Analyzing Pacquiao-Marquez IV: The riddle is solved

Carlos Cinco

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What Manny Pacquiao did wrong, why he shouldn't retire yet and why the fourth fight was the most important of all

SINGAPORE – Juan Manuel “Dinamita” Marquez took matters into his own hands, derailed what would have been a masterful performance by Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao, and scored the signature win of his 19-year professional career by achieving the only thing he’s ever really wanted since 2004 – a victory over his arch nemesis.

And Marquez didn’t just beat Pacquiao, he destroyed him with a set of brutal right hands in front of 16,348 fans in attendance, largely pro-Marquez, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday, December 8.

That’s the beauty of this sport, anything can happen. You think you know, but in reality, you have no idea. Experts can throw around predictions all they want, but this is exactly why we fight the fights.

In boxing, one punch can settle the difference between two bitter rivals.

The fall

Many writers picked Marquez to win by decision but I don’t think anyone envisioned an early knockout. It was literally unthinkable. I stuck by a Pacquiao via TKO9 prediction because I thought Pacquiao would be too quick for the slower Marquez – and for the most part, he was.

I predicted Pacquiao to wear Marquez down with his increased aggressiveness and pick Marquez apart late. I thought Pacquiao’s speed would be the difference against the bulkier, more cumbersome Marquez.

Much to Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach’s dismay however, muscles do actually win fights when used correctly, at least in this instance. And despite clocking in at 143 lbs. at the weigh-in, Marquez walked into the ring amidst doping speculations, the strongest and heaviest he’s ever been.

As such, the larger, more powerful Marquez enjoyed extra oomph in his attacks and haphazardly put Pacquiao on his seat like never before.

In the 3rd, Marquez found his mark on Pacquiao’s jaw when he connected with a vicious overhand right. The devastating power shot had Pacquiao flat on his back within seconds and as the Filipino got back to his feet it was clear he was on shaky legs.

No one had ever landed a shot like that on Pacquiao. That 3rd round knockdown was as much of a shock as was the chilling finale.

The merciful end came at 2:59 of Round 6.

Pacquiao lunged in with a telegraphed one-two that Marquez saw coming from a mile away as the Mexican ducked under and countered with a short right, square on the chin. Pacquiao fell face first on the canvas like a sack of potatoes, down and out cold as referee Kenny Bayless waved him off.

The fight that mattered

Marquez put everything he had into that punch. What made it even worse was the fact that Pacquiao carelessly walked right into it.

In turn, Pacquiao was unconscious even before he hit the ground.

“I threw a perfect punch” said a vindicated Marquez at the post-fight presser – and that he did.

Pacquiao surely didn’t expect Marquez to have that kind of one-punch knockout power, and it was his undoing, his first loss by knockout since 1999.

It’s a fitting end to a magnificent series – the counter-puncher with a ‘Hail Mary’ counter-punch to clinch a clear cut conclusion over 41 total rounds of epic warfare.

They may end up fighting 5, 6 maybe 7 times (though there’s no need for it) but no one fight would be more important than the 4th.

They entered the bout and the final installment of their series with one draw and one win apiece in the eyes of many, despite Marquez never officially having notched a victory in their 8-year rivalry.

This fourth fight was the would-be tie breaker.

Dominant Pacquiao

Pacquiao-Marquez IV was a story of riddles solved.

Before the shocker, Pacquiao had control of the tempo for most of the fight and found a home for his straight left hand which repeatedly tagged Marquez.

The bullet-like left cross hurt Marquez in the 5th as the Mexican’s glove touched the ring floor, crediting Pacquiao with the knockdown. Bayless gave Marquez a standing 8-count and Pacquiao quickly pounced on him after.

With a flurry of destructive left hand bombs, Pacquiao bloodied and bruised a bewildered Marquez who suffered a broken nose during the onslaught. The Filipino boxing icon was on his way to dominating the fight.

After 5 Rounds, all three official judges sitting ringside unanimously had Pacquiao up by a point, 47-46, as Pacquiao appeared to be gaining momentum.

Pacquiao, it seemed, had finally solved Marquez’s confusing feints with his increased aggression. As a result, Marquez couldn’t maneuver Pacquiao like he did in the first 3 fights.

It was a joy to watch as Pacquiao finally learned to cut off the ring and wasn’t following Marquez around nearly as much as before.

According to ESPN Stats Info, Pacquiao outlanded Marquez 94-51 in total punches and 68-41 in power punches in the first 6 rounds. 

But Pacquiao wasn’t the only one doing the riddle solving.

Marquez also found the solution to Pacquiao’s double jab – straight and it came in the form of a straight right hand. It was a punch heard around the world.

If their first three fights raised questions, the fourth was all about answers.

Though the debate about who won the first 3 fights will still rage on, there’s no question who won this one – Marquez made sure of that.

Just a bad break

As for Manny Pacquiao, I don’t think he should call it quits just yet.

Pacquiao was turning in perhaps his best performance against Marquez before he got caught with that sick right hand down the pipe.

Pacquiao never allowed Marquez to get off, he landed the more telling blows at a higher frequency and looked to be comfortably in control. He was the better ring general, which was surprising since Marquez owned that department in their previous fights.

Had Pacquiao chosen to play defense instead of lunge in recklessly at the end of that fateful 6th round, he would most likely have gone on to win the fight.

It was just a bad break for Pacquiao and subsequently a great night for Marquez. –

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