3 More Rounds

Bank or Bust: Pacquiao-Marquez IV Edition

20121214-141611.jpgWe witnessed a historic event, last Saturday night when Juan Manuel Marquez finally got a win over Manny Pacquiao; in shocking fashion no less.

When Marquez put Pacquiao down for the count, it was a scene many of us (or most) never thought we’d see.  With a few days having gone by to digest the result, we ask Joe and Ali to share some thoughts on a handful of topics related to the fight for this week’s Bank or Bust.

1. Marquez’ knockout of Pacquiao is the most shocking KO you’ve ever seen.

Joe Roche: BANK. How often do you see an all-time great get knocked cold? Add that into the fact that up until the knockout Marquez had not shown any ability to actually KO Pacquiao – hell the only other time Pacquiao had been off his feet in the series was during the same fight, and that knockdown seemed like a flash that Pacquiao was able to shake off pretty quickly.Marquez hasn’t KO’d an opponent since 2006 (Jimrex Jaca) and that was about 40 pounds ago (not counting TKOs).

Ali Shakoor: BANK. Yes, it is absolutely the most shocking KO that I’ve ever witnessed. It was one of the great and memorable Holy S*** moments in the history of sports. Considering the stakes, the fighters involved, and the juncture of the fight, it was simply an amazing jaw-dropping experience that I’m calling the greatest KO in boxing history. The KO created such a mixture of confusion and amazement. As Rafe Bartholomew from Grantland.com brilliantly put it:

“There were 10 seconds left in Round 6, and after a brief and wild counter flurry from Marquez, Manny chased him toward the corner, where he could perhaps sneak in one last blow before the bell. Manny had his back to press row. I saw him lunge forward with one more straight left, and then it looked like he fell through a trap door.”

That is a perfect description. Marquez simply erased Pacquiao in historically memorable fashion.  I’ll never forget it.

2. You were convinced that the fight would again provide another close decision.

Joe Roche: BUST. If you asked me with 5 seconds to go in the 6th round I would’ve told you I thought Pacquiao was going to cruise. The previous three fights felt like Marquez dictated the pace and the action, he adapted, changed and directed the flow of the fight. In this fight it felt like Pacquiao was one step ahead of Marquez for much of the first five 3/4 rounds. I actually thought Pacquiao might be able to pull away late in this fight had he stayed on his feet — that obviously didn’t happen.

Ali Shakoor: BUST. I really thought that Manny would win convincingly this time around.  This was my last prediction before the fight:

“I look at history and can’t think of a 39 year old smallish fighter, with almost 20 years of professional experience, beating one of the top 3 P4P fighters in the world. Manny has slipped for sure, but his speed and power are still far above average. JMM has to show up old at some point, right? Maybe it’s now. JMM has been a pro since 1993 and has been in countless wars. I expect a great fight for the most part, but I see Pac being the fresher fighter down the stretch for a clear victory or late stoppage.”

As round 6 was coming to a close, I felt confident that my prediction would come to pass. Then Manny went to sleep in brutal and frightening fashion.

Photo by Gene Blevins/Hoganphotos

Photo by Gene Blevins/Hoganphotos

3. This KO loss effectively kills any chance that was left of a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight.

Joe Roche: BANK. There is absolutely no reason for Floyd to fight Pacquiao now. If Floyd fights Manny now and wins, nobody will care because Pacquiao is 0-2 in his last two fights, and a lot of people think he lost the third Marquez fight as well. If Floyd fights Manny and loses – it’s devastating to Floyd. The benefits do not outweigh the positives for Floyd, that fight won’t happen.

Ali Shakoor: BUST. It kills any chance of this fight mattering, as far as any type of historical or P4P significance is concerned. That’s a dead issue, and it’s a damn shame. However, considering their collective histories, and often turbulent personal lives that will always require a need for an influx of cash, it’s highly plausible that a washed-up Floyd and Manny will try to cash in sometime within the next five years.

4. Juan Manuel Marquez has earned his spot among the top 5 Mexican fighters of all-time.

Joe Roche: BANK. Because of his style he’ll never be Julio Cesar Chavez, and people will never think of him like that, but you can’t argue with the results. The man has fought, and beaten essentially every other “great” fighter of his generation but one (Floyd). He fought 4 incredibly close fights against the man considered the best fighter of his generation, and arguably he won each of those fights. Sure he will never carry the banner for “blood and guts” Mexican warriors but Juan Manuel Marquez is hands down one of the greatest Mexican fighters, and one of the greatest fighters period of all time.

Ali Shakoor: BANK, BANK, BANK! Marquez is clearly the best Mexican fighter of his era, and deserves to be placed higher than his historically great colleagues Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera. His resume speaks for itself, and his longevity with elite ability is unprecedented for his weight range. Marquez is clearly the greatest Mexican fighter since Chavez, and he can reasonably place his name in the discussionas the greatest of them all.

5. It will be important to Manny’s legacy to come back, regardless of opponent and notch a win.

Joe Roche: BANK. Manny Pacquiao is an all-time great, he may not have any top flight bouts left in the tank but the fighter in him will refuse to allow his lasting image be him out cold on the canvas in Las Vegas. Manny should be forewarned though — Ricky Hatton didn’t want his lasting image to be that picture either and he came back — didn’t work. Getting knocked out cold does a lot to a fighter, and there are guys out there who would be interesting match ups — Andre Berto/Manny Pacquiao to name one, and there will be a ton of talk about Pacquiao/Marquez 5, but I’d rather see Manny fight one more time, notch a win, and ride off into the sunset — though I think we may be setting ourselves up for Manny Pacquiao, super middleweight title contender in 2014.

Ali Shakoor: BANK. Pac’s legacy clearly takes a hit. His greatness and accomplishments are indisputable, but this KO hurts his historical rankings. Other historically great fighters who have been KTFO close to or within 3 years of their prime include: Roy Jones Jr. (KO’d by Tarver), Lennox Lewis (KO’d by Rahman), and Roberto Duran (KO’d by Hearns).

I have no idea if Pac will ever be the same. He could go on physically diminished like Roy Jones Jr and further hurt his legacy, or he could return like Lennox Lewis to bounce back to rehabilitate and cement his status in emphatic fashion. I think that he’ll likely come back like Duran, clearly past his prime, and not relevant to current P4P rankings, but with enough skills and power to win some big fights if matched carefully.  We’ll have to wait and see.  However, I think that it is important for Manny to carefully take a serious look at what he has left.

6. If you were in his camp, you’d advise Pacquiao to hang ‘em up.

Photo: Chris Farina / Top Rank

Photo: Chris Farina / Top Rank

Joe Roche: BUST. Why? Manny could fight in General Santos City at 175 pounds against a high school janitor and draw 20,000 people. He’s 33 years old, he walked into a perfect counter punch from one of histories best counter punchers and a man who had basically spent the better part of a year planning specifically for that moment. Pacquiao didn’t get knocked out by an inferior fighter, he got knocked out by his all-time rival, his doppelganger — it was a brutal knockout no question, but it was a fair knockout to a worthy opponent. If Pacquiao comes back and gets KO’d by Issac Hlathswayo then yeah, he should hang em up but for now I still think he’s got tread on those tires and he should keep fighting.

Ali Shakoor: BUST. This is clearly conditional on Manny’s recovery process and a fair assessment of his skill level and overall health. Otherwise, refer to my response in number 5.

7. Bonus: Share your thoughts on what transpired between Marquez and Pacquiao.

Joe Roche: Stunning. Personally I was rooting for Marquez. I thought he got a raw deal in November 2011, I thought if Pacquiao/Marquez 1 had started in the second round he wouldn’ve won that fight. I thought those two fighters were so equal, so complimentary that it would’ve been a shame to see Pacquiao win every meeting. One of those things where you’re afraid Marquez might never get over not being able to beat Manny. I thought it was a testament to Marquez and Nacho for putting together that game plan, I thought it was a heck of a fight even before the knockout — but I’m still shocked it happened. You don’t see guys at the top level get knocked out cold very often, and you almost never see all-time greats get knocked out cold. Manny Pacquiao was out cold. When Froch knocked Jermaine Taylor out cold it was shocking — and Jermaine Taylor wasn’t Manny Pacquiao.

Overall though I was happy for Marquez, he got a monkey off his back, he got a win over his nemesis and who knows — maybe next year we’ll see Pacquiao/Marquez 5, after what I saw last weekend I know I’ll be watching it, even if the undercard puts me to sleep and I have to watch the fight on replay at 3 am…thanks a lot of 50 Cent.

Ali Shakoor: I hope Marquez is clean. Every reputable boxing writer in print–from Kevin Iole to Kieren Mulvaney–has brought up the “elephant in the room” regarding Marquez’s physique, power, age, and the fact that his strength and conditioning coach is arguably the most notorious PED dealer in recent years. The concerns are legitimate and any efforts by folks to “protect” Marquez, by attacking writers for bringing up these clear and objective concerns, are engaging in nothing but feigned outrage, deflection and willful ignorance.

(Ed. Note: The Nevada State Athletic Commission announced on Friday that the drug and steroid tests for both fighters were negative/clean.)

That being stated, I am going to assume that Marquez is clean, unless proven otherwise.

By the time Pacquiao and Marquez entered the ring on my birthday in the early morning hours of December 9, 2012, I thought I was ready for anything to happen in the ring. We watch boxing card after card, year after year hoping to be entertained with exhibitions of skill and drama.  Sometimes however, and this is something unique to boxing, really transcendent moments can occur that really stirs something inside of the soul.  With the inherent brutality, along with the “uniform” of skin, scars, sweat, blood and facial expressions, boxing allows the fans to identify with the participants more than any other sport.

Boxing is at its best, when it showcases the human drama of the sport. Major pay per view nights that are accompanied by massive hype and celebratory parties, further set the stage for this drama. On this stage, Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao rose to the occasion and created an experience that will never be forgotten.  They showcased the best of what elite level championship boxing has to offer. I’ll never forget the feeling from that night.

I am a lover of historical moments in pop culture that have a special place in my life experience. (like watching Shawshank Redemption for the 1st time in the theater, and seeing that stone pass through Andy Dufresne’s poster on the wall).

I will never forget watching one of the greatest fights in boxing history on my birthday, and leaping to my feet to see how and why Manny Pacquiao “fell through a trap door” while dramatically rallying against his rival, the great Juan Manuel Marquez. It is one of the most memorable moments of my life.  I love boxing.

3 Comments

  1. wbox

    December 15, 2012 at 2:39 am

    Did you believe what you saw? No doubts how Marquez became more powerful than Clottey, Cotto, Mosley, Margarito & ODLH suddenly? Seeing Marquez being congratulated by the Mexican president is sickening.

  2. Joel Bunag

    December 15, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    Well written article…keep up the good work bro.

    • Ramon Aranda

      December 16, 2012 at 2:11 am

      Thanks Joel; enjoy the fights this weekend.

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