MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/13 November) – Did Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao let his fans down in his third fight against Mexican legend and three-time world champion Juan Manuel Marquez? This question may linger in the minds of many people since the bout went the distance, Pacquiao wasn’t as aggressive, and Marquez never went down the canvas unlike in their first fight years ago.
Indeed, it was a different Manny that stepped inside the ring today. His moves were overly cautious, reluctant to unleash a flurry of punches for the most part, a marked departure from his usual fighting style that has endeared him to boxing fans worldwide. From the first round to the middle of the 12-round encounter Marquez had the upper hand in terms of points owing to Manny’s reluctance to slug it out and failure to connect more solid punches.
Manny only unleashed some real power starting from the eighth round to the twelfth, enabling him to offset his opponent’s early margin. Still, the aggressiveness he showed late in the fight was a far cry from the Pacman we usually saw inside the ring. In fact, even with eyes closed one could sense that the fight wasn’t as thrilling as expected. The raucous cheers and shouts for blood could not be heard from the full-house crowd inside MGM Grand. Why, that undercard bout between Burgos and Cruz (I didn’t get their first names) even proved more exciting.
If I were one of the judges, I would have scored a draw like one judge did.
Unfortunately for Marquez, he was the challenger. And, as an unwritten rule of boxing says, the challenger must display more aggressiveness. This he failed to do when he chose to stick to his technical way of fighting. Although he ruled the first few rounds, it wasn’t enough to convince the judges that he deserved the crown.
Yet, Pacman’s less than impressive win over Marquez may prove to be a blessing in disguise. I’m sure Floyd Mayweather Jr. watched the bout intently, and it may encourage him to finally agree to a fight with Manny. Personally, I wish the fight would materialize to teach Floyd Jr. and his big-mouthed father the lesson that boxing isn’t a talk show.
Now back to the question: Was Manny a big letdown today?
As for me, it all boils to expectations. If we expected to see a brawl, then Manny – and Marquez – failed to deliver. But if we simply wanted our boxing hero to come out safe and victorious, either by decision or knockout – then let’s drink to it.
A win is a win is a win. At least, it wasn’t a split decision which would have sparked a greater controversy than that majority decision did. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. H. Marcos C. Mordeno can be reached at [email protected])