by Charles R. Horgan
I will admit that when I first watched Juan Manuel Marquez vs Manny Pacquiao 3, I was pretty drunk and in a restaurant filled with screaming fight fans. Such a place is great for meeting fellow boxing nuts, but horrible for objective scoring. So today, thanks to a bizarre problem with the cable box at work, I got to watch the entire fight in HD with no sound whatsoever.
Hardcore boxing nuts and those of you on our own BTBC fan forum, just stop reading and send me your hate mail now, because I scored it a draw, with a possible sway of 1 point to Manny Pacquiao if I scored round 10 for him instead of for Marquez. Round 10 was the only round, among many incredibly close rounds, that I thought could be scored a draw and wouldn’t feel like a lazy judge.
First off, this was an incredible fight. It seems like it’s been a long time since either fighter has really been challenged (at least if you ignore Mayweather vs. Marquez), and this was easily the most technical, action packed fight I’ve seen all year. I loved it. If Floyd fell off the planet and Marquez and Pacquiao just fought each other twice a year for the next 3 years, well that would be fine, probably. Each fight has been thrilling and close and people can’t shut up about them.
The Boxing Tribune scored the fight 115-113 in favor of Marquez. I can see that, maybe. Some people said 116-112 for Marquez? I don’t see it. I also don’t see the same difference for Pacquiao. This fight was that close.
I was incredibly relieved when I listened to the Body Blow post-fight podcast by D. Andrew when he said that he scored the fight similarly. Without the ability to watch a replay for an entire week, I was stuck looking at our message boards where people were saying that Marquez was robbed and won the fight by 2 or more rounds.
Well that’s crazy.
Marquez looked great. Juan Manuel Marquez is an amazing fighter and an absolutely great Mexican fighter. Marquez was never hurt, he never ran away and he landed some excellent bombs.
But Marquez did not win this fight. The biggest argument I seem to be seeing is that Pacquiao cannot be given the benefit of the doubt for his aggression if it is not effective. I absolutely agree with this. Many of us went into this fight thinking of Marquez vs. Mayweather, and of Pacquiao’s last few fights and we thought that Marquez would get flattened in a whirlwind of punches. This didn’t happen, Marquez boxed smart and he wasn’t overwhelmed. In fact, Marquez stayed in range and kept Pacquiao from making any sustained attacks. The problem is, during these attacks, Pacquiao did land some good shots, even if Marquez kept him off balance and fired back.
Don’t be fooled by compubox. Ever. As stated in the Bodyblow podcast “the stats may not tell the full truth, but they do tell a story” but in my scoring of the replay I threw compubox out. I avoided watching anything else on the screen. I’ve seen the numbers, and I’ll be hard pressed to find 15 real scoring punches landed by either fighter in any round. With the sound off you get stuck relying on what you can see (when Tony Weeks isn’t in front of the camera, that is) and without the sound of smacking leather, what I saw was a lot of shots that landed on elbows, bounced off of gloves and landed just short. While I was impressed on fight night with Marquez’s body attack, I found that lots of what I felt were scoring blows then seemed to land on the elbows now. Furthermore, I saw that Pacquiao frequently landed a straight left to the body, something that I didn’t seem to notice the first time through. What began swaying me in Pacquiao’s favor during many of the rounds was that even though Pacquiao’s aggression had been muted somewhat, he still found success with a fast straight left that he throws like a jab and some lead right hooks.
Marquez did land a lot of nice, clean shots throughout the fight. I’m in love with the extreme slow motion camera and Marquez can really make me clap with sheer joy when he comes out of a flurry with a picture perfect right hand. But to me, one or two eye-catching right hands don’t win the round if the other fighter is sneaking in his own power punches. I scored rounds 2 and 4 for Pacquiao because even though Marquez got the sweet replays, I saw Pacquiao sneak in his straight lefts through the gloves once every 45 seconds or so. In a fight this close, that can make the difference.
Rounds 1, 5 and 6 were the only rounds where I felt there was a clear winner. Round 1 was taken by Marquez because of a solid flurry to Pacquiao’s body and Pacquiao’s inability to land anything meaningful.
Round 5 was a clear Marquez round as Marquez stayed within range and landed on Pacquiao over and over with solid, quality shots even though Pacquiao wasn’t being dominated and landed some of his own.
Round 6 was almost the complete opposite of round 5 as Pacquiao landed the good blows while Marquez only found slight success although he remained competitive.
The only serious damage in the fight was done by an accidental clash of heads that busted Pacquiao’s eyebrow, but aside from that, both men were very good at neutralizing each other’s attacks. Those that say that Pacquiao looked below average forget that below average fighters get knocked out by Marquez. Below average Pacquiao from the first fight gets taught a boxing lesson by Marquez. The fact that Pacquiao didn’t need a knockdown (or three) to eke out a decision says something about his boxing ability, even if he didn’t get the catastrophic knockout or dominating win many experts predicted.
Marquez is awesome, and either he has Pacquiao just about figured out, or he gained some durability with his move up in weight. If we don’t have to wait 4 years for a rematch, Marquez may be able to take this decisively, especially if he mixes some more offense. Some people say that he was always fighting off of the back foot. I didn’t feel like this was true. Going into a Pacquiao fight, you know that Pacquiao is going to come forward. Marquez never retreated. He backed up just enough to keep himself within his most effective punching distance and he did so smartly. Marquez isn’t a runner and he had some wonderful short right hands in the exchanges that gave him rounds 8 and 9 on my card. I simply love to watch him fight.
So there you have it, the most unbiased scoring I can provide without a linear editing system and all the footage from all the angles. And in case you were wondering, here is my card:
Pacquiao: 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 12
Marquez: 1, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11
Rounds 7 and 10 are the rounds that could most likely go either way.
Round 12 was a stinker, but goes to Pacquiao because Marquez inexplicably took his foot off of the gas.
Quick shout out to my mom who I last watched a fight with when we caught Mayweather vs. Marquez in the theater in Bozeman, MT, and to my father who hadn’t seen a live championship fight since he caught Leonard vs Duran 1 on closed circuit. Also a shout out to Oscar in O’ahu who makes good fight-watching company and made up about 25% of the possible Mexicans in the venue.
Speaking of venues, Round Table Pizza in Honolulu, HI, is where I watched the fight. With about 30 projectors blasting this fight onto every available wall and only a 10 dollar cover charge, it was probably one of the better bar/restaurants I’ve been to for fight viewing.
Charlie Horgan is an occasional contributor to TheBoxingTribune.com and derails threads on thebtbc.com message boards with sarcasm and phrase-turning. You can send your hate mail to Charlie.Horgan@gmail.com
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