Pacquiao vs Marquez III - The Ruling on the Field Stands
The happenings of November 12, 2011 will linger for a long while in the memory of the boxing world.
Fans were treated to yet another memorable fight, and even still, yet another disputed ending. The sellout crowd was perhaps a bit surprisingly nearly all pro-Marquez, as in Juan Manuel Marquez. The Mexican warrior looked as if he had every trick necessary to finally unseat the Professor James Moriarty of his world, Manny Pacquiao.
What exactly did we witness between these two combatants?
A robbery is what many are saying, just as they did in 2004 and once again in 2008. This article is not an attempt to neither dispute nor even discuss the first two meetings. Simply put, fans don't count in the final tallying of points once the bell sounds to end the fight. This is what may truly aggravate us to no end. Boxing can do this like no other sport.
Team sports can break our hearts at times, but not the way the Sweet Science can in its unique one-on-on style. The judges who sat ringside at the MGM made it safely out of the arena. The crowd loudly booed the decision and understandably so. The effort given by the first ballot Hall of Fame bound Marquez was commendable and he appeared so very well prepared. First off, the weight wasn't an issue. He stated that he had changed his tactics when it came to his training methods. He appeared strong and fit, as always. Many feel that he did enough to win, yet he was robbed once again.
He wasn't robbed. Not by far sight. Rather, he was duped. He was sandbagged. He was let down. He was misinformed. "Just enough" is not the standard when it comes to taking the title from the mythical champion. Pacquiao had a look in his eyes that he was somewhere unfamiliar. Partnered with his exposed vulnerability, the Filipino idol was taken out of rhythm. Juan Manuel did a magnificent job of producing a Manny that we hadn't seen since before he started his current magical run.
Should Marquez decide to continue his legendary career (which we should all hope he does), he might want to consider doing so without his trainer, Ignacio "Nacho" Beristain. Let's not take away from what Beristain has done for Marquez: 8 world titles won in three weight divisions, a "never say die" spirit, and the fighting style which has endeared him to millions upon millions the world over.
However, Nacho gaffed big time on Saturday night. Marquez was landing meaningful shots, but he would back off and often get tagged in the process. He simply didn't do enough, at least not in the eyes of the judges. Maybe he can just ask Beristain to take a nice ringside seat after the 9th round, especially during close fights. Marquez was not clearly ahead (by clearly, I mean convincingly) enough to be told that he was winning the bout, hands down. In doing so, Beristain made himself look more like the conductor of the Vicarious Express than someone diligently working a corner with his fighter's best interests at heart.
In boxing, there are no red challenge flags to throw when you don't agree with a decision. This was Marquez' long-awaited (and possibly his last) chance at getting the respect for which he longed, but he did not close the deal. Marvin Hagler got fed up with leaving the outcome in the hands of the judges and decided that his fists would be the ones making the decision. Juan Manuel could have done this and he just didn't. Whether it was because of timidity, fatigue or complacency, he only has himself to blame. Beristain should do some searching of the soul as well as realize that the cards won't always fall his way.
In regard to Manny Pacquiao, let's hope that he thinks a very long time before he makes a decision concerning his future. Before anyone jumps to conclusion that Pacquiao had an off night or that Marquez exposed his weaknesses, we should perhaps look at the glaringly obvious. The fans of the Pac-Man have been spoiled for a long time. The honeymoon which began six years ago actually looked like it might come crashing down.
Pacquiao began his ascendancy as a virtual unknown, which considered alongside the fact that Manny may be as popular now as Coca-Cola has simply spoiled his now legions of fans. He went from the underdog to the 9-to-1 favorite, and the idea that any fighter not named Floyd Mayweather could rattle him in any way is beyond unsettling to many.
This can be easy likened to what great college football teams go through. The team rides high for a few years and then their star quarterback leaves for the NFL. A few losses and the fans don't know what to do. They were spoiled, too. As far as Saturday night's bout goes, Manny looked like he would have rather been somewhere else. He may have been thinking of the 22,000,000 other places he would have preferred over the center of ring. A different place for every dollar he made and that's not counting the Pay-Per-View revenue.
Marquez sold himself short. Volume will often trump quality in the ring. Again, you may say what you will. Did Juan Manuel Marquez absolutely, beyond all doubt and confusion beat Manny Pacquiao? Marquez angrily stormed out of the ring once the decision was read and seemingly floated back to the dressing room. Pacquiao was interviewed in the ring and seemed as ambiguous as ever. Many say that he acted this way because he knew that he'd just dodged a bullet.
HBO was able to get a quick interview with Marquez in his dressing area. There actually wasn't much dress of which to speak, as Marquez substituted a loin cloth for a sombrero. The justifiable disgust in his voice and in his replies suggested the robbery argument would surface once again. It's better than the Twinkies defense.
Think of it this way: Yes, Juan Manuel Marquez has Manny Pacquiao's number. There is no doubt of this. Maybe he did enough to win, or maybe he just didn't deposit enough to complete the call. Somewhere in the suburbs of Las Vegas, Floyd Mayweather may have watched the fight and realized he could have an easier ride than initially anticipated should he and Pacquiao ever meet.
This could have also kept Marquez and his desire for a victory at arm's length.
There may just be too much money involved to get in the way of the showdown for which the world yearns and itches. Marquez once again had Pacquiao's number...Mayweather has everyone's number.