By Dmytro Mossienko: Juan Manuel Marquez sixth round knockout of Manny Pacquiao came as a ground breaking experience for many boxing fans, including this writer. Over the past three to four years we witnessed quite a few KO victories, which every time some had the become to be voted Knock Out of the Year. I think you agree with me, as we are talking about Sergio Martinez’ ko of Paul Williams, Manny Pacquiao himself knocking cold Ricky Hatton in 2009, you name the other ones you like.
Marquez’s sixth round knockout of Pacquiao, however, has every chance of making the knockout of the decade. So complicated and tense was this rivalry, and so convincing was the Mexican’s right hook, that sent Manny face down to the floor.
I believe, this punch pretty much ended the period of Manny’s reign, when punishing him so badly looked unthinkable. Many saw him as the Bruce Lee of our time, someone with explosive speed and power, who could punish virtually any fighter regardless of weight class and opponent’s fighting skills. This hype translated into belief, and I could see it broadly shared in many forums, that in the Pacquiao vs Marquez 4 fight Manny would show eventually how much better he is, so no one anymore questions his superiority.
Few noticed, that at some point above 135lbs Marquez turned out to be obviously bigger and stronger than Pacman. Many forgot that Marquez was the man with very good speed and superior to Manny’s boxing skills, and last, but not least, enormous Mexican ego and a rock solid chin.
I believe, Manny was pushed into this attempt to demonstrate his domination by his very questionable loss to Tim Bradley. Readying for the fourth encounter with his nemesis, Marquez knew, that Manny would try to dominate the fight, stalk and punish him, to some extend getting framed by this mission, which to a very large extent proved to be impossible as we could see. Signing the fourth fight with Marquez, Pacman had inked it for the career defining fight. It was about either beating a stubborn opponent before another step into greatness or second subsequent loss (even if a draw, or even if a questionable win) as the clear sign of decline. This was supposed to make him really dangerous and Marquez knew that. And Pacquiao resolved to use it to his benefit.
At the weigh in Marquez looked bigger than Pacquiao eventhough he was 3 lbs lighter. Marquez could have built up those 3lbs allright, I just realized he really cared about retaining his speed.
I tend to believe, that out of two evenly good boxers a southpaw is always better, unless he fights a real southpaw hunter. Southpaw hunter (Kostya Tszyu for example) does not think about stepping his left foot outside sowthpaw’s right foot and starting attacks with right hook. He does that even if you wake him up at 3am. Miguel Cotto never really cared to do that in his latest fight with Austin Trout (just watch!). Oscar De La Hoya, a twisted southpaw him-self was terrible at fighting southpaws.
I was looking at Marquez’ three previous rivalries with Pacman and realized, there wass nothing in Pacquiao to get fundamentally better in their fourth fight. The 2005 draw fight just showed what was to be proven in the fourthfight: Marquez is the better of the two, because he is the real sowthpaw hunter. Watch his fights with Pacman, see the moment, when his left foot gets to be in the right place, you will see how natural he is at fighting sowthpaws!
Meanwhile I could see Manny coming in the heavier one on the scales for a reason. Roach suggested him to bulk up as they wanted to stalk Marquez, that’s where Roach thought one of the key to success was. However, as the previous fights would show, Marquez was not getting intimidated by massive assaults unless it’s the opening round of their first fight. The thing is, his talent is not in slugging it out, but rather in counter-punching.
As it turned out, counter-punching was the key to a knock out victory!
Amazingly enough, Manny started the fight boldly jumping at Marquez with leading rights, far too often leaving his chin exposed to potential right counter punches, exactly the one, which finished the fight in the sixth round Don’t get me wrong, I think Manny had a pretty good game plan, he was sending more punches and landed more. But Manny also did the same reckless jumping forward as in many previous fights. It’s just in the past he was jumping forward just a tiny bit faster, his hands flying to the target just slightly more aggressively. All those things which enabled him to get away with his technical flows had eventually drifted away. Meanwhile all exciting things, that we love in Marquez appeared to be in place.