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Last Night’s Winner: The Sport of Boxing

Manny Pacquiao v Juan Manuel Marquez

By Fox Doucette

There are three professions where being completely, indisputably wrong is a normal course of doing business: weatherman, political commentator, and sportswriter. Unlike the former two professions, where you can ruin someone’s picnic or bring down the entire foundations of democracy if your predictions fail miserably, a sportswriter being dead wrong can be the greatest blessing that the gods can bestow upon mankind. At least that’s what I tell myself after I was completely, utterly, gloriously wrong in my assessment of the quality of the Pacquiao-Marquez thriller.

Now mind you, I called the undercard so well that it was (to steal a line from Australian football commentator Dennis Cometti) centimetre perfect. I said Cruz-Burgos would be an entertaining, competitive scrap; it was that in spades, with Burgos adding a hell of a scalp to his resumé in winning a majority decision over Luis Cruz, who will himself be back to fight another day after taking his first pro loss. I said Breidis Prescott was an overrated fighter who faded in the late rounds in his fights; he got stopped in ten rounds by Mike Alvarado after shooting out all the bullets in the early going. I said Bradley-Casamayor would be embarrassing; the only mistake I may have made would be using a word that was too kind. But getting three predictions out of four right isn’t much comfort when the one missed was the main event.

Anyone who watched the entire card got a treat that should remind us all why we love boxing (as if Angulo-Kirkland hadn’t done so last week.) Those who watched the main event saw Manny Pacquiao look vulnerable and get booed loudly and lustily at the announcement of the decision (your friendly neighborhood commentator had it 115-113 Marquez, but this was far from a robbery—at least two rounds could be argued for Pacquiao, especially if you subscribe to the “you have to beat the champ decisively or you didn’t beat him” school of boxing judging). Pacquiao, for the first time in years, came out of a fight looking like a guy who has something to prove. Which in turn means that we just got a whole lot closer to seeing Pacquiao-Mayweather. Manny Pacquiao now needs Floyd in order to prove that he can legitimately beat a strong counter-puncher (his three fights against Marquez, all of them close and all of them arguably wins for the Mexican, raise a doubt in the discussion of Pac among the all-time greats.)

Meanwhile, boxing even won the day against MMA, as the UFC on Fox event was lackluster at best. To quote Bill Simmons: “UFC loses its network virginity to Fox and it’s over in under 90 seconds. Just like real life!” When a boxing match is over in under two minutes, it’s Ishida-Kirkland or Tyson-Spinks, a wham-bam thank-you-ma’am that delivers maximum satisfaction in minimum time. When an MMA match is over in two minutes, Dana White’s smoking a cigarette and his disappointed lover is reaching for her battery-operated boyfriend and wondering what the hell just happened.

Boxing fans believe that boxing at its worst is better than MMA at its best, but tonight nobody was arguing that the best of MMA or the worst of boxing was on display; quite the opposite. When you compare three great fights (Cruz-Burgos, Alvarado-Prescott, and the main event) and an excuse to make more nachos (Bradley-Casamayor) against a 90-second turn-off-the-casuals UFC disaster, boxing won the day big time.

A common refrain among mainstream and independent boxing media alike is that the sky is falling. We’re like pre-2004 (or post-2011) Red Sox fans, always convinced that the worst is about to happen and that one false move or bad fight card will be the death of our sport. If that were the case, “Pacquiao” and “Marquez” wouldn’t be trending topics on Twitter, ESPN.com wouldn’t have put the live chat of the fight coverage on its front page, Dan Rafael would be making minimum wage to work at McDonald’s while he kept a no-money blog in his spare time, and Max Kellerman would be holding up a “Will Work for Food” sign after the Hopkins-Dawson fight.

We get to spend the next six months having serious debates and fanboy arguments about Pacquiao-Mayweather. We get to spend the next news cycle listening to SportsCenter have a real discussion about Pacquiao-Marquez. Bob Arum gets to count his money and actually be able to look himself in the mirror and say that Top Rank earned the bucks this time. Floyd Mayweather gets to thump his chest and trash talk and give sound bites and great quotes. And a certain boxing writer gets to sit here with egg on his face and think it’s the most delicious omelette he’s ever eaten. Sometimes I love being wrong.

Nice work, Sweet Science. Rumors of your death are greatly exaggerated.

Fox Doucette covers Friday Night Fights for The Boxing Tribune. His weekly column, The Southpaw, appears on Thursdays. He’s not saying boxing is better than sex, but he’s not denying it, either. Fan mail, hate mail, and “I told you so” from Pacland can be sent to beatcap@gmail.com.


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Originally from Wakefield, Massachusetts, Fox Doucette grew up in the 1980s watching Mike Tyson in his prime. A regular at the ESPN Friday Night Fights Facebook page, Fox is known there for providing insightful, funny running comments during the fights, and was mentioned by Brian Kenny on the broadcast of the Erislandy Lara-Carlos Molina fight. Fox lives in Seattle where he tries to balance sportswriting and accounting without dropping all the plates on his head.

9 Comments

  1. Ethan Rhodes

    November 13, 2011 at 5:10 am

    Put the blame on Nacho. He made Marquez believed that they are winning so Marquez went conservative in the later rounds thinking that indeed they were ahead on points. Compubox has Manny ahead and numbers don’t lie.
    Boos are normal reaction in a place filled with 85% uneducated mexicans that does not know how to accept defeat.

  2. danny

    November 13, 2011 at 5:41 am

    I scored it 115 – 113 for Manny (each round 10 – 9 for whoever took that round, as there was no domination nor knockdown). I was worried that a draw could result if Marquez took the last round (when is was 6 – 5 for Manny in my score card), but it was too late in the round when Marquez tried to deliver several punches and failed to land any while Manny had delivered one clear punch to take that round. So, my final tally was 7 – 5 rounds for Manny.

    Beristein was already trying to wrongly form the arena viewers’ opinion when he kept on telling Marquez that he was leading in the score cards; it backfired on them in that Marquez felt he just need to protect his lead and therefore did not launch sufficient attack until it was too late, which Manny adeptly parried.

    None of the judges saw Marquez winning; a draw was the best that Hoyle could give Marquez. The compubox, which, unlike the viewers and judges, has no feeling and is therefore unbiased, shows Manny winning in every department.

    There was simply too much expected of Manny to achieve in this fight that others felt he did not do enough or was even the loser. I believe that he did what he could do under the circumstance, and that could also be said of Marquez having respect for each other’s destructive capability. Had Marquez chosen to get into a toe-to-toe fight and was not content with counter-punching most of the time, he could have exposed himself to Manny’s counter-punching and got knocked out.

    Manny is the factual winner!

  3. wasted

    November 13, 2011 at 5:42 am

    Marquez wasted my time and effort with the hype that he would come to fight. You should retire because you are boring and same goes to you Floyd. Mikey Alvarado should fight Pacman next… that’s how a boxer should be… what a waste…tsk tsk

  4. Prax

    November 13, 2011 at 6:06 am

    Thw problem is with the people who exaggerate expectations. If you people really knows about boxing you cannot say Marquez is an easy opponent. Marquez is one of the best in boxing. Manny did not knock Marquez out but it doesn’t mean marquez won! Marquez fought the Pacman where he is in his best style but still Manny can handle that most difficult style and won clearly. The score is correct. Manny is really the best boxer all over the world.

  5. Adriantor DelCorro Tero

    November 13, 2011 at 6:35 am

    I agree with this opinion…. First off, shame on those filipinos who bashed their countryman Pacquiao for not winning as expected. Their expections have only worked against them. When Marquez said the people were the real judge and they thought he had won, he forgot half the audience were his Mexican fans and they were the ones who booed and got unruly, and Marquez took it as the entire crowd in the house, just like he perceived in the first 2 fights with Pacquiao. Close fights happen, like shit happens, that’s why there are qualified, experienced judges. A certain doctor maintained he wasnt at fault that a famous pop star died. But as always it’s the court and the judge who have had the final say. And tonight even the Compubox stats agreed with these judges. People see what they want to see and with a fight as close as the one that just concluded, thia principle couldn’t be more evident. For those who got disappointed, you’re the victims of your own high expectations.

  6. John Puzon

    November 13, 2011 at 8:18 am

    A lot of people probably took on the 10-1 betting odds. They came close to winning but got disappointed in the end. I understand their frustrations.

  7. Rob

    November 14, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Hey Fox, Why was the knockout witnessed by over 5 million people on FOX less satisfying than a quick KO in boxing? Also, you’re comparing apples and oranges here. Yes, I will admit it was a little disappointing that the fight ended so quickly, but really only because it was the only fight aired and there was such a build up to it. Otherwise, nice KO by Dos Santos who fought with a torn meniscus BTW. Of course boxing is going to win the day against MMA when we’re talking about a Pacman or Mayweather PPV. All that said it was a good fight and I personally thought Marquez once again got screwed, but what do I know I’m just an MMA “fanboy”.

  8. splong klong

    November 17, 2011 at 12:11 am

    the sport of boxing: now, it is starting to unravel how MARQUEZ was able to connect some of his counter punches by intentionally stepping on PACQUIAO’s foot. not 1 or 2 or 3x but 7x. is it really part of boxing when a south paw is against an orthodox? then how come PACQUIAO had never stepped on MARQUEZ’foot. not even once. so that was how MARQUEZ pinned down his shots so PACQUIAO won’t move…duh

  9. Paul Magno

    November 17, 2011 at 12:36 am

    Anyone familiar with the sport knows that stepping on feet is par for the course in lefty vs. right fights…Here’s a video showing Pacquiao also stepping on Marquez’s feet:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gB6gEExQrqA

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