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List of Articles by Edwin G. Espejo



PACQUIAO WATCH: Sheer heart won it for Manny

By Edwin G. Espejo
PhilBoxing.com
17 Mar 2008

A WEEK before Manny Pacquiao fought Juan Manuel Marquez for the World Boxing Council (WBC) super featherweight title, I did some scouting and laid down what it would take for both fighters to win and put a period to the controversial standoff decision of their 2004 first bout.

It turned out that none of the recipes for victory really counted in the turnout of the fight, a split decision that would continue to generate much debate in the days and even weeks to come.

The punch that spelled the difference, however, was a short, perfect and hybrid of a rocketing dart that many could not immediately agree what it was. It was left hook that appeared more like a left straight delivered during a close quarter furious exchange between Pacquiao and Marquez in the third round. That punch sent Marquez crushing down on his back and onto the canvass. It was a punch that changed the complexion of the bout and, what appeared in the early going, forced Marquez to shift strategy for the evening (in Las Vegas). It was far from the thundering left straights that Manny is noted to unleash from the outside. It came after a right hook delivered with the full intent of finishing off the Mexican.

Unlike their first fight when Marquez appeared surprised when he got floored the first two times in the first round, Sunday’s biggest punch of the evening really hurt the former Mexican champion.

After that knockdown, Marquez abandoned the aggressiveness he displayed in the first two rounds and reverted to his sweet counterpunching ways. That strategy paid off in the eight round when he had Pacquiao in trouble after aggravating a cut in the right eyelid of the new champion in the seventh round. In the ensuing ninth round, he repeatedly hurt a backpedaling Pacquiao with left hooks to the body and powerful right straights to the head.

But Pacquiao could not be denied of the victory as he landed the more telling blows throughout the fight and again staggered Marquez in the 10th round.

Pacquiao never really came on the top Marquez’ accurate counters. But what he lacked in that aspect, he more than made up with his big fighting heart. Recovering from two big scary moments, one in the second canto when Marquez hurt him with a one-two combination to end the round and those digging body shots and head snapping straights in the eight and ninth, Pacquiao came back with his own exclamation points following those rounds.

That made him a better warrior than Marquez, the ability to overcome adversity.

Marquez, who said Manny has to take away the title from him the hard way, nevertheless should not be ashamed of his defeat. By giving Manny two of the Filipino’s hardest fights in his professional career, Marquez proved he is up there and at par with the bests in the featherweight division. Perhaps even better than Marco Antonio Barrera and Morales, both of whom suffered knockout defeats against the heavy handed Filipino champion.

But unlike their first fight when Marquez showed he had the far more superior skills, this time around Manny proved he has narrowed the gap between them.

True, Manny still relied on his big money punch, the left straights. But he was no longer as reckless as he was four years ago. He likewise overcame that injury on his right eyelid that once led to his defeat in the hands of Morales. Manny also finally warded off the monkey on his back that was Juan Manuel Marquez. In private, Manny and his camp had always tried to avoid Marquez because the Mexican possessed the antidote to his swarming ways.

Now, Manny cannot be said that he avoided anyone even if it meant putting on the line his lofty standings in pro boxing’s list of pound for pound fighters.

He has taken all comers and served those that were brought to him.


Back to Edwin G. Espejo's Articles Listing



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