By John Lumpkin: Manny Pacquiao has looked like an amalgamation of Bruce Lee and Roberto Duran in recent years, but last night, Juan Manuel Marquez made him look, dare we say, almost ordinary. Had we come into the fight believing Marquez to be the power puncher and Pacquiao as the quick fisted boxer, the scores would have likely heavily favored Marquez. The shots that appeared most memorable during the course of the fight were coming from Marquez which was a noticeable difference from their previous fights. There were even a few rounds where Marquez appeared to take clear control of the fight.
Pacquiao never displayed that explosive sensationalism that we have come to expect, but instead, went about his business with poise and finesse. He used his vastly superior speed and footwork to generate punching angles outlanding Marquez throughout most of the rounds. This is the first of the three fights where he held numerical punch advantages and it was the key to the victory.
Probably the most difficult thing for a Marquez fan with this trilogy is that it seems that Marquez should have at least gotten one of these fights. This fight, like the others before it, could have been scored either way. What made this fight easier to score in favor of Pacquiao was that there were a number of rounds where Marquez appeared to be a combination short. It is as though his strategy failed to take into account that Pacquiao is the faster, flashier and more aggressive of the two combatants and that these characteristics routinely tend to provide advantages on the score card.
Nevertheless, Pacquiao just did not seem quite as effective and the fans noticed.
Marquez may well have done everything he could, but there was this sense that if he had just stepped on the gas a bit more, he would have been the clear winner. We will never know for certain if the added weight or the age made a difference. A fourth fight might help answer that question, but time is working against Marquez now as is the possibility of Pacquiao facing Mayweather. A title at Junior. Welterweight might be the better immediate objective and would certainly keep him in the running for another opportunity.
Marquez’s performance may have inadvertently made the Mayweather- Pacquiao fight more plausible. The physical abilities that bedevil Marquez against Pacquiao are the things that Mayweather has in spades. Pacquiao’s performances over the last few years since his previous fight with Marquez had given us the impression that he had soared to unchartered heights as demonstrated by the odds on the third fight. The fight itself showed us that while there were significant improvements; Pacquiao still resides in the same stratosphere.
The upshot of this is that Marquez now has to hope that his performance against Pacquiao does not provide Mayweather with enough information to beat Pacquiao. A Mayweather victory would likely eliminate any chance for a fourth fight and there isn’t likely to be much demand for Marquez to square off with Mayweather again. Of course, if Mayweather fails to agree to terms, Marquez is the best fight out there for Pacquiao. After three fights, we still have not seen enough to convince us that one fighter has the edge over the other.
November 13, 2011