Pacquiao v Marquez I: Juan Manuel survived catastrophic opener to claim seven rounds and tie one

8 Nov

Alan Dawson – London

On Saturday, May 8, in 2004, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, The Ring magazine titlist at featherweight Manny Pacquiao collided with the incumbent of the WBA/IBF unified championship Juan Manuel Marquez. A 12 round war transpired that highlighted Pacquiao’s desire to press fights and Marquez’s never-say-die attitude, however, the result – a draw – has been debated due to bogus scoring on one of the judges’ cards. Ahead of the third installment of their fight saga, on November 12 at the same venue, On The Beak went back into the vault to break the fight down…

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Even in 2004, boxing icon Pacquiao (38-2-1, 29ko at the time) could draw a huge crowd and, when he made his MGM entrance, an obstreperous reception erupted. The national flag of the Philippines was waved adoringly by fight happy Filipinos who were as confident their charge would swarm his way to supremacy as they are today, in 2011. With his endearing smile – a trademark of his as he embarks on his ring-walk – he fist bumped jubilant supporters who were there to witness the spillage of blood.

While Manny made a prayer in the red corner, Mexican music infiltrated the Arena and a stoic Aztec prizefighter made a contrasting introduction to the one that preceded his. Marquez’s movements were swift and his focus unshakable until he was inside the squared circle. He saluted his fans before settling into the blue corner.

After an exchange of tentative jabs and cross shots in round one, it was Marquez (42-2-0, 33ko at the time) who landed the first meaningful shot as he succeeded with an overhand right that was set-up by a left hook to the midsection. At the beginning of the second minute of the opening stanza, Pacquiao’s high guard thwarted a Juan Manuel flurry but the younger fighter – Manny was 25-years-old at the time – struggled to establish rhythm with a failing southpaw jab as Marquez adopted a wide stance and, when sensing Pacquiao was about to throw the jab, would take a half-step back in anticipation.

This is not to say he was boxing backwards, no… to begin the round he was doing what was necessary to take the meaning out of Pacquiao’s initial intentions as his overall posturing was set up for aggression. This was evidenced by the stiff short-range hook punch that connected so sweetly it pushed Pacquiao back a few paces, however, such a move was one of the worst things Marquez could have done for it woke the beast in Manny and he fired back with the measuring right hand jab and a follow-up straight left punch that put Juan Manuel on his posterior for the first time in the round.

When he beat the count, Pacquiao repeated the move. The fifth left cross he landed after the first knockdown flattened Marquez a second time. When he got to his feet and boxing resumed, the brave boxer refused to engage in survival tactics by clinching and, instead, fought his way out of trouble. Such pluck, though, worked against him as he succumbed to a third canvassing with 42 seconds left remaining on the round clock. Caught up in the adrenaline/excitement, Pacquiao punched Marquez on the side of the jaw when the Mexican was out on his back – an illegal move. Incredibly, Marquez got up by the count of nine and referee Joe Cortez – correctly, using hindsight – allowed him to continue the contest.

Before the round’s end, Marquez dug a right into Pacquiao’s body but he was almost defence-less against Manny’s left hands. To his credit, Marquez managed to hear the bell but returned to his stool with blood gushing out of his blatantly bashed-up and broken nose. Had it not been for Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales’ gutsy third encounter later in the year, in November, then Pacquiao could have won a round of the year due to his viciousness and accuracy with the straight right. Marquez, too, played his part by displaying a warrior’s heart and Herculean cojones.

In round two, Marquez sought to use counter-punching tactics and, when Pacquiao would step forward, he’d unleash a left hook over the top yet, due to Manny’s supreme speed he would manage to get in a couple of shots prior to Juan Manuel’s retaliation. To compound matters for Marquez, he had to think and fight while breathing through his mouth as his nose was a heavy bleeder despite work from the corner during the minute’s break between rounds. Pacquiao dictated the pace and owned the ring as Juan Manuel looked for little escape routes. It was not until the middle of the round when Marquez began to become comfortable in letting his fists go, landing with solid lefts. He also began coming up with answers for Pacquiao’s questioning left cross. Marquez would occasionally be unawares of the lead jab, however, that was a sign for him to raise his right mitt in anticipation and he was able to parry the attached left.

Marquez had found two things by round three: his rhythm, and also his punch resistance. The Mexican’s favoured target was Pacquiao’s midsection as he attempted to sap the relentless puncher of some of his awesome energy. Manny landed a solid left but Marquez was now responding in kind even though he continued to be inhibited by the blood flow from his beak.

In the fourth, Marquez hooped left hooks into Pacquiao’s shimmying frame. The Filipino was constantly on the bounce, if he wasn’t nipping in and out of the pocket he’d edge in gingerly while swaying his upper body from side to side, assessing the openings that made themselves available. Such openings, though, were limited, and when they presented themselves they were traps laid by Juan Manuel who was waiting for Pacquiaio’s left so that he could counter.

The tempo of the fight had slowed in the fifth until it reached it’s midway stage when both pugilists traded power punches. The exchange began when Marquez tagged Pacquiao with a heavy right. Manny responded by twice landing the one-two move that had thrice put Juan Manuel at the quarter to three position in the first round. The ability to one-up Marquez when it came to aggression was a commendable ploy by Pacquiao as, just when Marquez was building momentum, he snatched it back by forcing violence down his opponent’s pipe. However, such success was short-lived as Marquez’s fine flurries in the final minute opened up a cut above the Filipino’s right eye.

In the sixth round, Marquez picked Pacquiao off with punishing body shots. Into the second minute, the Mexican 30-year-old thudded a jaw-thumping right hand sent all the way from down-town and postmarked with bad intentions. Such was the force of the shot, it buckled Pacquiao’s well-muscled legs and it is arguably testament to the Filipino’s chin that he was able to stay at six o’ clock rather than take a count. Macho Manny sent a savage left hook over the top but Marquez was able to duck beneath it. By the fight’s half-time, Marquez’s nose – that had stopped flowing earlier – had begun bleeding again; a result of a Pacman punch, and there was swelling to the side of his left eye, also.

Freddie Roach was so perturbed that Pacquiao was coming off second-best, that he implored his guy to knock Juan Manuel out whilst also stating his dissatisfaction that he was allowing his opponent to get back in the fight. The jousting for the majority of play in the seventh round was fairly even and there was a period of play toward the end where both fighters traded big single-fire shots with their heavier hand.

By the eighth, Pacquiao began employing greater foot movement so that when Marquez incorporated a second shot to his jab, he could evade them both by taking that necessary backward step, however, the sharpening of his defence did not translate to his attack as he was a bit too wild and hopeful instead of measured and thoughtful. Marquez, meanwhile, dispensed a number of tough rights in swift succession – both to the head and to the body. Sensing another round had slipped away from him, Pacquiao lunged forward but, like it had done earlier in the stanza when he attacked wildly, he missed the target.

The beginning of then ninth round was one of frustration – for both fighters – as the primary attack of Pacquiao’s, the jab/left cross combo, together with Marquez’s secondary attack, the one-two-three short-range flurry (his primary was the counter), were all thwarted by the other man’s raised shield. Marquez, though, landed sweetly on the side of Manny’s midsection but absorbed a left hand on his cheek moments later. The pace of the fight was upped in the final minute of the ninth with Pacquiao coming off the better in the more gutsy exchanges.

Juan Manuel nailed Manny with a straight right whilst Pacquiao was walking forward in the tenth. Pacquiao then connected with a left hand over the top and, this time, it was Marquez to be (uncharacteristically) sloppy with his own punch output as an overhand right was wild. In the second minute, Pacquiao was boxing and moving in circles around his man although, instead of popping the jab out he’d send straight right and lefts toward Marquez. Moments later, Juan Manuel went on a rampage but, despite inspiring cheers from his fans, the vast majority of the shots he threw did not hit Pacquiao cleanly as he diverted them away with his guard. Manny then systematically pushed Marquez back by boxing aggressively on the front-foot and applying the reliable and crisp left cross.

In the penultimate round, Pacquiao added a further footnote to any essay assessing the boxer’s assets as his punch resistance was tested again when Marquez darted a right cross onto the target. Pacquiao’s shield blocked a number of the incoming shots, in particular the one-two-three combo but Marquez sneaked thudding jabs through when Pacquiao pressed forth.

Considering the expenditure of energy from both men in the previous 11 rounds, to even get to the 12th and continue to throw fists was an incredible display of physical endurance. For Marquez, it was arguably an even greater performance due to looking down and out as early as round one, only to establish an undoubted authority with his jab and counter-punch ability for the rest of the bout. It was that jab, and the variety of it: whether he’d paw away with the left hand in order to a: keep Pacquiao on the outside and b: measure distance, or whether he’d send the shot in with more force in order to secure a scoring punch, that established Marquez as the winner of the final stanza.

Both warriors celebrated by the fight’s conclusion and rightfully so as, regardless of claims Pacquiao should have emerged triumphant had it not been for one bogus 10-7 score on judge Burt Clements’ card, the correct result was made. In Marquez’s mind, he had won the fight as he took the majority of rounds but the 10-must system ranks points, on which they were level.

Dawson’s scorecard

Round 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Pacquiao 10 10
9 9 9 9 10 9 10 10
9 9
6 9 10
10 10
10 10 10 9 9 10 10

Dawson’s verdict: 113-113.

Judges verdict: Burt Clements (USA); 113-113, Guy Jutras (CAN); 115-110 for Marquez, John Stewart (USA); 115-110 for Pacquiao.

Referee: Joe Cortez.

Official scorecard from Marquez v Pacquiao I. Credit: Fight News

Vital Compubox punch statistics

Throughout the contest, Pacquiao failed to establish a superiority with his jab. Despite knocking Marquez down three times in round one, he did not land a single jab out of the 42 he threw. It was not until the seventh round, when he began boxing more, when he set-up a rhythm off of his southpaw lead shot as he landed 19 percent of his jabs – his highest up to that point, connecting with six of 31. His best jabbing round was in round ten, when he landed eight of 32 attempted (25 percent).

Total jabs: Marquez landed 36 from 208 (17 percent). Pacquiao landed 48 from 408 (12 percent).

Even though Pacquiao drew great praise for his left cross, it was Marquez who had the superior statistics when it came to power punching and this is a combination of a: his own impeccable timing even when under duress and b: Manny’s fist-swinging reckless style in comparison. When Pacquiao bombed in, Marquez was able to slip and duck a number of the punches while Pacquiao appeared to take a while to adapt to Marquez’s counter-striking.

Total power shots: Marquez landed 122 from 339 (36 percent). Pacquiao landed 100 from 231 (43 percent).

Marquez’s punch output was very consistent, a testament to his polished boxing ability. From rounds one to eight he clocked up 40, 45, 45, 43, 42, 41, 43 and 48 total punches in each respective round. Pacquiao’s, in comparison, was more erratic, as he threw 73 in round one and then 77, 57, 47, 49, 35, 51 and 43 throughout the same stretch.

Total punches: Marquez landed 158 from 547 (29 percent). Pacquiao landed 148 from 639 (23 percent).

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4 Responses to “Pacquiao v Marquez I: Juan Manuel survived catastrophic opener to claim seven rounds and tie one”

  1. Guest November 8, 2011 at 5:20 pm #

    There is one reason why Pacquiao wins over Marquez: Pacquiao has 8-inch wrist size, the average size for heavyweight boxers is smaller, even the Klits.. Welterweights and lightweights have way less. Pacquiao’s muscle buildup has caught up with his unusually dense skeletal frame…explains why he has moved wayyyy upppp.

  2. Anonymous November 15, 2011 at 2:52 am #



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