By Ludwig O. Daza
To fight fans used to watching Manny Pacquiao steamroll his opponents, that last fight with Juan Manuel Marquez was a big letdown. After the 4th round I still can’t believe my eyes. Pacquiao hasn’t jolted Marquez with his power punches. Not a single punch found a mark, while Marquez had already planted a lot of doubts in Manny’s mind with telling blows to his face, making him wary to attack and reminding him of the demons that befuddled him in their previous two fights.
As a matter of style, I thought Pacquiao reverted to his ways of old: Left fist trigger-happy. The right hand that allowed him to knock Ricky Hatton out and set-up his left against Oscar De La Hoya was a non-factor. The fight played out the way Nacho Beristain wanted it: Make Manny fight their kind of fight.
If Roach wants to improve the skills of Pacquiao and definitively put away Marquez, he needs to take a page from the defensive style of Omar Narvaez and Winky Wright with hands up covering the face every time, unleashing potshots of jabs from time to time.
The purposeful weaving and bobbing I saw against Oscar De La Hoya was non-existent. If that kind of fighter, which I was confidently expecting (especially with the clouds of doubt surrounding the results of their previous fight, and the subdued animosity between both fighters), showed up, the result would have been definitive. The weaving and bobbing that Pacquaio utilized were less pronounced than when he fought De La Hoya, and therefore allowed Marquez to hit Pacquiao with frequency.
Based on the quality of his opponents in the higher weight classes, Pacquiao should have demolished Marquez notwithstanding his counterpunching skills.
What he did to Oscar De La Hoya was the perfect antidote to Marquez style: With head bobbing and weaving, hands covering the face, piston-like in its execution, leaving the face only when it is locked on the target, and returning to cover up the face in a split-second. Indeed, Manny was a very efficient machine against De La Hoya.
Manny Pacquiao vs. Oscar De La Hoya highlight video
But against Juan Manuel Marquez, he needs to tweak his style a little bit by inching closer to Marquez. He needs to close the distance to deny Marquez the leeway to operate with his counter punching skills. Make him backpedal most of the time. It is noticeable that Marquez tagged Pacquiao every time Pacquiao covers up and move backwards after attacking, setting in motion his counter punches.
Pacquiao got hit when coming forward because his tendency was to punch first, and when he does come forward, both hands were down, leaving his face exposed to an unbelievably much faster hands of Marquez. What Manny Pacquiao should have done was to come forward defensively and inch closer to Marquez with jabs and short punches in mind, instead of long shots which gave Marquez a lot of time to react.
Freddie Roach said that Manny Pacquiao is a machine, and the machine will execute against Marquez. Unfortunately for Pacquiao fans, the machine malfunctioned. Maybe the machine was running on empty. For all his claims that he has re-discovered his desire in the ring when he was still unknown in America, Pacquiao may have actually lost it.
With all the distractions surrounding him from start of training leading to his fight, his usual steadfast focus might have succumb to it. You can only take so much despite claims that these distractions are necessary to him as a fighter different from others who take their training in the solitude of mountains, away from distractions.
The ever increasing coterie of Pacquiao, the alleged misunderstanding with his conditioning coach, Alex Ariza, and his preoccupation with politics may have contributed to clog his mind leading to the fight. Nothing could be truer than the words of martial arts actor, Jackie Chan, in the movie Karate Kid, that one must empty his mind of distractions during the fight. A clogged mind and a diminished desire is a bad recipe inside the ring, not to mention the much-publicized marital discord relative to his alleged gigolo trait – which is in fact a more energy sapping incident in the life of a boxer who is about to enter the ring.
A bundle of energy, a spitfire, energizer bunny, ferocity – these are the traits that fans have been accustomed to every time he’s in the ring. I didn’t see those in his latest fight.
A well-oiled machine no more, a human after all.
Marquez once again affirmed his being a sore loser by claiming robbery. Nacho probably told Marquez to avoid a knockdown at all cost to have a chance of getting the nod of judges, on which respect he was successful. But the outcome was still not enough to sway the judges in his favor.
The scorecards could have gone either way just like in their previous fights. Pacquiao’s aggression borne of his wanton disregard of the outcome of the fight got the nod of the judges in their previous fights. In their last fight, though Pacquiao has tempered his aggressiveness, Pacquiao’s ally this time, as regards the judges, is the fact that he has carried boxing on his shoulders with his unprecedented exploits, and it would take a lot of convincing on the part of Marquez if he is to win on the scorecards. Convincing the judges would mean knocking out Pacquiao cold or beating him definitively.
That Pacquiao did not beat Marquez definitively likewise applies to Marquez. The myth of the pound for pound title will weigh heavily against a challenger counter puncher when pitted against a legendary fighter who owns it.
Got an Opinion? Submit Your Articles and Press Releases to be posted on NowBoxing.com
*Please refrain from leaving any Racist, Profane or Derogatory comments*
Discuss this topic in the NowBoxing Forums (Membership is FREE)