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Manny Pacquiao | Loss to Marquez Can Enhance Legacy

Lee Cleveland Updated
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Manny Pacquiao suffered a brutal one-punch knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez in December and some say his legacy will suffer as a result.

But history shows us that's not necessarily true.

As a matter of fact, if Manny Pacquiao triumphs in Pacquiao vs Marquez V his legacy will likely reach enormous proportions, even surpassing the level it would have attained had he KO'd Marquez in December.

So how can a fighter's legacy grow more in defeat?

Answer: There's something in the human psyche that endears us to people who overcome adversity.

We love triumphs of the human spirit.

If an athlete is always dominant or victorious the public never sees her/his vulnerabilities nor do we see how they rebound from major setbacks. We don't see their 'human side' and, as a result, there is no triumph over tragedy.... In sum, there's simply triumph.

Perhaps this is why the Klitschkos aren't endeared by the masses, aside from Germany, Ukraine and a few other areas in Europe? They have dominated to the point where we haven't seen them really tested in a long time.

If Manny Pacquiao can comeback and soundly defeat Juan Manuel Marquez, it'll endear him more to the public and demonstrate he has the 'stuff' to overcome adversity.

Rocky Balboa

The Rocky series produced the the greatest fictional athlete ever - A fighter who came back from adversity again and again.

The producers of Rocky knew full well the public loves to see triumphs of the human spirit.

What made Rocky great weren't his accomplishments... It was his ability to shine in challenging situations, rise from knockdowns and rebound from defeat.

rocky clubber

Had Rocky Balboa steamrolled Apollo Creed, Clubber Lang and Ivan Drago would the cherished Rocky series be nearly as popular? Would there have even been a sequel?

So what about 'real life' scenarios?

Joe Louis vs Max Schmeling

Whenever the great Joe Louis is discussed, Max Schmeling is usually the second name mentioned. 

The first fight between Louis and Schmeling, then top heavyweight contenders, took place on June 19, 1936, at the famous Yankee Stadium in New York, New York.

A 10-1 favorite, Joe Louis was knocked down in the 4th Round and knocked out in the 12th.

The Louis-Schmeling rematch came on June 22, 1938 – one year from the day Louis had won the world Heavyweight title. The fighters met once again in a sold-out Yankee Stadium in New York City. But this time, Joe Louis pulverized his foe, knocking him out in the first round.

winback2 1024x768

After Louis vs Schmeling II, Joe Louis became an international celebrity and larger-than-life sports figure.

Sugar Ray Leonard vs Roberto Duran

Perhaps no fighter is more symbolic of the word 'comeback' than Sugar Ray Leonard. He overcame ring rust, drug addictions and a compromised eye to come out of retirement several times, defeating the likes of Kevin Howard, Marvelous Marvin Hagler and Donny LaLonde on three separate comeback occasions.

In 1980, an undefeated Leonard would taste defeat first the time, losing a close but unanimous decision to Roberto Duran.

Leonard vs. Durán II, the rematch, is one of the most famous fights in boxing history. It took place November 25, 1980 and ended with Durán turning his back to Leonard and quitting in Round 8. Sugar Ray Leonard had toppled his conqueror, even forcing him to quit.

Prior to their first bout Sugar Ray Leonard's popularity was on the rise.... But after his loss to and subsequent victory over Duran, Leonard's fanbase and marque value soared. As a result, Leonard's first bout with Hearns the following year and his 1987 superfight with Hagler would become two of the biggest sports events ever.

Muhammad Ali vs Joe Frazier

The Fight of the Century, also known as The Fight, is the title boxing writers and historians have granted to the boxing match between champion Joe Frazier and challenger Muhammad Ali, held on March 8, 1971, at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York.

At the time, both Ali and Frazier had legitimate claims to the title of World Heavyweight Champion.

An undefeated Ali had won the title from Sonny Liston in Miami Beach in 1964, and successfully defended his belt up until he had it stripped by boxing authorities for refusing induction into the armed forces in 1967. Ali would be out of action for over three years.

In Ali's absence, the undefeated Frazier collected two championship belts through devastating knockouts of Buster Mathis and Jimmy Ellis and became the recognized World Champion.

When Ali and Frazier met for the first time, it was only Ali's third bout back from a 3 year layoff. The former champ showed some rust and was visibly tired after the 6th round. Unable to keep pace with Frazier, Ali fell behind on the scorecards and Joe Frazier, who floored Ali in the final round, went on to win a unanimous decision victory over the loquacious pugilist dubbed the 'Louisville Lip.'

350px-Frazier drops Ali

But Muhammad Ali would comeback to defeat Frazier in their first rematch two years later, regain his title by knocking out a seemingly invincible George Foreman, and then TKO Frazier in their third epic encounter known as The Thrilla in Manila.

Ali vs Frazier would become the biggest rivalry is combat sports history and Muhammad Ali 'would reach the pinnacle of professional sports and eventually become the most popular athlete ever.

Pacquiao vs Marquez V?

For the first time in years, we've been reminded Manny Pacquiao is, in fact, human and can be knocked cold. 

Will Manny Pacquiao, like the mythical Rocky Balboa, Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Leonard and Muhammad Ali, enhance his legacy and attain some semblance of immortality by rebounding from defeat?

Can he comeback from a brutal knockout loss to arch rival Juan Manuel Marquez?

If so, don't be surprised if PacMan is remembered far more for his triumph in their fifth meeting than his defeat in their fourth encounter.

There's something in the human psyche that endears us to people who overcome adversity - We love triumphs of the human spirit.

Boxing is a lot like life - Everyone gets knocked down and some of us get knocked out.

What separates high achievers from everyone else has more to do with how they deal with adversity than how many times they get knocked down or knocked out.

Like Rocky Balboa said, "It ain't about how hard you hit... It's about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward."


More examples of fighters who became bigger in defeat, or in the face of adversity, because they triumphed after initial failure:
  • Willie Pep (avenged loss and recaptured title vs Sandy Saddler after nearly being paralyzed in a plane crash)
  • Floyd Patterson (avenged loss and recaptured title vs Ingemar Johansson)
  • Johnny Tapia (recaptured title after a lengthy hiatus due to drug abuse)
  • Evander Holyfield (avenged loss and recaptured title vs Riddick Bowe)
  • Lennox Lewis (avenged loss and recaptured title vs Hasim Rahman)
Can you think of more examples?  If so, let us know below.
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