by Adonis Fernandez
In what many in the boxing community initially believed to be a mismatch between the “pound-for-pound king” Manny Pacquiao and the lightweight kingpin Juan Manuel Marquez, Pacquiao barely managed to win it by majority decision (Judge Robert Hoyle scored it a draw of 114-114, Judge Dave Moretti favored Pacquiao at 115-113, and Judge Glenn Trowbridge had Pacquiao winning at 116-112) before a sell-out crowd of 16,368. The event was no different from the boxers’ first and second meetings which were a draw and a split decision for Pacquiao, respectively.
Pacquiao pressed the action in each round through his daunted combinations, but he was neutralized by the intelligent display of resiliency and counter-punching skills of Marquez. If the compubox were to be the basis, Pacquiao had landed 176 of the 578 punches, while Marquez connected 138 of 436 punches.
Pacquiao had a 117-100 edge in power shots. Pacquiao evidently played the aggressor’s role while Marquez played the counterpuncher.
After Michael Buffer announced the result of the scorecards, fans of Marquez—most likely the Mexican crowd—roared their disapproval. And while Pacquiao was being interviewed by Max Kellerman, the buzz of resounding boos was clearly dominating the MGM Grand. In disbelief and with an accusation of another “robbery,” Marquez swiftly moved to the dug out. Kellerman interviewed him as well.
In the postfight conference, Pacquiao argued that he clearly won the fight but that it was not easy for him to fight Marquez’s style of counterpunching. Marquez, on his part, claimed that he had done everything convincingly to win the fight, but then the judges (again) did not give him his deserved victory.
The Pacquiao victory kept alive the wish of many boxing aficionados for the Mayweather superfight; but it raised also some concerns about the Filipino boxer’s ability to dominate counterpunchers. The Mayweather fight, if it happens, will surely be a gigantic task for Pacquiao—for it is against a slick, intelligent, and highly skilled counterpuncher.
The community of Filipino boxing enthusiasts has reason to celebrate but not with the euphoria they had when Pacquiao stream rolled over Oscar dela Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, Joshua Clottey, Antonio Margarito, and Shane Mosley.