By John F. McKenna (McJack)
The boxing world is still abuzz four days after WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KO’s) won a hotly disputed victory over WBO/WBA lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez (54-6-1, 39 KO’s). It does not matter which side you come down on as to who you think won the fight, the fight was a huge psychological victory for “El Dinamita”.
Marquez, despite all the pre fight predictions of his early demise against the Filipino icon, came to fight. The odds against Marquez, which had been 8 – 1 during the lead up to the match, shot up to 10-1 by fight night. To his credit Marquez was not dissuaded by all the hype surrounding Pacquiao, who after his successes over the past few years had achieved almost a God like status.
Those closest to Pacquiao were swept up by their own hype and as the saying goes started believing their own press clippings. Famed five time trainer of the year Freddie Roach was so sure of an easy win over Marquez that he started predicting a possible one round KO by Pacquiao. Strength and conditioning coach, Alex Ariza did Roach one better. He not only predicted an easy KO win for Manny, in his arrogance he said that God himself if he were in Marquez’s corner would not be able to help him. Perhaps God did intervene on Marquez’s behalf, because things did not go well on Manny’s side of the ring last Saturday night.
At times Team Pacquiao appeared to be in total disarray with both Pacquiao and Ariza barking out instructions to Manny. There is nothing worse than two or three people in a corner all simultaneously barking out directions to a bewildered fighter. That appeared to be the case Saturday night.
It is clear that the Marquez camp had the better game plan during most of the fight. For some inexplicable reason trainer Nacho Beristain told his fighter in between rounds towards the end of the contest that he was well ahead of Pacquaio. Apparently Nacho feared that if Marquez became careless, after fighting the perfect fight, that he might have been knocked out in the final rounds.
Pacquiao again suffered from cramping as he did in his fight with Shane Mosley last May. Again the reason appeared to be Pacquiao’s penchant for over training. Roach was aware of the problem and apparently was unable to do anything about it. There was no need for Manny to begin training two weeks ahead of time. It cost him big time, even more so than in his fight with Mosley.
Training for Manny Pacquiao has become an addiction and just like any other addiction can be extremely detrimental. Manny was of the mindset that if 8 weeks of preparation for the Marquez fight was what was required than 10 weeks would be even better. Unfortunately for “Pacman” that is not always the case.
Team Pacquiao was clearly outsmarted by Nacho Beristain and his classy fighter, who followed Nacho’s game plan to a “T”. Every move and offensive initiative attempted by Manny was effectively shut down by “El Dinamita” and his team.
Freddie Roach and Alex Ariza will have to go back to the drawing board in an attempt to come up with an effective strategy if Top Rank Promotions CEO Bob Arum is successful in nailing down what would be a fourth encounter with Juan Manuel Marquez.
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