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Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez III: Expectations, the swaying power of sentiment and the 10-point must system

By Ace Freeman (13-Nov-2011)

Live on location in Las Vegas, Ace Freeman reflects on Manny Pacquiao’s closely contested victory over Juan Manuel Marquez in their eagerly awaited third fight.

Photo: Chris Farina / Top Rank

Fight night in Vegas, and not all of the violence happened inside the ring. In fact, tensions reached a boiling point in the crowded aftermath in the halls and walkways of the MGM Grand.

It was a polarizing fight between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez… much like the first two times they danced.

Both men claimed victory but the most aggressive vigor I saw was among the fans exiting and many of my fellow cohorts in the media room.

While I had Manny Pacquiao ahead 115-113 on my scorecard, there was no doubt that on this night the biggest victory belonged to Juan Manuel Marquez, for it was a moral one.

The proud Mexican warrior took Manny Pacquiao to the brink once again. He pushed him like no man has since the last time they clashed in 2008. While Pacquiao went on to dominate bigger and stronger men, Marquez showed once again on this night that he has a style better suited to fighting Manny Pacquiao than anyone in recent years.

But unfortunately for Marquez, a moral victory doesn’t necessarily equate to a coveted “W” in the win column.

Boxing is scored on a ten point must system. Under the system, the judges must give the winner of a round 10 points, and the loser 9 points or fewer. What we witnessed tonight were twelve individual rounds that needed to be added up when they were completed to find a winner.

In my opinion, that winner was Manny Pacquiao.

I concede that it was a very close fight… much like Pacquiao and Marquez’s first two encounters. Like those battles, I have absolutely no problem with anyone seeing tonight’s fight in Marquez’s favour and it is not my intention to convince anyone otherwise.

But a robbery, this fight was not.

Lennox Lewis vs. Evander Holyfield 1 was a robbery. George Foreman vs. Shannon Briggs was a robbery.

Calling what we witnessed tonight a robbery cheapens the term.

I did think Juan Manuel Marquez landed the better quality punches in the fight… but I found them to be few and far between. There simply were not enough of them in succession, or consistently in enough rounds consecutively.

In just about every round it was Manny Pacquiao coming forward, and doing so as the aggressor.

He threw more punches, and (unlike their first two bouts) he landed more as well.

Yes Marquez was brilliant in his counter attack. His science was sweet, but it was by no means the dominant factor in the fight.

There were also several rounds (most notably the first) that were uneventful and could have been scored in either man’s favour if you are looking at them objectively.

That makes for a fight that could have gone either way when all was said and done. Again, much like their first two tilts.

One thing that resonated loudly on this particular night in Sin City was sentiment.

Juan Manuel Marquez was a huge underdog according to the Las Vegas odds-makers.

They weren’t alone. The majority of media outlets and boxing fans had foreseen a telling and resounding Manny Pacquiao victory.

In the immediate aftermath of the fight, I saw and spoke with many (some who were fuming) who seemed to allow that sentiment to resound louder than objectivity.

The act of Marquez being much more competitive than almost everyone thought would be the case seemed to be the dominating story on this night, and it was complimented nicely by the disappointment Manny Pacquiao obviously felt and exuded at not dominating this fight like he (and many) hoped he would.

As Pacquiao has been so dominant in marquee fights in recent years, the expectations placed upon him have mounted. While it was clear on this night he failed to meet the expectations of most fans, pundits and most importantly himself… those same expectations should not be allowed to affect the way a boxing match is scored.

At the end of the day when we look at tonight’s fight as twelve individual rounds, there is only math.

While sentiment and story-lines surrounding these mega-fights often prove more intoxicating than many substances available in these Las Vegas casinos… at the end of this night we saw another competitive bout between two gallant warriors that – when looking at it subjectively – could have been scored for either fighter within the realm of reason.

Those are my thoughts. What are yours?




Pacquiao-Marquez Post Fight Presser


Video by Ace Freeman


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  • hehehe

    so can anyone give an opinion on those foot stepping fest i just saw on that youtube video above?, I mean manny was off balance all night no wonder why..

    i remember roach saying something about foot positioning in pacquiao marquez face off, that whoever gets the best foot position first gets the punch, seems marquez was the one getting it but im wonderin if it was intentional or accidental?

  • kilroy

    Suplado – good job of writing. I agree on your comments. Manny at certain times was being the counterpuncher. He was actually baiting JMM to throw a punch and was trying to get JMM out of his game plan. JMM just didn’t press at the later rounds. Manny maintained his activity of pressing. Manny actually improved in his defense.

  • hehehe

    well for sure we saw a less bruised face from pacquiao this time, only a cut in the lip and a cut near the eye due to accidental butt, compare it to their last 2 fights and pacman was hurt before more than now.

    marquez face in the 3 fights was always bruised.

  • suplado

    @kilroy, thanks for the compliment. at first, i actually thought marquez won by at least 2 rounds. but then the howling of robbery from marquez fans and even from some pacquiao fans made me watch the fight again. but this time, i tried to actually score the fight round by round. and i did that by watching closely for punches and how both fighters react to each other wether on defense or offense, by pressing “pause/play” after i see any significant punch or missed shot. and thus i was able to at least try and write down i see per round. except maybe in the first three rounds cause i was still a bit lazy then, so i wasn’t able to write down in details unlike the other rounds. it was then that i was able to appreciate manny’s improved defense and boxing skills. even though it look liked marquez was landing the visually enticing punches, manny was able to outwork him in most of the rounds except the 5th where marquez dominated him and maybe the 2nd round. overall, manny’s aggression carried him through the close rounds which were tough to score. if marquez was able to overcome manny’s aggression and actually outland him in those close rounds, it would be easy to give marquez those rounds and thus the fight. but that’s not the case, so i gave those rounds to pacquiao. the fight was so damn close that in reality, it’s just a matter of preference for those watching who won the fight. if you prefer marquez crisp counterpunching style, then clearly marquez should’ve won. and i won’t have problem with that. but if you prefer manny’s aggression and overall work rate, then manny won. it’s that simple. just learn to respect everyone’s preference cause either way, no matter who wins between, th real winner are us, the fans, who were treated to 36 rounds of great action from 2 great warriors. respect to marquez fans, and respect to pacfans….

  • suplado

    @kilroy, thanks for the compliment. at first, i actually thought marquez won by at least 2 rounds. but then the howling of robbery from marquez fans and even from some pacquiao fans made me watch the fight again. but this time, i tried to actually score the fight round by round. and i did that by watching closely for punches and how both fighters react to each other wether on defense or offense, by pressing “pause/play” after i see any significant punch or missed/blocked shot. and thus i was able to at least try and write down what i see per round. except maybe in the first three rounds cause i was still a bit lazy then, so i wasn’t able to write down in details unlike the other rounds. it was then that i was able to appreciate manny’s improved defense and boxing skills. even though it look liked marquez was landing the visually enticing punches, manny was able to outwork him in most of the rounds except the 5th where marquez dominated him and maybe the 2nd round. overall, manny’s aggression carried him through the close rounds which were tough to score. if marquez was able to overcome manny’s aggression and actually outland him in those close rounds, it would be easy to give marquez those rounds and thus the fight. but that’s not the case. so i gave those rounds to pacquiao. the fight was so damn close that in reality, it’s just a matter of preference for those watching who won the fight. if you prefer marquez crisp counterpunching style, then clearly marquez should’ve won. and i won’t have a problem with that. but if you prefer manny’s aggression and overall work rate, then manny won. it’s that simple. just learn to respect everyone’s preference cause either way, no matter who wins between them, the real winner are us, the fans. who were treated to 36 rounds of great action from 2 great warriors. i appreciate both men’s style of fighting so respect goes out to both marquez fans and pac fans. i just love to see a good fight no matter who wins and that’s all there is to it….

  • Anonymous

    Marquez face speaks why he lost..He was hit several times.

  • Anonymous

    marquez and pamcan should not be blame on this controversy, both of them doesn’t want this to happen , thing its both of them did not cheat and fought well i think its really on the judges call base on what and how they see the fight. at the end the loser here are the viewer’s who spent money to watch the fight

  • Editha

    This fight reminds me of the Al Gore vs Bush election when Gore got the majority vote but Bush got the more electoral votes and won the President Election.

  • hermes

    in boxing if not on KO, it will go to the scorecards/judges and like basketball, those who have more points will win. it doesn’t matter if you dunk like lebron or have a lay up like steve nash who did it like playing in the park. it is very clear that manny has more shots than jmm so let us do the math. defense in not a point its on how many times you hit or like basketball, how many shots you have. it is clear in the stats/compu box on who has the more punches so more points. the judges sit closer than many of us and they are more expert on this so they know more on who really wins. it was a majority decision so it is clear who the winner is.

  • marlon nacitavem

    Please read this article from one of the bloggers at Philboxing forum, the same thougth as Mr. Ace Freeman, a very nice article too. Here it is…

    Pacman is a puzzle and everyone is guessing…………….

    Props to Marquez for standing his ground against Pacquiao. He did great but it was not enough to win against Pacquiao. On the hindsight, it was thought by many that Pacquiao would annihilate Marquez because of Pacquiao’s recent awesome performances against bigger men. The man is a victim of his own doing. His fans expect too much from him nowadays. He is not viewed anymore as one who simply wins by points. He is expected to devastate his opponents. He is a “monster” in the eyes of many. Now if a “monster” attacked, fans expect to see bloods and guts from its supposed “victim”. However, When the “victim” made it a fight and not a one-sided slaughter even if the “monster” was eating him slowly, people rejoiced and applauded the supposed “victim” just for making the supposedly slaughterfest into a fight.

    Pac-monster was a victim of his recent fight reputation. Fans should know
    that even monsters have off-nights, but not necessarily defeated. Some fans tend to be overly emotional and a lot of haters tend to be “over-acting”. People, wake-up! Pacquiao did not lose the fight and there are videos and judges score-cards to prove it. The reason there are judges, is because you can’t simply take people’s opinion to decide the matter. It has to be settled with finality. You can say all you want that Marquez won, but the fact of the matter is HE DID NOT. I can still imagine you guys riding a roller coaster ride. Oh dear!! :lol:

    I like the analogy of this fight to the exact meaning of “Insanity”. It is indeed insanity to let them fight again and again and expect a different result. Their fight will always be the same. Pacquiao attacks and Marquez counters. OK let’s play what if. What if Pacquiao stopped attacking and Marquez simply stood his ground and wait? Who will win? It will be a stand-off. The fans lose and Pacquiao retains the crown. Why?, because the challenger must literally grab the crown from the champion and not the other way around. What if Marquez attacked and Pacquiao stood his ground? Marquez is gonna get KO and he knows it. That’s why Marquez simply waits for Pacquiao, back up a little bit, wait some more and counter when Pacquiao becomes aggresive. Marquez will never bring it to Pacquiao. He will never initiate a brawl against Pacquiao. Not in a million years. So, I don’t expect a 4th fight because, there’s no way that Marquez will attack. That’s insanity.

    Style makes fight, and Marquez and Pacquiao are perfect for each other’s
    style. Is Marquez a better fighter than Pacquiao? I don’t think so. He’s got
    Pacquiao’s number but not better than Pac in many ways and you people know it. If he is better than Pac, then he can duplicate what Pac did. Do you think he can do that? I don’t think so. Can Mayweather duplicate what Pac did? Nah, He’s a different animal. Can Marquez and Mayweather excite people the way Pac did in recent memories? Nope. Pac did it all and still does more. As a boxing fan, let’s just enjoy his remaining fights. It will not last for so long. He’s slipping away gradually folks and you know it, too.

  • hermes

    marquez should be grateful to manny for this fight. funny is that he demanded a 10M purse and the fight should be in mexico, who the hell is he now? lol

    manny should not fight him (for what?). even if they will fight 100 times, the result will be the same, he will lose in a controversial manner and the fans will be the real loser.

    the best fight out there is for manny and mayweather to prove who the real number 1 p4p is. forget jmm, he will always be a crying baby and make him proud. if nto for manny, he will not get this biggest purse in his entire career and he must be thankful instead of demanding and setting the rules.

  • look4urself

    look at marquez face and compare it to pacman and decide 4 urself who got beat the fuck up

  • drin

    the thought of the author was exactly my thought as well when I watch the fight again. but during the live telecast i saw differently, and felt dissappointed because Iam so accustomed to see Manny destroying every opponent and dominating them with his explosiveness in the ring. the Pacquiao last Saturday is not the same Pacquiao that is why felt differently and with majority of the audience are Mexicans and with every clean punch that Marquez throws they are shouting. it like you are warchting basketball and Marquez dunks it and people are shouting but Manny scoring normal shots and ahead on points. Manny’s punches are not as clean as Marquez but Manny’s connecting and he really throws more than what Marquez throws…. it’s better watch it twice to really see what transpire in the ring & i believe that the judges are incorruptible especially the Nevada judges.

  • RAM

    THERE’S A TERM WE SAY IN THE PHILIPPINES – KONTRAPELO.

    NOBODY WILL LOOK GOOD FIGHTING ONE’S KONTRAPELO!

    MARQUEZ IS PACQUIAO’S KONTRAPELO.

  • http://www.facebook.com Don

    We lost, it us who lost in Pacquiao-Marquez III. We dissapointed ourselves by setting to much expectation in a fight that we don’t have control. It was them who were fighting. Pacquiao had an off night. Everyone of us can have a bad night. Why we can’t forgive him. It was a close fight to call. He lost against our expectation but he won the fight according to the official judges who are more qualified to judge than us. Let us forgive ourselves for setting high expectation. Let us also set Pacman free from the claws of our disappointment. He fought a good fight, he did retreat in that fight. He gave and tried to give us what we want to see, a brawl from round 1 to round 12.

  • http://www.facebook.com Don

    We lost, it us who lost in Pacquiao-Marquez III. We dissapointed ourselves by setting to much expectation in a fight that we don’t have control. It was them who were fighting. Pacquiao had an off night. Everyone of us can have a bad night. Why we can’t forgive him. It was a close fight to call. He lost against our expectation but he won the fight according to the official judges who are more qualified to judge than us. Let us forgive ourselves for setting high expectation. Let us also set Pacman free from the claws of our disappointment. He fought a good fight, he did not retreat in that fight. He gave and tried to give us what we want to see, a brawl from round 1 to round 12.

  • STIVLA

    During the fight, I really thought marquez won to the point i shouted that it was robbery when the winner was announced but after watching the replay, it changes everything and i definitely agree with your views. Manny was the agressor throughout the fight and he landed the most punches. Although, marquez landed the cleaner shots but not enough to win the fight. Pacquiao won most of the rounds and thinks he should have won by a unanimous decision. I REALLY ADVICE EVERYONE TO WATCH THE REPLAY.

  • Marvin Gay

    Pacquiao won: 38 -17 compubox
    8 rds to 4; rounds awarded to Pacquiao
    116 – 112, 115 – 113, 114-114
    rounds 10-11-12 ; Marquez run
    rounds 1 to 9; Marquez waited

    Glenn Townbridge – Genius judge

    Marvin G and Marquez cry babies
    Nacho Beristain; liar and hallucinating

  • http://fightfan.com/index.php?s=joe+bruiser&submit=Search Joe Bruiser

    My main concern with letting the compubox totals tell the story and giving credibility to Pacquiao’s win is that it seems contradictory with what was the consensus in the Hopkins vs. Calzaghe fight, another close fight that many insist Hopkins won.

    Calzaghe landed 105 more total punches, 71 more power punches, threw 240 more punches, had a 7% advantage in connect percentage, and outlanded Hopkins in every round of the fight.

    That said, a large contingent of FightFans insist that Hopkins’ counter punches and ring generalship won him the fight by a point or two.

    Were they wrong?

    How are the circumstances different that this fight, other than the punch stats being much closer?

    Food for thought.

  • http://www.facebook.com isagani vino

    The problem is that marquez does not prove anything, he was the challenger and the pacman is the one eager to fight how was that, he must knock the pacman in order to get that big W, remember the pacquiao vs barrera 1, the pacman knows if he doesn’t knock barrera out he will surely lost the fight what he did he force barrera to quit judges cannot do anything in that scenario and the rest is history, and one thing marquez must learn to fight without to much back pedaling and foot stopper tricks lets be fare and I believe justice prevail in favor of the pacman, lol peace. my advice in order you to get my respect fight cotto, clottey, margarito, mosley show pacman that you’re the better guy..

  • http://facebook Jonas Gayot

    When I watched Pacquiao-Marquez III, I tried to score it every end of the round and I have Pacquiao winning 115-113. It was really close, but I was shocked to read the reactions of boxing fans, boxers and sports writers the morning after, they claim that it was a robbery by the judges for Pacquiao. I believe so that this reaction comes from the lack of understanding of the 10 point must system. Most people who watched boxing usually do not judge them round for round. They judge the fights as one whole fight, I mean they try to judged the said fight AFTER the whole 12 rounds.
    Many say Marquez wins by landing the more crisper and clearer shots. But I say, even though Marquez would land 50 clearer shots against Pacquaio’s 7, Pacquaio would still win due to the 10 point system. This is an exageration but I need it to emphasize my point. Let’s say that marquez took the first 5 rounds, scoring with an average of 10 clear shots per round against O for Pacquiao, so that is 50. And we say that Pacquiao took over the last 7 rounds scoring an average of 1 clear shot per round to Marquez’s 0, so that’s 7. So clearly it is 7-5 rounds win for Pacquaio or 115-113 win for Manny.
    I understand the reaction of the common boxing fan, but the boxers, and many writers who cried against the decision, I think are like politicians, they bowed to public pressure, and tried to write their articles as not to lose many of their fans or readers.

  • kilroy

    It really does seem that JMM was really competitive and looked slightly ahead. However, JMM style of countering and taking control of the last 3 rounds really cost him.
    As Manny being the favorite and everyone has high expectations of him, the underdog JMM was getting better in the exchange at the middle rounds which is 4,5,6,and 7. It may look the momentum has sifted for the uderdog and ahead. The 8th and after rounds Manny was pressing as if trying to get even or trying to be ahead. JMM was giving him a run for his money and the fans knew it was getting to be a close win for JMM because he was still in the fight and hitting Manny with counters. So it really looked like JMM was ahead slightly on the 10th or 11th round.
    Folks, this is how alot of fans felt. Manny was doing defense when JMM throws and backs off Manny the aggressor.The judges sees this and they see what connects on both fighters. I give credit on Manny’s defense but yes I agree he got his head snapping back but he was really connecting too and JMM didn’t really get Manny in trouble or hurt and Manny was connecting more and chasing JMM at the late rounds where it matters the most, so Manny wins and give him credit for that.

  • http://fightfan.com ron

    I finally got a chance to see this fight and it really put me to sleep. Both fighters were good but I have to look at how they Measure up the MAN,Floyd Mayweather. Mayweather makes them both look amateurish and Floyd had the incite to show the diffence between himself and Pacquiao by dominating a world class fighter in Marquez.Who gave Pacquiao all he could handle. Yeah, the spin master Arum had fools believe Pacquiao is better at this game than his nemesis Mayweather but he really does know that Floyd would destroy his hyped cash cow. If the true fan has any doubt about a Mayweather/Pacquiao fight outcome , then this fight should bring them to their rational senses. But then again that would be a difficult proposition for the non rational Pacquiao fan whom Arum knows how to manipulate. Arum is a master at deception and the Pacquiao fan is the easy MARK.I would not spin a dime to watch these two fight again.Only for free because I like the sport.

  • http://fightfan.com Ace Freeman

    Even after all this time I am still dismayed by the amount of people who insist Marquez was robbed.

    I have no problem with anyone who scored the fight for Marquez by a slim margin, but the outrage and suggestions he was jobbed are really outlandish.

    There were two rounds in the first half of the fight that were just about dead even. Nothing of note really happened. Those could have been scored foe either guy depending on what you like in scoring.

    Marquez pretty much threw away 11 and 12 when his trainer told him he had it in the bag.

    If you score the aforementioned 4 rounds for Pacquiao, you only need to give him 3 more of the remaining 8 for him to win the fight.

    It was that close.

    I have no problem with people saying one of them one the fight over the other because it was close…

    But in no way was it a robbery.

    The notion that Manny Pacquiao has yet to beat Juan Manuel Marquez convincingly is not without merit, but lost somewhere in that headline is the fact that Marquez has never done anything to conclusively beat Pacquiao either. With the outrage, you’d think he dominated a couple of the fights with the way some people talk about it and that just isn’t the case.