|Juan Manuel Marquez en route to a royal screwing|
By Randy De La O
Last night's majority decision, favoring Manny Pacquiao, was an injustice to Juan Manuel Marquez, as well as to boxing fans. The fight itself was close, but there was a clear winner in this fight and it was Marquez. Thirty-six of the best rounds of boxing in three fights, between two great fighters, that should go down with the best trilogies in boxing, forever marred by – take your pick – incompetent or criminal judging.
More than anything, a man has been denied his rightful place in boxing history. As time goes on and memories fade, he will just become someone who lost three fights to Manny Pacquiao. His children will know, and so will his grandchildren, and so will the true fans of boxing but that will fade with time. By next year the rest of the sports world will have moved on as they prepare for Pacquiao vs Floyd Mmayweather Jr.
I believe that just about everyone on the planet, except for Juan Manuel Marquez and his camp, thought he was over the hill, ripe for the taking. I believe Pacquiao did to Marquez, what almost everyone, believes Mayweather is doing to Pacquiao, and that is he waited til he thought “it was safe to go back into the water”. Marquez at any age, but even at 38, has always been more than enough for Pacquiao, maybe just a little too much.
Marquez has proven himself to be a fighter for the ages, as much or maybe more so than Pacquiao or Mayweather. Never the recipient of a close fight, never given the benefit of the doubt and always in the shadow of other, more well known, but not necessarily better fighters.
Well liked but never truly taken in by his countrymen in the same way his contemporaries; Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales have been, or more recently, the way Saul “Canelo” Alvarez has been, unproven though he is.
He had only his belief, that he was among the very best of his era. Since 1993 he has plied his trade, like a craftsman, learning through trial and error, until he has mastered the art of boxing and counter punching like few others. His progress can be measured in small increments, in small nuances.
The talk before going into last night's fight with Manny Pacquiao was the degree to which Pacquiao had improved, both physically and technically since their first two meetings. Unseen and unnoticed were the improvements made by Marquez. The changes were more subtle and learned mostly through losses and tough fights with young, prime fighters. The changes that took place were inside of an already courageous fighter. He was ready for this fight with Manny Pacquiao.
I'm not going to go over every single round, you saw the fight just as I did. Overall it was Marquez who seemed to control the pace, making Manny work harder or spend energy just by virtue of his own slower paced counter punching style. Pacquiao's own face told the story throughout the fight; frustrated, worried, befuddled and bewildered at times. He was given at times to wild lunges, throwing himself off balance unable to back down a determined foe in Marquez, who stood his ground, as he always had, against anything and everything Pacquiao has in his arsenal. He got the best of the exchanges and it was almost always Pacquiao who pulled away from those exchanges. Marquez was the more accurate and sharper puncher.
The HBO announcers as always, seem to favor the house fighter (Pacquiao). As soon as each round ended, and especially those rounds that favored Marquez, Jim Lampley as quick as he could, made sure we knew what the compubox stats were, and that they favored Pacquiao. Somebody needs to tell these guys, fights are not won by compubox stats. Fights are won, with skill, technique, heart and so many other things that will never register in compubox.
Both Max Kellerman and Jim Lampley gave it their best shot in trying to convince us that Marquez lost because trainer Nacho Beristain told him he was winning. That's a stretch. You could just as easily look to the corner of Pacquiao as trainer Freddie Roach, continually told Pacquiao to get in there and “knock him out, get him out of there”. He knew.
There is no doubt in my mind that Juan Manuel Marquez won the third fight. There is no doubt in my mind that Manny Pacquiao waited for the right time to fight Marquez, before attempting to prove he was the better man. There is no doubt in my mind who the better fighter is. However razor thin that difference may be, that man is Juan Manuel Marquez.
Make no mistake about it, like it or not, Floyd Mayweather Jr is the best "pound for pound" fighter in the world today. Juan Manuel Marquez, even if I'm the only guy on the planet that recognizes it, fills the number two slot.