Great expectations – of boxing fans worldwide and of Filipinos everywhere- in the build up towards fight night of Pacquiao-Marquez 3, somehow stirred up the disappointment of Pacquiao fans and the violent reactions of Marquez die-hards after a majority decision win was awarded to the pound for pound king.
Partly to blame for the great expectations was Manny himself, because he set up a standard high enough, that a simple win like this, could no longer suffice his fans’ thirst for those spectacular victories he gave us in the past. We can still remember how Ricky Hatton lost consciousness, while still floating in the air after the Pacman caught him with a perfect left hook on the chin. Or how a helpless Oscar de la Hoya failed to stand up and answer the 9th-round bell, thus effectively handing Pacquiao an 8th round TKO victory.
And we also cannot forget the bloodied and mangled faces of Miguel Angel Cotto and Antonio Margarito, among others, who both fought gallantly till the end. All four fighters were much bigger than the pound for pound king and are all considered to be among the elite. Although there were “boring” fights like the ones with Joshua Clottey and Shane Mosley, the high expectations for Pacquiao to win convincingly in his third fight against Marquez was universally felt among boxing enthusiasts.
Also to blame were Pacquiao’s promoters and trainers, in addition to the swarm of sportswriters – paid or otherwise – who all agreed, more or less, that Pacquiao would knockout Marquez within the first six rounds. The overwhelming reasons for the bold prediction include variations of the following:
- That Pacquiao is a more complete fighter now than when he last fought Marquez in 2008,
- That Pacquiao has convincingly beaten much larger opponents than Marquez,
- That Marquez would be much slower at 144 lbs than when he last fought Pacquiao in 2008 at 135 lbs,
- And that Pacquiao is badly pissed off with Marquez’s claim that he beat Pacquiao twice in their two previous fights.
In the excitement towards fight night, fans conveniently forgot that Marquez gave Pacquiao hell in their first two fights, and in one fight observer’s score card, should have won in their second fight with the slimmest of margins, 114-113. Those who believed that Marquez will be a walk in the park for Pacquiao this time, just didn’t know the history between the two. And that ignorance of the fact, coupled with the high expectations, contributed to the general feeling of disappointment over Pacquiao’s win. Twitter was even flooded with posts expressing the “collective guilt” of Filipinos over Pacquiao’s “unconvincing” win.
But the judges’ score cards don’t lie. One judge scored it even at 114-114, while two saw it for Pacquiao at 115-113 and 116-112 in the November 12 fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Some of us may argue that the judges are humans, too, prone to errors and biases. But then, we have to remember that the judges were there officially to watch and score the fight from an objective standpoint. We have to admit that almost all of us came to watch the fight, all psyched up to see Marquez kiss the canvas before the end of the sixth round, and to see him struggle against the “new” Pacquiao. And when everything did not happen according to our expectations – Marquez survived the sixth round and was giving Pacquiao a hell of a fight – we readily came to the conclusion, maybe subconsciously, that Marquez was winning the fight.
We may not agree with the judges’ decision, but the fight was too close to call for either side. There maybe two or three rounds that could have gone the other way. During these instances, a judge is more likely to score it for the champion, which in this case, is Pacquiao. There is this boxing judges’ school of thinking that says: “you have to beat the champ decisively, or you didn’t beat him”. I suspect that was applied by one or two judges in scoring each round. In the end, the score for each round has to be added and the fighter with the highest score wins.
Each fighter is a perfect match for each other. They fought 36 rounds of boxing in their trilogy, but still, no one came out as the dominant boxer over the other. What is clear though, is that Marquez has Manny Pacquiao’s number. Pacquiao may dominate over other opponents, but against Marquez, he has to work harder to win. In sports parlance, Marquez is Pacquiao’s “contrapelo”. He holds the key to the Pacquiao puzzle.
In the same manner, Marquez as Pacquiao’s “perennial” nemesis, should have done more. He should have out-punched and hurt Pacquiao and should have taken the role of aggressor. On the contrary, it was Pacquiao who out-boxed Marquez according to CompuBox. It was Pacquiao who was clearly the aggressor. And Marquez, did not hurt him.
You have to beat the champ decisively, or you didn’t beat him, you know.