It’s been sad looking around the web these past few days following the aftermath of Pacquiao-Marquez III. Seems everyone forgot that just a week ago, Mayweather (through adviser Leonard Ellerbe), officially announced he was looking to make the biggest fight possible on Cinco de Mayo 2012. That should be music to everyone’s ears, however, the news hasn’t been met with a lot of enthusiasm. I guess Juan Manuel Marquez’s spirited performance against the Pound-4-Pound king is to blame. For twelve rounds, Marquez made Manny Pacquiao look human in wide contrast to his recent super-human tear through the Welterweight division.
The rubber match was the most technical of the three fights the two pugilists shared as Marquez seemingly exposed Pacquiao’s difficulty facing defensive styles with a knack for counter-punching. The general consensus around the Boxing community feel that Mayweather, who is leaps and bounds a better technical fighter than Marquez (and that’s saying a lot), and who also coincidentally dominated the Mexican in their 2009 bout would make easy ‘pickins of Pacquiao should the fight ever get made.
Immediately after the fight, the Pacquiao camp were singing songs of a rematch with the Mexico City native to take place in April or June of next year as opposed to a penciled-in May 5 rendezvous with Mayweather. Not exactly the kind of tune everyone wanted to hear. Personally, I would love to see a fourth fight between Pacquiao and Marquez but not right now. If I had it my way, Mayweather would come first followed by Marquez right after.
“What can you say? It’s Marquez’s style. It’s the kind of fight I don’t want to do again, but I think we have to. He has given us problems three times now and he is very good at what he does” said Freddie Roach, as he told media that Marquez deserved a fourth fight against Manny. “Mayweather is a bit of a counter-puncher also. He can give us trouble. We need to learn to deal with these counter-punchers better.”
Did Marquez diminish the luster of a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight? He may have, to an extent. The mystery and intrigue of a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight, poised to be the richest fight in Boxing history, is still there. Though the general public feel that Mayweather would easily dominate Pacquiao based on the Filipino’s poor showing last weekend, there are those who understand that ‘styles make fights’ – that just because Mayweather thoroughly dominated Juan Manuel Marquez whom Pacquiao went life and death with, doesn’t necessarily mean the fight with Pacquiao would be a walk in the park. It’s up to those who understand the science of Boxing to explain to everyone why Pacquiao-Mayweather is a whole ‘nother story.
Last weekend’s confounding result actually made me feel better about Pacquiao’s chances against Mayweather rather than lessen them.
Styles Make Fights, Why Pacquiao-Mayweather Will Be Different
‘Styles make fights’ – an adage as old as Boxing itself. It’s easy to think that both Marquez and Mayweather share similar styles, even going as far as saying that Mayweather is essentially Marquez, only better – which is completely unfair to Marquez and is totally off base. Anyone who’s ever boxed a round in their life knows that comparing one fight with another is like comparing apples to oranges. In 2009, Marquez was completely outclassed by the brash and arrogant Floyd Mayweather Jr. Based on what took place this past weekend, many observers feel that Mayweather-Pacquiao will be a blatant mismatch in favor of the Michigan native.
I beg to differ. I’m of the train of thought that Mayweather would be an easier fight for Pacquiao than Marquez. The only similarity Mayweather and Marquez share is that their styles are both built on a dominant defensive mindset. Other than that, Mayweather and Marquez are completely different fighters.
Think about it.
Mayweather likes to strut his ‘Y’-stance. He thrives on his ability to stay in the pocket in the face of constant pressure. Just take a look at his fight with the Diego Corrales and DeMarcus Corley, both men threw everything but the kitchen sink yet Mayweather was able to effectively block and parry every single shot with his modified Philly Shell and vaunted shoulder roll. Mayweather likes to rely on his cat-like reflexes to slip punches, and it’s worked well so far against slower opponents. He doesn’t throw a lot of combinations, and instead likes to ‘pot-shot’ from a distance, controlling the tempo in the middle of the ring. Mayweather’s best punch is a lead right hand straight down the pipe that’s shot like a bullet (watch the Victor Ortiz fight). When pressured, Mayweather purely plays defense and opts to counter after his opponent’s onslaught. Rarely can you get him to trade punches, it’s just not his thing.
Marquez on the other hand is more of an aggressive defensive fighter. He’s every bit as good of a counter-puncher Mayweather is, in fact even better. The difference with Marquez is, in the face of pressure, he doesn’t resort to just defense alone. Marquez likes to trade shots using tricky combinations that were designed to exploit holes in the offense of an opponent. Such is the case with Manny Pacquiao, who dropped his left hand guard every time he threw his right hook – an opening Marquez took advantage of all night long. Marquez doesn’t just simply counter-punch, he calculates his opponent’s timing and figures out how to disrupt it, hence Pacquiao’s tentativeness to launch his flurries. Hall of Fame trainer Nacho Beristain taught Marquez well, and it has developed him into a perfect compliment to Pacquiao’s frenetic pace. Alas, Marquez’s style is completely dependent on his opponent’s initiative, and this surely seems to be minus points for the judges.
However, in three fights, Marquez showed us the blueprint on how to beat Manny Pacquiao. You’ve got to time your counters to disrupt his rhythm as he darts in. You can’t bow down in a heated exchange, you’ve got to throw unorthodox combinations that take advantage of Pacquiao’s lack of defense when mounting his offense. And lastly, you’ve got to have balls of steel in the face of the Pacmonster. That’s why Marquez has been so successful against Manny, he’s figured out his rhythm and timing and trades shots, oftentimes even getting the better of the exchanges. Also, his Mexican fighting spirit would never have him covering up like a wuss against his firecracker of an adversary.
In order for Mayweather to be successful, he’ll have to experiment exchanging with Manny. If he decides to stick to pure defense, he risks losing by decision as Pacquiao’s workrate could overwhelm him. If and when he decides to trade with Pacquiao, there is a big question mark as to what would be the result.
So no, a fight with Pacquiao will NOT be another day in the office for Floyd.
- Mexican fans completely took Filipino fans out of the fight last Saturday night, if the Filipino contingent egged Manny on during the fight, he’d have maybe gained a second wind which would have allowed him to add more pressure on Marquez. Maybe, just maybe we could have gotten the KO. Instead, it was Marquez getting a jolt of energy from the crowd which amplified his counter-punching success.
- I feel sorry for Richard Schaeffer, he looks more and more like a puppet every single day. Now that talks of a fourth Marquez fight are underway, he’s forced to find a different opponent for Mayweather, and not many candidates fit the bill. Sergio Martinez looms.
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