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Marquez: Beating the Odds. Almost.

Sparks fly every time El Dinamita mixes it up with our Pambansang Kamao
by Gelo Gonzales | Nov 14, 2011
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Very few people believed Juan Manuel Marquez was going to last the distance in his third time in the ring against Manny Pacquiao last Sunday. Fewer, still, gave him a shot at actually winning the fight.

He was 38 years old, a few years past his prime, and two weight classes above his usual. Pacquiao on the other hand has been dominant in the welterweight division. All his opponents have either refused to fight back or were beaten to a bloody pulp. Pacquiao is a legitimate welterweight and has developed more weapons since his last fight against Marquez.

Here's how it was supposed to go: Marquez was supposed to engage Pacquiao in an exciting match for the first four rounds then slowly fall by the wayside as Pacquiao goes for the knockout in the middle rounds.

As we all know by now, the Mexican refused to follow the script.

Putting in the work
We’ve all heard about fighters claiming that they just had the best training camp of their lives (RE: Joshua Clottey and Shane Mosley) only to wilt under pressure and succumb to Pacquiao’s attacks. Coming into the fight, most of us were expecting a dominant knockout win for Pacquiao but Marquez proved that styles indeed make fights in boxing.

Size is important but it is not the most important factor. Oscar de la Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, and Antonio Margarito were all bigger than Pacquiao but Pacman defeated them because they were too slow and they had no idea how to counter his attacks.

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But Marquez is by no means smaller than Pacquiao. He was bigger when they met at 126 and he was as big as Pacquiao when they met again at 130. We were all harping about a Pacquiao size advantage when it clearly was not there. Marquez failed in his first shot in the welterweight division because of the opponent (Mayweather Jr.), not because of the size.

Reaping what you sow
The first three rounds of the fight were a bit slow but Marquez turned up the heat in the fourth and fifth rounds winning those ones clearly. He connected with uppercuts, left hooks, and right straights that landed flush on Pacquiao’s face. It was at this point that fans started to change their minds. This was where everyone realized that Marquez had a shot, but most of all, this was where everyone remembered how great Marquez can be.

You cannot hestitate against Pacquiao. You have to be willing to eat a punch for you to have a shot at hitting Pacquiao back and this was what Marquez did. He jumped in the line of fire just get the chance to shoot some bullets back. He knew that heavy artillery will be raining down on him, but he believed he has a good chance because of his accuracy. He perfected the best weapon against a southpaw like Pacquiao, which was the lead right, and he even threw double lead rights that connected at times.

The rest of the fight was a give and take affair. Marquez connected with the cleaner blows but Pacquiao connected with more punches. After the bell rung to signify the end of the fight, Marquez raised his hands in jubilation while Pacquiao, who was clearly disappointed, walked back to his corner with his head down. The arena smelled an upset. But when the scores of 114-114, 115-113, and 116-112 were read, Pacquiao’s hand was raised in victory.

Marquez, dejected, walked out of the ring to a chorus of cheers from the crowd.

The decision was painful for him because a win could have given him so much. A win would have vindicated him when he said that he won the first two rounds against Marquez. It would have put him in a position to demand as much money as Pacquiao for another match. He could have climbed the pound-for-pound rankings even more. And he could have, finally, said that he defeated the great Manny Pacquiao.

Even if he lost, Marquez gained tremendous respect from the boxing world by taking Pacquiao to the limit. He showed everyone how dedication can match talent; how timing can match speed. There was a lot of close rounds that could have gone either way but the judges chose to score those rounds in favor of Pacquiao, the champ.

“There’s something wrong with Pacquiao,” some people said. “That’s not how he fights.” What’s wrong with Pacquiao, at least in this fight, was the selection of his opponent. There seemed to be something wrong with Pacquiao because of Marquez. Dinamita gave him fits by talking away his strengths, in the process, frustrating Pacquiao by making him pay every single time he launched an attack.

With the feeling that he has been short-changed for the third straight time against Pacquiao, Marquez said that he is thinking about retiring. For boxing’s sake, we hope he reconsiders. He is the best counter-puncher in the sport and he exemplifies why boxing is called the sweet science. With his performance against Pacquiao, Marquez, at least in the minds of some, has already eclipsed Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales making him the best Mexican fighter of his generation.

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