By Ludwig Daza
Manny Pacquiao said he underestimated Marquez in their third fight and was surprised that Juan Manuel Marquez came in the ring heftier and stronger. “I underestimated him so I didn’t do plyometrics,” said Pacquaio.
But before that fight we were made to believe that he was determined to put a finish to the Pacquiao-Marquez saga definitively, and that he was working hard in extended training weeks. Instead, Pacquiao barely survived that fight, giving credence to Marquez’s claim that he beat Pacquiao twice.
The third fight was a meltdown for the Pacman. The mystique that shrouds Pacquiao disappeared amid Marquez’ exquisite counter-punches. It was disappointing to know that Pacquiao underestimated his opponent. The reason why he ran roughshod over his opponents in the higher weight divisions is that he always over-estimated them, thereby making his training regimen more difficult than what is necessary.
That he suddenly underestimated his opponent is somewhat disturbing. Has the trappings of fame and fortune taken its toll on the Pacman’s fighting acumen? Whatever happened to his mantra that the actual fight becomes easy if a fighter works doubly hard in training in preparation for the fight?
Obviously Marquez was in the best shape ever during the third fight. He was really out to prove that he beat Pacquiao twice. Marquez’ desire to prove his point against the best pound for pound and Pacquiao’s lukewarm approach to the third fight conspired to give Pacquiao a win that even he himself found unconvincing.
That fight saw him booed the first time in his life. I cannot recall a fight where the Pacman was booed in a fight because he always gave his all. For or against him, he always gave them something to cheer about him. To the fans, the third fight was not what was expected of him. They felt he didn’t give his all that is why he was booed.
In their second fight I saw an improvement, something different. I think it was in the ninth round where he threw a lead punch without looking at Marquez as his eyes were perpendicular to the floor, as if he knew Marquez was there and his punch would hit the target. He threw that punch while ducking a punch. That lead punch wobbled Marquez. It was like a roundhouse kick delivered with precision and cunning.
In their third fight, I saw a Pacquiao whose offense has stagnated. After so many rounds between these two fighters, they know themselves very well that surprises during the fight would be of little significance.
But the surprise that Marquez sprung against the unsuspecting, overconfident Pacquiao happened not during but before the fight. And it was not a surprise that can be considered little Marquez got bigger and stronger during training. So during the fight he was hulking over Pacquiao. He took every punch that Pacquiao delivered with gusto, and every time, Marquez never failed to issue a receipt. The power of Pacquiao was neutralized by the heft of Marquez and his counter-punches.
I think for Pacquiao to be successful against Marquez, he needs a coach not named Roach, just to give him a different perspective. Pacquiao must be a counter-puncher himself against Marquez. For protagonists who know each other’s strength and weakness, an element of surprise is a must to overcome the other.
I hope the boxing gods grant the fans another Pacquiao-Marquez bout. It would be winner take all, for sure.
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