Is he truly the world super-featherweight boxing champion?
Many doubts have been raised against the split-decision victory by Filipino boxing hero Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao against Mexican champion Juan Manuel Marquez in their second bout last March 15 in Las Vegas.
What’s surprising is that the doubts have come not only from Marquez’s camp, which is understandable, but from some supposed Filipino boxing analysts, who should now better.
Arriving home to a hero’s welcome in Manila on Monday, March 24, 2008, Pacquiao blasted Filipino boxing analysts who raised doubts on his victory against Marquez.
“I feel saddened that some Filipinos still doubt my win, that they want it investigated. What kind of investigation is that? Congress or Senate?” Pacquiao said. “Marquez came crashing down in the third round. What more do they want?” he added in Filipino.
Pacquiao said he could not understand why some supposed “boxing analysts” could say that Marquez actually won the bout when two of the three judges at ringside and many other boxing analysts in the United States all scored the fight in his favor.
The boxing champion said the “crab mentality” of some Filipinos is spoiling his victory, which he said he rightfully earned after slugging it out against Marquez for the full 12 rounds.
Some Filipino boxing analysts earlier questioned Pacquiao’s victory over Marquez as they called for a third bout between the two of the world’s top boxers to finally decide who is the better fighter.
Boxing analyst Ronnie Nathanielz said Pacquiao’s victory “was not convincing” but his knockdown of Marquez in the third round might have sealed the win for him.
Boxing analyst Ed Tolentino said Marquez should have won the fight but conceded that Marquez “played it safe” in the last two rounds, which cost him his crown.
IBF and IBO flyweight champion Nonito Donaire, who was part of the Filipino media panel who covered the “Unfinished Business” boxing bout, said he had Marquez ahead by one point after the 12th round.
“I have a lot of respect for Manny, you know. But I’m not sugarcoating something for somebody just to gain people’s favor. I just scored it round by round not knowing who was winning the fight. And so I tallied the total till the end of the fight, and that’s what I have, 114-113 (in favor of Marquez),” he said.
Boxing analyst Recah Trinidad said Pacquiao did not honestly deserve the judges’ verdict in his favor. “Either the judges blinked or were rendered cockeyed by the klieg lights at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino,” he said in a recent newspaper column.
“On the whole, Marquez was smarter, sharper,” he said.
However, Joaquin Henson, another boxing analyst, defended Pacquiao, saying the boxers’ critics were simply sourgraping.
“The problem with some Filipino fans is they’ve been spoiled by Pacquiao and expect nothing less than a spectacular knockout in each of his fights,” Henson said in his newspaper column.
“Marquez is a tough opponent and because of his style, will always be difficult for Pacquiao to handle … but the fact is two of the three judges scored it for Pacquiao and he won, fair and square,” he said.
The critics argued that Marquez should have been the winner of the fight because he landed more blows based from statistics.
But Henson disproved this point, saying that punch statistics are just a summary of total blows thrown and connected by the boxers. It does not necessarily mean that because a boxer threw and connected more punches that he would be the outright winner, he said.
What should be borne in mind is that a boxing bout is scored from round to round and not on the basis of the total number of blows landed by the boxers.
For example, a boxer may rain blows on his opponent in one round, but he will only receive a 10-9 count from the judges – the same score even if he connects just one extra jab than his opponent for the round.
According to the stats in the Pacquiao-Marquez bout last March 16, Marquez landed more blows, 172 to Pacquiao’s 157. The Mexican was also more accurate, 34 percent to the Filipino’s 25 percent.
But Pacquiao threw more blows, 619 to 511, a huge difference of 108. Some judges give more credit to aggressiveness than actual blows connected.
From the three judges’ scorecards, it was clear that the difference that spelled Pacquiao’s victory was when the Filipino champion decked Marquez in the third round. That’s because a knockdown gets a 10-8 score in boxing.
In a close bout, just like in Pacquiao-Marquez II, a knockdown could be the decider.
If Pacquiao had not floored Marquez, the match would have ended in a split draw just like the outcome in their first fight. If Marquez won the third round, he would’ve won by majority decision, Henson said.
“The fact is two of the three judges scored it for Pacquiao and he won, fair and square. Pacquiao earned the victory because he fought with the bigger heart, came back strong in the late rounds and every Filipino should be proud of his achievement in becoming the first Asian to win three world titles in different divisions. He bled for every one of his countrymen, he took Marquez’ hardest shots without backing down. You couldn’t ask anything more from a hero,” Henson said.
Indeed, anyway you look at it, there’s no room for doubt in Pacquiao’s hard-earned but well deserved victory against Marquez.
(Above) Manny Pacquiao celebrates after going 12 rounds with WBC super featherweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez of Mexico at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 15, 2008. (Reuters photo)
(Second picture) Juan Manuel Marquez hits the canvas after being knocked down by Manny Pacquiao in the third round of their WBC super featherweight title match. (Reuters photo)