I am not a boxing writer, per se, and do not hold myself out as an expert in the technical side of the sport. I have been inspired to write about the sport mainly because I see in it the possibility of the illumination of character in ways that we can all relate to — and in particular because I’ve seen it illuminate Manny Pacquiao’s character in ways that have potential to inspire Filipinos and non-Filipinos alike.
My shortlist of (possibly) significant boxing articles that I’ve written include What We Can Learn from the Empathy, Grace, and Humility of Manny Pacquiao, written after the Margarito fight; and after the Marquez 3 fight– Dear Manny Pacquiao, The Man in the Arena, and Dear Juan Manuel Marquez. These all dwell far more on the character side of boxing, than the technical. The best part about those articles was the fact that they generated over 6,000 comments, many of which were incredibly thoughtful and heartfelt.
On the technical side I’ve developed a system which I call the “preponderance of evidence” analysis which involves taking the scorecard after a disputed fight and comparing them round by round to the compubox statistics, in an effort to discern patterns and derive meaning from that.
None of that makes me an expert at predicting anything, nor would I normally have a strategy to present — but in the case, there have been three previous fights to study, and I have studied them carefully. That study really brings home how close the two have been:
First, here are the 3 fight totals.
Knockouts: Pacquiao 4-0
Judged Rounds Won: Marquez, 56-42
Total Punches Landed: Pacquiao 481-468
Power Punches Landed: Marquez 353 331
Punch Percentage: Marquez 31% – 26%
I watched all three fights very carefully, and studied the round by round statistics very carefully as well.
What I am struck by is the following:
In the most recent fight, there was a consistent pattern, and it is a pattern that Manny must disrupt. That pattern was — a) Manny attacks, b) Marquez counters, c) Many retreats. Sometimes Manny was able to get out of the way of the counter; sometimes he would get hit by the counter — but what he almost never did in the third fight is “counter the counterpunch”.
Marquez has a good defense and he has spent so much time in the ring with Manny that when Manny attacks, he rarely lays clean leather on Marquez. And Marquez always counterpunches. And . . . .it is after the counterpunch that Marquez is open. But in fight 3, Manny almost always retreated without pressing a counterpunch that countered Marquez’ counter. (That’s a mouthful, but you get my point, right?)
What does this mean?
It means Manny might get knocked down if he does what I suggest — but if his chin is up to it, he will get a chance to land hard counters on Marquez that will allow Manny to truly benefit from his power advantage.
That’s …if he can survive Marquez’ counters on him.
He might get knocked down.
He might even get knocked out.
But I’m convinced this is what me must do to get the knockout of Marquez that he wants and needs.
So let’s project forward to the “what ifs” of this fight.
What if it goes to the scorecard?
I wouldn’t want to be Manny if this goes to the scorecards. I don’t’ think he’s like to get judges’ love three times in a row.
What if Manny gets knocked down and hurt, but can continue — but loses on points?
If it happens because he’s pressing the action, trying to battle through Marquez’ defenses, will it hurt his legacy? No. Will it keep him from winning the fight? Maybe. But it’s better to lose the fight as a result of trying to knock Marquez out, than it would be to lose the fight while being overly cautious.
What if Manny pressing to “counter the counterpuncher” causes him to get knocked out?
This could really happen if he does what I’m suggesting. It’s a real possibility.
Settig aside he very real health concerns ( and they are real and we shouldn’t set them aside) — such an outcome would be a glorious knockout and a heroic way to lose. Is it worth the health risk? Does Manny really have to prove himself in this manner?
The truth is — Manny Pacquiao has already shown he has extraordinary character many times over. His willingness to fight Marquez a fourth time when his record against him is 2-0-1 speaks volumes for his willingness to put himself and his legacy at risk.
So . . .
The fight is setting up in a very interesting way — one that has already revealed character, and will reveal more when it is all over.
Some of you have written in asking what happened to the comments throughout the site. Sadly, I was hit with a “spam comment attack” and the end result was that all comments throughout the site ended up being stripped out. As some of you know, the comments were the best part about some of the articles — particularly the ones cited above. I did manage to salvage most of the 4,000 comments on The Empathy, Grace, and Humility of Manny Pacquiao because I had downloaded them to PDF long ago. But the others are gone …. poof. So it goes.