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THE STORY BEHIND THE LATEST CHAPTER OF THE STILL UNFINISHED BOOK OF MANNY PACQUIAO’S LEGENDARY BOXING CAREER


PhilBoxing.com




Tungod, Inabanga, Bohol – It all started about four and a half months ago. Nacho Beristain, Juan Manuel Marquez, and Angel Heredia concocted a carefully formulated battle plan. In three previous outings, they used the exact same strategy and in all those three fights, their efforts came up short. Something had to change if they were to expect a different result. Nacho probably had the strongest resistance to that major change in their approach, but Juan Manuel’s determination to finally put an end to his misery and strength and conditioning coach Angel Heredia’s confidence and assurance about his expertise most likely softened the legendary coach’s stand. When all’s been said and done, Juan Manuel executed the battle plan to perfection with two perfectly executed and perfectly timed punches – one of which knocked his nemesis and professional nightmare out cold in the 6th round of their 4th encounter.

Juan Manuel Marquez was never known for his speed. His vast and sound boxing and counterpunching skills, coupled by his cunning and instinctual timing more than compensated for that deficiency throughout his long illustrious career. In a dramatic shift in Marquez camp’s line of attack for the fourth tussle with Pacquiao, they sacrificed this handicap even more to add extra premium to one major aspect of their battle plan – power. This was made more evident, as Pacquiao was able to come in and out in all those six eventful rounds, hitting Marquez with a punch or two while the Mexican seemed like a gunslinger that couldn’t pull the trigger. Pacquiao beat Marquez to the punch majority of the fight. Could it have been a consequence for building up his muscle or was he just loading it up right from the onset, waiting for the perfect time to deliver the killer? Or was it both?

During weigh-in, it was a bit of a surprise to find out that Marquez weighed four pounds lighter than Pacquiao did. Marquez looked bigger than Pacquiao, more so during fight night. Strength and conditioning coach Heredia (otherwise known as Hernandez) did a magnificent job increasing Juan Manuel’s muscle-mass-to-body-fat ratio through meticulously prepared diet and training regimen. The pee didn’t work, so they probably tried something more scientific… and the proof was in the pudding. That first knockdown was more telling than the second one. The punch went through Pacquiao’s glove and put a stationary Pacman flat on his back. Pacquiao looked more flabbergasted than hurt. In the earlier 38 rounds (3 previous encounters plus 2 earlier rounds before the first knockdown) that he’d traded punches with Marquez, Pacquiao probably had never felt as much power from man otherwise known as “Dinamita”. The knockout punch at the end of the 6th round, though much more devastating, was a result of Pacquiao coming in carelessly and Marquez delivering a perfect counterpunch.

Marquez got the vindication that he longed for… but what is it for Pacquiao? When I checked my email hours after watching that epic bout worthy of winning the fight of the year and knockout of the year awards, Gary Lodge, a friend of mine and a boxing expert said these lines: “Reylan what a shocking end to the fight. The Legendary Duran fell hard on his face against Tommy Hearns, out cold just like Pac was. The mark of great fighters is how they get up. Duran went on and up in weight to capture the Middleweight Championship of the world. Legends are made from this kind of thing. Pac will be back with a passion and a mission. It will be high drama. Pac looked real good while the fight lasted. Marquez looked great too. Great and memorable fight obviously. I can't wait for Pac to begin this next phase of his amazing boxing career. We all have our ups and downs, but it's how we get up that matters.”

I could not have said it any better. Apart from the knockdown in the 3rd round and the knockout in the 6th inning, Pacquiao had never looked as dominant against Marquez as he was in that fight (except perhaps for the 3 knockdowns in their first encounter). Pacquiao said in the interview that it was a “lucky punch”, but I’m sure he never meant to diminish in any way the triumph of Marquez. Rather, it was his way of saying that he still has what it takes to recover from this loss. He’s not done yet and the book isn’t finished yet. What could be a perfect storybook ending to this guy’s career? Perhaps he can go for the rematch against Bradley, which could serve as his preparation for the eventual rematch with Marquez for all the marbles. If I were Pacquiao, I’d forget Mayweather. He doesn’t need him to cement his already cemented legacy. But then again, that’s just me… we will never know what goes through their minds ‘til they sign the dotted lines.

Comments are highly appreciated. You can email them to reylanloberternos@yahoo.com.ph Follow me on twitter reylan_l


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Reylan Loberternos.


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