy it will be a challenge to rank it among the greatest trilogies in the history of the sport. It will however rank as one of the if not the most closely contested trilogies of all time if indeed this is the end of the story between Pacquiao and Marquez.
Some are convinced that Pacquiao will next finally get the opportunity to face Floyd Mayweather in a would be unification bout in the Welterweight division. Although one would expect some bias from the fighters’ respective camps, Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach stated after the fight that he believes Marquez deserves another fight with Pacquiao. A rare display of honesty in a sport where candor and honesty are rarely in the same practice from one of the most honest and classy men in the sport.
After covering all three fights over seven years and thirty-six hard fought close rounds, I came away from Saturday night’s fight having not gotten the clear answer that I had thought we might get out of this third battle. Instead I came away with a slightly unfulfilled feeling and feeling myself wanting more between Pacquiao and Marquez.
A fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather frankly needs to happen. It will not however necessarily define Manny Pacquiao’s career regardless of who would emerge victorious in that fight.
What will likely define Pacquiao’s career to a large extent is his series of fights against what I consider his greatest rival Juan Manuel Marquez. An inconclusive ending to the story between Pacquiao and Marquez will leave a question mark on both fighters legendary careers.
Both men are living legends of the sport of Boxing, Both are destined for entry into any Boxing Hall of Fame. In the eyes of this observer without a conclusive definitive ending between these two warriors, although both are great; both will forever have unfinished business. Business that needs to be finished before either fighter can consider their career complete.
LET’S DO IT AGAIN…
2 comment(s) on this page. Add your own comment below.
Manny eked out a win against Marquez. It's surprising Mayweather fighting Cotto. It's understandable why Manny declined a Mayweather fight. Mayweather dominated Marquez with heavy punches. Manny's weight gain did not give him proportionate punching power It's a no win situation for Manny - only way he should accept Mayweather fight is if he's guarantee 60% or more of money off the top. Once Manny loses a fight then his worldwide appeal will vanish. Manny should quit fighting and concentrate on his political career.
No Way should Manny face Marquez again... three times is enough - no matter how close those fights were. No upside for Manny. Manny's lack of punching power is obvious. Manny sure takes some hard punches which will affect him later in life - look at Ali. If Mayweather fights Manny - Manny will lose by knockout. Only way Manny wins is if he gets rid of his entourage and gets a tough trainer who won't keep telling Manny how great he is. He needs someone that will insist Many develop punching power and change his fighting style similar to Mayweathers. Hit and retreat. He needs someone like Sugar Ray Leonard or Hearns to prepare him for Mayweather.