Once Again I Hope Pacquiao Fights Marquez As Pryor Fought Arguello
By Sid Bañez
Fri, 07 Dec 2012
In 2008 I wrote an article here prior to Pacquiao-Marquez II. I envisioned then that if Manny Paquiao would fight Juan Manuel Marquez as Aaron Pryor fought the legendary Alexis Arguello, Pacquiao would win by knockout.
Well, Pacquiao did not knock out Marquez; he did not even dominate the brilliant Mexican counterpuncher as Pryor did Arguello. The result: a split decision in Pacquiao’s favor.
Heading towards Pacquiao-Marquez IV, I still feel the same: if Pacquiao would fight like Pryor he could stop Marquez.
Partisan Pacquiao fans might ask: How dare I compare Pacquiao, with Pryor? My response: I know Pacquiao is in a class of his own and by and large, comparison is odious. But as the boxing adage goes, “Styles make fights” and to me it is as if the distinct styles of Pryor and Arguello were transmitted onto Pacquiao and Marquez, respectively. What I mean is, every time these two great rivals fight I would always see Pryor in Manny and Arguello in Marquez.
Pryor and Arguello fought twice for the WBA light welterweight championship of the world. Arguello lost both fights by knockout. Both have been inducted into boxing’s Hall of Fame.
Who is Aaron Pryor? Well, he is the fighter I once hated for twice beating up my idol, Alexis Arguello, considered by many as boxing’s Rennaissance Man, a boxing magazine called Arguello “the perfect fighter… a fighter without a flaw.” Adding another dimension to Arguello’s courage and brilliance in the ring was his deep involvement in the fight against the Sandinistas, the Communist leaning party that once ruled Nicaragua. He actually went with the Contras in the jungle to wage war against their enemy. He was a fighter by profession and patriotic orientation. Commentators often describe him as an honor to his motherland. It was heartbreaking to see this gentleman go down in defeat against the brash, swarming brawler, Aaron Pryor.
Over the years, I have learned to look objectively at Aaron Pryor and to accept that on those two thrilling ring wars with the revered Arguello (77-8-0,62 KOs) Pryor was the better man. It helped me outgrow my partisanship when I learned that the two eventually became friends. This should explain why in 2008 and until now, Pryor, initially a persona non grata to me, remains my reference for a successful, convincing assault on Juan Manuel Marquez.
Pryor is not the brawler who buries his head into the opponent’s chest and bang away recklessly, overly relying on raw power. He had a virtual choreography in his footwork, using it adeptly to systematically approach his prey in an almost rhythmic side-to-side, back-and-forth movements until he finds the perfect angle to unleash a smart bomb, which will inevitably be followed by another bomb, and another bomb, as he moves in to engage in toe-to-toe mode. Then, the brawling would begin. Arguello, whose vaunted long reach, menacing jabs and crisp right straight hands, kept many a warrior at bay, was virtually helpless against Pryor.
In his prime Arguello was considered invincible. But why the devastating losses to Pryor? First, Arguello was fighting one weight class higher than his lightweight domain. Secondly, noted boxing analyst Frank Lotierzo believes that like Joe Louis, Arguello was vulnerable versus fighters who had fast feet. Lotierzo further explained, “That's not saying they couldn't fight fighters that had good movement. It is verifying that fighters who moved against them usually fared the best. The fighters who brought the fight to Arguello are the ones who he defeated in the most devastating fashion.”
Marquez, for all his sterling technical skills is not nearly as flawless as Arguello. And Pacquiao’s foot speed is probably superior to Pryor’s. My insistent reference to Pryor is based on the foregoing premises.
Somewhere in between the relentless wrecking ball, albeit with a precarious tendency to lunge and the calculating, scientific Pacquiao lies the potent style of Aaron Pryor that could produce the compelling victory for the illustrious Filipino fighter.
Now that Freddie Roach has been proclaiming that Manny will be as aggressive as a twenty year old, letting his hands go without hesitation, with a secret strategy to boot, I am more inclined – as a fan, by no means an expert - to watch out for images of Aaron Pryor in Manny’s performance.
Sid Bañez is an avid boxing fan and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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