It is exactly one week later and fight fans worldwide are still having trouble trying to come to grips with the shocking knockout loss suffered by Manny Pacquiao at the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez aka “El Dinamita,” last week in Las Vegas, Nevada at the MGM Grand. The Nevada State Athletic Commission has announced that both Marquez and Pacquiao passed their mandated post fight drug tests with flying colors. This means that Marquez’s brutal sixth round kayo of Pacquiao can now officially enter the record books as a legitimate victory.
One great thing about the record books of course, is that they thankfully only record the outcome of a boxing match and not all of the crazy rumors and gossip that often surrounds such high profile fights. Pacquiao-Marquez IV was a very high profile fight indeed and unfortunately, a lot of unsubstantiated rumors and gossip made its way into newspapers and boxing magazines, and onto websites, radio and television stations worldwide. The sporting public has been inundated with so many sports scandals in the past decade that they are now no longer willing to believe that any athlete is capable of competing successfully in any sport, without the aid of either PED’s or steroids.
Four of boxing’s most high profile fighters, Pacquiao, Marquez, Floyd “Moneyman” Mayweather Jr. and Miguel Cotto have never tested positive for any banned substances during their respective and high profile amateur and professional boxing careers. It is true that when a single boxer tests positive for a banned substance, such as Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., James “Lights Out” Toney or Shane Mosley, that it unfairly tarnishes the reputation of all the other boxers in the sport who compete regularly and successfully without the aid of steroids or PED’s.
Admittedly, it is very difficult to squelch the rumors of increasing PED use in boxing when such a famous world champion and future Hall of Famer as Marquez employs an admitted PED and steroid peddler as Angel “Memo” Hernandez (or Hereidia) as his strength and conditioning coach. Hernandez admitted under oath to giving steroids to Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery.
It seems though, in the case of Marquez, that common sense would dictate that if a boxer has never tested positive for either steroids or PED’s even once before in his career, that perhaps it is time for the media and the fans to do the right thing and give him the benefit of the doubt. However, almost the reverse is true. Even after the NSAC stated unequivocally that both Pacquiao and Maruqez tested negative for drug use, rumors still abound unabated that the exact opposite is true concerning Marquez.
It seems that in light of the fact that almost all of these patently untrue and utterly insipid and false accusations regarding Marquez happened after the fight, that not only did his counter right hand knock out Pacquiao but it also seems to have knocked common sense out of the minds of many media members and fans who actually witnessed the fight.
Why have so many of these bizarre claims regarding possible drug use by Marquez occurred after the fight? The answer is obvious to fight fans. Those members of the boxing media that claim Marquez had bulked up with PED’s also claimed prior to the fight that Pacquiao would probably beat, batter and finish Marquez in 5 or 6 rounds. When the fight ended so abruptly and in such shocking fashion in favor of Marquez, these same writers needed an excuse to explain why their predictions were so way off the mark.
To admit that Marquez worked very, very hard in training camp to achieve this outcome would also be admitting that their preflight predictions of an easy Pacquiao victory were wrong. That is why this past week, boxing writers and fight fans have wasted a lot of time furiously manufacturing crazy plots and insulting excuses to try and explain how Marquez was able to knock out Pacquiao. The credibility of these scurrilous excuses has continued to wane as the week has progressed. Fight fans and boxing writers some times have trouble accepting the obvious. In the case of the fourth meeting between these two adversaries, what we witnessed with our own eyes is actually what really happened. Pacquiao hurt Marquez and when he moved in to apply the coup de grace, he got careless and got caught by a stunning counter right hand, which ended his night early. As a southpaw, Pacquiao should have had his left hand up high, protecting his head against Marquez’s right hand. Instead, he got over anxious and his left hand was down by his chest, leaving his head completely exposed. He walked straight into Marquez’s counter right. This happens every week in boxing. What made this particular outcome so surprising is because Pacquiao has not lost via KO in 13 years.
Why it happened is a different story. Marquez believes that he won all three previous fights with Pacquiao. Marquez firmly believes, and has stated on many occasions that the judges in each of those three fights knew he won but did not give him the victory because they were paid to score the fights in favor of Pacquiao. Marquez’s claims of such overt malfeasance are absurd and without any basis in fact.
Going into their fourth bout together, there were many boxing people who thought that a Marquez victory via decision was a distinct possibility. Why? Well, after Manny soundly thrashed Timothy Bradley and then came out on the short end of a bad decision, any outcome in Marquez’s favor seemed a distinct possibility. Marquez did not believe that line of reasoning at all. He was convinced as was his trainer Berenstain that his only avenue to victory over Pacquiao was via the knockout route.
However, even during the never ending preflight hype that led up to their now epic fourth battle, including a frank discussion on all possible outcomes for their fourth bout, no one in the boxing firmament thought a Marquez victory via a one punch kayo was even a remote possibility.
Is the fact that even the most veteran of boxing experts never discussed the odds of a Marquez victory by KO the reason why so many fans have had trouble coming to grips with the outcome of last week’s fight? Maybe. Or was it perhaps the shocking suddenness with which the fight ended that left many fight people shaking in their seats, as if they had just witnessed a long dead relative waving to them from across the bar?
For whatever reason, fight fans the world over were quite unnerved with the brutal and abrupt manner by which the fight ended. It was almost as if both the fans and Pacquiao were caught off guard by that sudden, savage counter right hand of Marquez. Pacquiao had won so often over the last 13 years that boxing fans came to accept a Pacquiao victory in a prizefight as simply a matter of fact. Even when Bradley was incorrectly awarded an absurd decision over him, fight fans and media all agreed that Pacquiao actually had won the fight by a wide margin. Pacquiao was very gracious in defeat that, even though he knew he had won the fight.
Perhaps even more shocking than Marquez’s one punch destruction of Pacquiao then is the inability of fight fans and boxing officials across the globe to come to terms with it. Fight fans and boxing officials simply seem unable to process the fact that Marquez knocked out Pacquiao. Why has Pacquiao’s dramatic defeat been so difficult to accept? This is, after all, professional boxing, and fight fans have seen many great fighters suffer knockout defeats many times. It is part and parcel of the sport. In fact, the allure of a possible knockout has always been pugilism’s biggest attraction for both fans and media. Boxing’s knockout artists have always been the biggest draws and the most well paid fighters in the sport, going all the way back to Jack Dempsey in the 1920’s.
There really seems to be no genuine reason for the current inability of boxing fans that witnessed the fourth Pacquiao-Marquez slugfest to come to grips with the way in which it ended. In fact, it stands to reason that the exact opposite reaction to Pacquiao’s defeat by kayo should rule the day. Fans should have expected this to happen because for the last three years, there have been countless articles in Ring Magazine and on various boxing websites predicting his downfall because, in their collective opinions, his skills have eroded tremendously since he knocked out Miguel Cotto at the MGM Grand in 2009.
Pacquiao has not scored a single knockout in the three years since the Cotto fight. Now that is a bit disingenuous because Pacquiao administered a hellacious beating to Antonio Margarito. Manny won that fight by a very wide unanimous decision although it should have been stopped anytime after round eight. Pacquiao thoroughly dominated Margarito, Shane Mosley, Joshua Clottey and Timothy Bradley in that time. All of those vanquished opponents have enough of the requisite bruises and broken bones to testify under oath that Pacquiao hasn’t lost a step, and, most certainly has retained his much vaunted punching power.
Many boxing scribes and their readers have come up with a myriad of ridiculous explanations in the hope of trying to explain both Pacquiao’s loss and Marquez’s sudden power surge. In reality they are looking for something that isn’t really there. The result of the fourth Pacquiao-Marquez tete-a-tete is easy to explain. One great fighter beat another great fighter. In boxing, this happens all of the time. The only irony regarding Pacquiao-Marquez 4 is that Marquez was hurt and bleeding heavily from a broken nose. Pacquiao was moving in to finish him off before round six ended. He rushed in with his hands down and got caught with a thunderous right hand by one of boxing’s all-time greatest counter punchers.
This silly excuse that Marquez stepped on his Pacquiao’s foot on purpose to hold him in place is laughable. Pacquiao is a southpaw, which means that he is left-handed. Marquez is an orthodox fighter, meaning simply that he is right-handed. When orthodox fighters face southpaws it is very common for them to step on each other’s feet hundreds of times during the course of a fight.
Another issue that merits attention is that there were reports from Marquez’s training camp that he was knocking out his sparring partners on a daily basis. It is hard to believe that almost no one picked up on these reports. Essentially, these reports were telling us something truly incredible about this all-time great boxer. Marquez, at an age when most other fighters are retired, had drastically changed the focus of his training methods as well as his boxing style in order to improve his chances of success. That requires extraordinary intelligence and concentration. Marquez was gunning for knockouts every day in camp because he believed that was his only chance of achieving a victory against Pacquiao. To accuse him of using PED’s and deliberately trying to step on Manny’s foot is to deny him the credit he so richly deserves for being an all-time boxing great. Marquez now must go down in history, along with Pacquiao as one of the greatest fighters ever to have stepped into the squared circle.
There were no PED’s involved. There was no deliberate foot stomping involved. One great fighter and future hall of famer defeated another great fighter and future hall of famer and that is what the sport of boxing is all about.