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List of Articles by Sid Bañez

A Salute To The Wise Men Who Predicted A Split Decision

By Sid Bañez
18 Mar 2008

Let me salute the brave souls who predicted that the Pacquiao-Marquez II would end in a split decision – either for the Mexican or the Filipino.

It was, I thought, a ridiculous prediction for the following reasons:

1.The fighters knew fully well a split decision would not settle the Unfinished Business because it wouldn’t remove the cloud that engulfed the first fight which was a draw. In other words, a split decision would be as bad as a draw.

2.Both Pacquiao and Marquez swore the rematch would settle once and for all who is the better fighter.

3.Each fighter has enough well defined strengths and weaknesses which could lead to a decisive victory or defeat.

That said, it is easy to imagine a post-fight scenario where the loser would be profusely praising the victor and acknowledging having lost to a great fighter.

Instead what we heard was the winner saying, “The business is over.” (Read: no more rematch, guys.). The loser meanwhile looked at the decision with contempt, suggesting the fans were the best judge. In other words, the business remains unfinished and may remain that way. To be fair, Pacquaio denied he refused a rematch even with that statement. So, like the question of who is the better fighter, we still have to guess what Pacquiao meant by “The business is over.”

Having made a prediction that Pacquiao would stop Marquez inside ten bloody rounds, I was only half correct. The fight was bloody but it lasted the distance. However, I feel no shame being in the company of some distinguished former champions, trainers and sports journalists who were carried away by the Pacquiao magic and made wrong predictions, too.

How could Pacquiao-Marquez II be so close as to end in a split decision? To me and my distinguished company, that was unthinkable, even ridiculous.. With so much at stake and the immense improvement – in style and in training – each fighter was claiming, we became even more confident the unfinished business would be finished, with Pacquiao coming out the indisputable winner.

Like a voice in the wilderness, however, some misguided fellows publicly predicted a split decision, some for Marquez, some for Pacquiao. How could they?

It turned out they were the minds who have probed deeply enough into the physical, emotional and intangible aspects of the match up and told us “It’s not as simple as you think!”

Now, it dawned on me, a Pacquiao fan, that the world has long underrated Marquez and there is truth to him being The Avoided One. Now I have validated how smart he is, having seen him made the adjustments that prevented Pacquiao from maximizing his speed and power advantage. True, he was on his back in the third round, but didn’t he stand up as quickly as he fell? Not only did he recover from the knockdown, but he moved menacingly forward round after round, no longer content with being a fine counter-puncher. Thus, Pacquiao was unable to land as much body shots as he planned and his supposedly improved right was under-utilized. Instead, he had to rely on his left which Marquez’s radar could easily pick up, except once in the third round. Those who predicted the split decision somehow foresaw all of these developments.

To be sure, Pacquiao fought his fight - only with less intensity, admittedly because he was befuddled by Marquez many adjustments. Indeed Mexican moved forward, - initiating his combinations with left hooks followed by right crosses which frequently found their target - counterpunched, then moved forward again, not so much as to attack, but to make Pacquiao punch in an awkward position.

And so we had a split decision. Did the right man win? The judges said so. To my mind, though, the split decision could have gone to Marquez and as a Pacquiao fan I would have accepted it, disappointed, of course.

But the judges have spoken. And even before that, some fans, much wiser than I am, had envisioned the ending.

Back to Sid Bañez's Articles Listing

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