Pacquiao, Mayweather & Marquez : The Truth
By Glenn Findlay: Now that we are all heralded in to the epic brutal finale of the absorbing conflict that is ” Pacquiao vs Marquez 4″; the reality about the three preceding battles and Mayweathers towering dominance of Marquez needs to be finalized once and for all. I’ve read the same squabbling quarrels on this website that because Mayweather governed Marquez in such an unparalleled fashion and Manny always has had a close hellacious war with the Mexican; that Mayweather will easily dominate and dictate Manny if they ever exchange colliding blows. This is quite illogical in the eternal boxing philosophy that “styles make fights”.
A theory never more appropriate when the legendary Roberto Duran beat Sugar Ray Leonard, who then pulsated Thomas Hearns, who had already demolished Roberto Duran into a pulp within 2 rounds. Hearns then subsequently got battered by Marvelous Marvin Hagler, who was then narrowly beaten by Sugar Ray Leonard. This context is just as imperative when scrutinizing the styles of Mayweather, Manny and Marquez.
In the sport of Gods; it can be argued that defensive style fighters immediately have the advantage over offensive boxers as they are waiting for the punch, in effect “chess players”, waiting for the opening or mistake even, in order to capitalize on aggression. Offensive fighters in effect are taking a risk in their style; therefore they will seemingly make many more mistakes, get tagged etc. This is why Pacquiao can sometimes be labelled “wild” as his method of engaging can erupt out of pure creative spontaneity that can impair his opponents beyond repair through peculiar, un-teachable angles (Margarito’s crushed eye bone socket & Cottos horrific beating in front of his crying wife and children) and footwork that permits power punches from un-defendable angles. This is his unparalleled genius. He is unpredictable and impossible to read over a full twelve round battle; at some point he will penetrate every boxers defence and his power will alter their game plans; hence the back-tracking of Clottey, Cotto and Mosley. Just re-watch Bradley cowering in his corner at the end of round 6 whilst being pummeled, when Bradley is usually the one bullying his opponents. Or re-watch the end of round 4 where Manny distorted Bradley with eighteen power punches in thirteen seconds within a 360 degree circumference, destroying Bradley’s balance and allegedly spraining his ankle.
When Mayweather fought Marquez; you are literally dealing with counter-puncher vs counter puncher. A situation where the younger, more elusive, slippery and faster counter-puncher in theory should dominate the slower, more methodical counter-puncher. Hence Mayweathers shut out. Both Mayweather and Marquez are pure counter-punches…but most crucially; they are poles apart in the way they go about counter-punching. Marquez can throw three or four punch powerful combinations in rhythm against his opponent. He can combine two uppercuts with overhead left and right hands leads, whilst maintaining a core centre of balance and not overstretching himself, after making his opponent reach. When looking at Hatton vs Pacquiao for example, you are dealing with aggressive offence vs aggressive offense. Just as Hatton is a belligerent “force the action” type boxer…so is Manny. Therefore, in theory the quicker more powerful, multi-angled antagonistic warrior out the two should dominate the other, hence Mannys destruction of Hatton. It really is as simple as that. Now, the interesting match ups are where the aggressor and counter puncher meet. Hatton was actually up on HBO scorecards before Mayweather knocked him out in the later rounds whereby Marquez vs Pacquiao have always been close fights. So the ridiculous argument that Mayweather dominated Marquez and look at how Manny always has problems with Marquez can never wash. If Floyd struggled with one-dimensional Hatton for 10 rounds and Manny knocked Hatton down three times and TKO’d in two rounds…does that mean Floyd stands little chance with Manny? No. The problem Manny has with Marquez is simple; Marquez can fight back with three or even four punch power combinations that Manny is throwing in the same instant.
Manny’s similar style of three and four punch combinations meshes quite beautifully for Marquez. If Marquez was a more offensive fighter in footwork, pressing the action against Manny…it would be an “all out war”. Marquez though is just willing to trade to get him out of situations but then too many times back-tracks, protecting himself and patiently waiting for another opening. Mayweather on the other hand is more one punch pot-shotting; he cannot naturally throw three and four punch combinations in beautiful motion like Marquez and Manny’s incredible seven and eight punch power combinations. Mayweather prefers to move his body into his opponents after throwing a power punch where elbows and arm grips prevent his opponent from throwing back with counter punches themselves. This is then repeated over and over, round after round with lots of holding, awkward elbows and in effect, stifling the fight. His slickness allows him to frustrate opponents, pick them off and eventually wear them down mentally more than physically. Mayweather frustrates his opponents with a style which is not entertaining to watch but it is effective and is a style that is not particularly unique but can be easily cloned as in the young protégé that is Adrien Broner or Bradley as in the recent Andre Berto showing.
Marquez has a great chin. He can take risks to attack in the protection that he will take a few shots to land his own. Mayweather does not possess a great chin; carefully protected by his strategic defences. But when hit clean…his whole body does not react well. This was perfectly illustrated in a thirty eight year old gassed Mosley rocking Floyd to his core with one big right hand. For ninety seconds, Floyd’s legs were literally gone from one seemingly not-so powerful shot; no balance, falling onto ropes for leverage and holding on for dear life. Yes, he recovered to dominate but my point is…if you can get to Floyd’s chin, he can crumble in an instant…but getting to him is the hardest. Compare this with Pacquiao who has openly traded shots over ten weight divisions, toe-to-toe and never even hitting the canvas (please spare me the Barrera and Mosley knock downs) since hitting the big time on Americas shores. I’ve yet to see him hold on; legs wobble even when being struck clean with a 16lb weight differential of a Margarito uppercut. To Floyd, Manny must look quite simply as an “animal” in offensive attack, hence the demands, retirements and ridiculous $ 40 million offers for a $ 250 million grossing fight.
This is the key point to Floyd’s reluctance to battle Manny; it is nigh on unfeasible to keep Manny at bay with slick, defensive style, counter “one punch pot shots” rather than Marquez’s counter-punch combinations. To frustrate, torment and land one shot uppercuts or big right hands over and over…Manny would eat this style up. If Mayweather began to throw combinations; you are opening yourself up for powerful counters…it is imperative that your chin can absorb these. Floyd’s in my eyes cannot. This is the cherry picking Floyd gets accused of; anyone with a dangerous threat of “pressure fighting” such as (Manny, Williams and Margarito in his pomp) to the zero record is shunned, avoided or “a convenient retirement” occurs, Anyone that proves to be a threat such as the split decision in the Roach/De La Hoya match is denied a re-match when all the greats from Ray Robinson to Ali vs Frazier to Pacquiao vs Marquez to the 4 kings of the 80’s are not afraid of losing in re-matches. Look at Manny once again taking on the biggest risk fighter available in Marquez?
Let’s be honest…without offensive fighters; the sport of boxing would already be dead. In judging therefore, the emphasis in my view within close fights has to be with the attacker, the one consistently forcing the other fighter back and landing blows. This is boxing, not chess…where the ultimate victory is the knock out, to achieve no come back where judges become immaterial. Not that I cannot appreciate the art-form in counter-punching…but if the majority of fighters thought offensive in skill and technique instead of overly-defensive counter-punching, this sport would be the most popular on earth. It is possible remember to go all out battling in warfare whilst skilfully boxing…just look at Thomas “Hitman” Hearns.
For me as a boxing stalwart of twenty seven years; whoever controls the center of the ring, landing power punches and pressing the action is in my eyes dominating the fight or should I say they should immediately be the one that has to be dethroned. He is the one who should always get the benefit of the doubt in fights (in my opinion). If the opponent wants center of the ring then force and skill will have to be used to take charge of the fight. This is Marquez’s problem against Manny…he fights a full twelve rounds on the back-foot with counter-punching combinations. He doesn’t take command of center ring more than anywhere near enough as he does in other fights; he doesn’t force Manny back, he back-peddles continuously..where by Mayweather cleverly can fight on the back foot and also on the front foot dictating the center of the ring; this wins him rounds and gives the impression he is in control whilst elusively avoiding punches on the ropes.
Anyone who watched “On Freddie Roach” will hear about Manny smashing up tables on the night before Marquez 3; divorce rumors, family problems etc. Normally relaxed…he looked furious before the ring walk. On the ring walk; that natural sunny smile was false, before the fight…his eyes looked dead. In the corner between rounds…he looked somewhere else completely, yet I still had him winning the fight by two clear rounds (in his worst performance since being on American soil) at worst because of the previous points brought up along with more landed shots, punches and power punches than Marquez. In their second fight, Marquez landed more power shots but again when Manny is the aggressor, knocking Marquez down and dictating center of the ring is it any wonder he got the split decision? Is it really any wonder?
Talk is cheap but both are talking pressing the action more against each other. Manny even writing “I need a knockout” on a bit of paper. Done for publicity the skeptics might scoff? Marquez finally has gone public and finally realizes he has to do more to win this fight…he is 3-0 down and rightly so. Will he more aggressive; I hope so but doubt it entirely. Will Manny unleash his fighting spirit once more? I have faith he will, after knocking down several sparring partners in training for first time since the Cotto destruction. The thought of Marquez attacking Pacquiao more throughout the fight and Pacquiao having to counter-fight to gain center of the ring…you would have potentially one of the greatest fights in a decade. I doubt that as I believe Marquez will once again retreat, just keeping Manny’s pressure off; at bay and certainly not forcing Manny back to win. Marquez simply cannot take Manny’s power, emphasized by his reluctance to take charge of the center of the ring for any kind of time within the three fights. So I believe it will be 4-0 (judges mistake in the first fight scoring one round 10-7 instead of 10-6) to Emmanuel Dapridan Pacquiao vs Marquez on December 8th. Let the fireworks once again begin; this is boxing at it’s very best.