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  Pacquiao & Marquez Leave Things Unsettled,
And This Time The Decision Is Even More Unsettling

By Bret “The Threat” Newton

Their third meeting in the ring was supposed to clear things up. Settle the controversial endings to their previous two wars, and give a solid ending to their trilogy. What was left in the ring was appeared to be answered by the fighters, but the result was just as questionable as already considering a fourth fight between these two.

Their first fight in 2004 ended in a draw. Most people only remember Manny Pacquiao shocking Juan Manuel Marquez in the opening round, scoring three vicious knockdowns that nearly ended the fight right then and there. What should have been taken away from that fight was an amazing comeback, and Marquez winning nearly all eleven of the remaining rounds. Just getting up and being able to fight on for the remainder of the fight was an accomplishment alone. Pacquiao was considered lucky to have received a draw.

Their second fight in 2008 was much closer with Pacquiao only scoring one knockdown this time, that being the deciding factor of the fight that gave him the one point split decision victory. When the third fight was finally made, many believed it was past it’s expiration date and just too little too late. That Pacquiao had gone on to much bigger things and became the big-named fighter he is today, whereas Marquez had looked to seen his better days in the ring. Not to mention, it was not “THE” fight everyone has been clamoring for, so the appeal was not fully there. Nevertheless, Marquez has always been a warrior, fight-til-you-die type of fighter, so it would be entertaining while it lasted. Well, Marquez ended up doing more than that.

From the opening round, the fight was much lower paced than their previous two which both started right off the bat. This time both were being more cautious, only Marquez was waiting to counter while Pacquiao was just waiting, period. Pacquiao was not fighting like himself. He looked like he was having trouble finding a rhythm early. Marquez’s unwillingness to fully engage had some part in that, but even when sitting in his corner between rounds, something looked off in Pacquiao. He looked really out of it. Of course, taking flush punches to the face and being knocked off balance quite often, then missing many of his own shots throughout the fight, also added to the uncharacteristically looking Pacquiao.

While Pacquiao had created the name for himself by blowing through every fighter they had put in front of him, he did finally show some signs of wear, or even just ring-age alone, in his last fight against Shane Mosley earlier this year. Mosley was past his best and was never really in the fight, even being dropped early, but Pacquiao was still struggling to make a bigger impact. Granted the two were very friendly in that fight, touching gloves before every round and after any clinch, but it was the first time Pacquiao had complained about not fully being himself. He blamed his legs for cramping up, being the reason he could not fully get off and put on the Pacquiao type of performances we were so used to seeing. Last Saturday night against Marquez, Pacquiao used a similar excuse for being less than himself, this time the cramps were in his feet he said.

Pacquiao vs. Marquez III played out pretty basic. It was not nearly as thrilling as their first two encounters. The only time the audience got excited was when Pacquiao was hit off balance as he tried to jump in to counter. The only times the two fully exchanged shots, neither landed anything flush. Both appeared too preoccupied with the notion of trying not to get hit. That made a lot of punches either miss, or hit each others punches. The punch stats at the end of the fight also need to be examined. They showed Pacquiao throwing and landing more than Marquez and that just did not appear so. Marquez was shown to have the higher accuracy and that was correct, he rarely missed a shot as has been the case in his entire career. But Pacquiao was not out landing Marquez. If that was the case, Marquez would have been on the canvas, or at least staggered. These were not jabs or pitty-pats Pacquiao was throwing. Pacquiao was jumping in with his trademark bombs, and missing the majority, or just not throwing at all, while getting his head snapped back.

The final two rounds were also deciding factors in this fight. I think it’s interesting that many are using Nacho Beristain as an excuse factor to why Marquez could have possibly lost the fight. Beristain was telling Marquez he was winning the fight between rounds and many believe Marquez eased up in the final two rounds which gave the fight to Pacquiao, who won by two rounds on the widest scorecard. It’s also interesting that Glen Trowbridge, who scored it 116-112, did in fact give Marquez the 12th and final round, while the other two judges gave that round to Pacquiao. Dave Moretti, who scored it 115-113, gave the 11th to Marquez. Robert Hoyle, who had it 114-114, gave both the 11th and 12th to Pacquiao. So that easing up factor didn’t matter on the one card, but the fight would have been scored a draw had Marquez won the final round on the other two judges scorecards.

Also, look at their expressions after the fight. When the final bell rang, Pacquiao slowly walked to his corner, shrugged as if to say, "Well, I did my best.", looked down and appeared very disappointed before he kneeled to pray in his corner. All the while Marquez had his arms in the air the instant the fight was over, who was then hoisted into the air by his corner men, all sure of victory. Of course those tell tale signs do not determine who won, but Pacquiao did not raise his arms as he did in their previous two meetings, this time looking as if he was ready to accept defeat.

Was Pacquiao’s head just elsewhere with all that’s going on in his life? Or are Pacquiao’s best days behind him? Is this the perfect time for him to get out? I know, I know, if that happens then everyone ends up missing out on “THE” fight (considering it finally gets made now) that feels like everyone has been waiting their whole lives for, but after last night, does that fight even seem realistic? You’re asking for Pacquiao to fight an even better, bigger, stronger, and more defensive fighter after appearing to lose to Marquez. Floyd Mayweather has also turned his style into a more offensive one with a more knockout-minded behavior. Marquez knocked Pacquiao off balance a number of times. Mayweather would’ve done the same and more had that been him in there instead last night.

And just to add, those were not fully my feelings had these two previously met a year or two ago as they should have. It appears Mayweather was waiting for this day, the day Pacquiao looked fully beatable and would not be his Pacquiao-self. Mayweather will be fighting the Pacquiao who finally lost decisively against Marquez, in the majority of viewers eyes that is. Most who are still interested in seeing that big match-up will sell it as if Pacquiao either just had an off night in his last fight, or that Marquez was just that one fighter that you could never look good against, the one who always had Pacquiao’s number from the start. But lets be honest, people only want that fight for two reasons: One, to finally get it out of the way. It’s long past due and they just need to get it over with so we aren’t left wondering. And two, it’s for either Pacquiao fans or Mayweather haters to get a chance to have hope that maybe Pacquiao could beat Mayweather and serve him the humble pie that most Hollywood movie endings are made of. Only thing is, life, more often than not, does not end like the movies.

I couldn’t help but be reminded of Oscar De La Hoya vs. Felix Strum in the fight. So many comparisons to be made. Not just the controversial scoring, where many believe Strum deserved the victory, but it was the last fight needed to set up the “big” one with Bernard Hopkins. This was supposed to be the last fight to set up the big one with Pacquiao and Mayweather. And remember, De La Hoya vs. Hopkins ending up being pretty much a blow out, if you see where I am going with this…

(hating to admit it to say the least)


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