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A Discourse for Marquez
By Jason Petock (May 11, 2004) 
Photo © Chris Farina
Engrossed inside of me is a minute voice pleading for explanation. I cannot offer it any. All I can do is strive for an outcome that is somewhat balanced and steady. Fairly aware of the minor inconsistencies that befall the professional world of prizefighting, I was slightly bothered to some extent concerning a recent, highly visible boxing match. With this in mind I only thought it just to proceed, not with caution like you would imagine, but persistence.

Bear with my ramblings for a moment here. “Experts” and analysts alike many not only respect this angle, but even stoutly concur. Juan Manuel Marquez defeated Manny Pacquiao in their featured bout on Saturday, at least in my humble opinion. Brush aside the expected pretense and presumptions surrounding what occurred and this blatant fact will surface to the top like rising cream in scorching coffee. If viewing the fight was not evidence enough, then I do not know what else is. I take no credibility from either boxer here; both are accomplished athletes who warrant the respect and accolades that they rightly deserve, even if it appears that Marquez is in need of recognition still, even after this fight, more so than Pacquiao.

I sat with my pen and pad nervously clenched, scoring the fight like many of you may have done. Or not. The first round was a no-brainer and I had it 10-6, which is customary in these types of situations, for Pacman of course with his 3 knockdowns. I gave him the second round also, seeing as Marquez was still out of it and recovering while Pacman remained consistent with the left hand. Following that however, from what I saw with my own two eyes, Marquez came back effectively and won rounds 3,4,5,6,7,8,9 and 12. While this may sound extremely biased and far from partial, take into account the fact that Juan Manuel Marquez not only came back from a brutal first round and changed the tempo of the fight, but also picked his spots and neutralized Manny’s left in the process. I was watching a masterful boxer, and more importantly a Champion, on the job. It was Marquez’s precision, not the 3 knockdowns that had me him winning the fight. At least in theory it did.

My final tally was 9 rounds to 3 for Juan Manuel Marquez, and that is including the 10-6 round, making it 114-111 for Juan Manuel Marquez.

Harold Lederman scored it 115-110 for Manny, giving Pacman a 7 to 5 round edge. He was ringside so he definitely could have viewed something that I initially neglected.

Jim Lampley made the point that if Burt Clements had scored the first round 10-6, instead of 10-7 in error, Pacquiao would have won the fight. He was ringside as well and may have had a better vantage point than I did from the comfort of my home. Clements made it a 3-way split by scoring it 113-113 even. John Stewart had it 115-110 for Manny, and Guy Jutras had it the same, only for Juan. This controversial match-up and decision is going to be the focus of several debates this week. They wanted water cooler topics they got one – and this one has sprung a leak.

Manny Pacquiao had Juan Manuel Marquez beat in the first round, or at least it appeared that way to the naked eye. Yet on closer inspection it was not that way at all. Boxing is often taken on face value alone, literally. Its translucence seems to be its main focal point. There is a much deeper meaning and force present in the sport, and not everything is as it appears. That force was discarded temporarily in this fight to not only save face, but maybe a few checkbooks as well.

Juan Manuel Marquez is an under appreciated, overlooked Champion. He displayed why he is a Champion and why Manny Pacquiao had such difficulty with him. He figured out Manny’s game plan and adjusted like a wise, competitent tactician does. He avoided Pacman’s devastating left the rest of the fight and went to his body, not only taking some of the air from Pacquiao’s sails, but also isolating his movement.

As supportive and visionary that everyone has become regarding Manny Pacquiao they clearly forgot about the other man in the ring, and why he was there. Marquez is the man to beat. Defined in Webster’s Dictionary as: Warrior, Fighter, a militant advocate or defender, one who shows marked superiority. I think he showed that against Pacquiao in my unpretentious opinion, it just didn’t show in the cards, except on one. Not only did he return mightily from the brink of certain loss and obscurity, but displayed immense courage and fortitude. Anyone who experiences the conflict of being a boxer should remember Marquez’s bravery in all their trails.

Just to repeat myself for the record, I have never claimed to be a boxing “expert”. Nor am I a sage, or analyst or all-seer. I don’t get paid for my opinions right or wrong, or seek to profit from my viewpoints like some. Half the time I don’t get asked them anyway. They are presented here in their entirety for you to enjoy, criticize, scorn or appreciate. Whatever you like. That’s the magic of writing and opportunity. We can always agree to disagree, especially when it comes to my one true love in life – boxing. On the chance that we agree, then even better.

I had to call them out on this one. Had to call you out too. Juan Manuel Marquez won this battle. He won it decisively with smart ring generalship, a solid game plan, and a relentless commitment to the brilliance of being a Champion.

It was disappointing to hear Manny Pacquiao claim after the fight that he hurt his foot one or two weeks when he slipped and fell while sparring. I didn’t see the validity of this point because it didn’t have one concerning the bout. I’m not questioning the truth of it because it’s not my place to, I just don’t see why it was mentioned at all, seeing as it wasn’t a hindrance for him during the fight. All in all I hope that his foot or leg heals in the weeks to come and wish him all the success in the world regardless. You figure out the details, I’m just along for the ride I guess.

He also stated that he should have won that fight and that not only was he ahead on points, but that a lot of people saw it. Manny got hit with some precise, telling shots himself, but like I said I’m far from an “expert”, just a fan. True, Marquez’s nose was most likely broken and bled profusely for 2 rounds, but because he had a bloody nose doesn’t constitute him as defeated. That’s called an occupational hazard; it comes with the territory, much like blisters in the military.

Juan didn’t appear slighted or distraught over the eventual outcome. He admitted that he started overconfidently, but showed his adaptability and resilience when faced with almost insurmountable odds. They should definitely dance again, sooner than later we can only hope. Both fighters showed great resolve and dedication of will.

In the untimely event that somewhere down the line of this thing I call my life I should need a blood transfusion, I can only hope and pray that there’s a boxing gym nearby. A gym where possibly Juan Manuel Marquez is training, and he could save my life with the testament to bravery and undamaged will that is his blood. The blood of a Champion.
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