Pacquiao-Marquez: (2) Marquez - (2) Pts. = (2) Losses

Pacquiao-MarquezBy Paul Strauss, photo by Naoki Fukuda: If you prefer, we could change the equation to two knock-downs = two losses, because that seems to be the difference between winning and losing for these two brothers. With Juan it happened in the third round, after he seemed to be having things his way. For his brother, it was the twelfth. Something else common to these siblings is the toughness of their opponents. Vasquez and Pacquiao have to be two of the toughest customers around in any weight class.

After last nights fight, Juan Marquez said he thought he won the fight, because, "I know I hurt him three, four, maybe five times". Well, if he did, it wasn't for very long. Manny was probably hurt worst by a punch that landed squarely on the right eye. It definitely bothered Manny, which he confirmed during the post fight interview..

However, the difference in the fight seemed to be what Emanuel Steward referred to in the trade as "heavy hands". Manny has that ability to knock his opponent silly without even landing square. He gets hit on the chin, and manages to hit his opponent with a glancing blow, but who is hurt worse? It's usually his opponent. What a great gift to have, the knowledge that you can not only hurt your opponent, but take him out at any time with one punch.

That ability seems to also provide Manny with the confidence to relax in the ring, as he did last night. He remained strong throughout the contest, and was able to keep his knockout punch to the end.

Marquez contributed to the thrilling fight with his big heart and his cleverness. He landed a variety of punches on Manny. First he was able to land a surprisingly long left hook. Then he effectively used the lead right, just as he had in the first fight. Finally, he mixed in some uppercuts for good measure.

However, Manny is a more complete fighter now. His defense has improved, not that his strong chin needs much defense. His speed and ability to change the angle of his punches is uncanny. Marquez seemed confident several times in that he had his own guard properly in place, only to have Manny's punches get inside, or come around the side.

Manny's so fast that he can almost lull his opponents into a false sense of security, giving them a feeling that their out of range, only to have him spring on to them like a cat. He throws two, three or more hard punches almost at a run. If they are still standing after the assault, they usually have an expression on their face that says, "Where the hell did that come from!"

I've heard Emanual Steward comment more than once about Manny's poor balance, and that he's often out of position, but I'm not so sure. He seems to be pretty adept at what Jack Dempsey used to call his "double shift". With Manny it comes from the opposite side. First he throws the right jab, then a long straight left, with his left leg following, which makes it seem like he extended himself too far, and is out of position. However, another straight right is following up fast, which comes from the orthodox position. He does it in a blur, seemingly to run at his opponent, and to them it probably feels that way too.

It sounds like there won't be a third fight between these warriors, because Manny wants to move up in weight. What a shame! Maybe Marquez and Diaz can battle it out, and let Manny pursue a new list of opponents to beat on. If Manny can stay focused, and not be distracted by his celebrity, and other ventures, then there probably are more titles coming his way. I think Juan and his little brother will do fine as well.

I know I'll sure be tuning in any time they're fighting.

Article posted on 17.03.2008

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