COMMENTARY | It's nearly heartbreaking to think that Manny Pacquiao is actually serious when he says that he was knocked out last December by a "lucky" punch.
The pop culture icon from the Philippines has been all things to most people for the last several years -- from politician to pop singer to product pitch man -- but his main gig has always been as poster boy for all things right and decent in professional boxing.
Some may have poked a probing finger here and there at his resume and wondered aloud whether a certain amount of smoke and mirrors accompanied the sound and fury, but nobody could ever really accuse the eight-division world titlist of being anything less than earnest.
Pacquiao, when it comes to his ring work and the way he places himself in the madness of the boxing scene, has always been a stand-up guy in a world of hucksters and flat-out frauds. Whether one agreed or disagreed with Manny's black and white, good vs. evil boxing pathos, it could never be denied that what he said, he meant.
That's why this assertion that Juan Manuel Marquez got lucky is so disappointing.
"It's part of boxing ... sometimes you lose and sometimes you win -- and I think [Marquez] just got lucky, he got a lucky break in that fight," Pacquiao told Boxingscene recently.
Yeah, lucky punches can and do happen. But saying that anything involving the Mexico City professor of counter-punching, Marquez, is lucky is like saying that a jolting Babe Ruth home run was lucky or that a beautiful Michael Jordan dunk was the product of merely being in the right place at the right time. It's a dismissal of obvious greatness that borders on the absurd and makes the source of the quote look equal parts bitter and dishonest.
Pacquiao, for all his wounded professional pride, is also a professional prizefighter who understands the game and understands what it takes to execute at the highest levels of the sport. A lucky punch is something that doesn't happen at the elite level -- unless a huge leap can be made and luck can somehow be redefined as the product flawless timing executed after incredible amounts of preparation.
In other words, you can't beat a fighter like Manny Pacquiao by just being "lucky." To claim so would be an insult to both Pacquiao and Marquez, as well as to the sport. Pacquiao has to know this at some level and is either in denial or being intentionally dishonest.
Marquez, like any other professional would, sees the Pacquiao statement as a dismissive insult. But it's not the type of thing that will goad the soon-to-be 40-year-old fighter into a rage. Marquez, like most other smart boxing people, knows that Pacquiao's claims are bordering on laughable.
"I think Manny Pacquiao is throwing out some bait and hoping that I catch it," Marquez told Boxingscene in response. "A lot of people know that it was not a stroke of luck, I was practicing [that punch] in the gym. I don't like to talk about it, but I used the same punch -- two times -- to drop a sparring partner [in training camp]. I said it [before the fight] that we knew each other so well that any change that [one of use would make] was going to be so important and so it turned out in my favor. We studied him and we worked hard on our power and to see if we could catch Pacquiao [with that punch]. [But no matter what he says] there will not be a fifth fight."
At this point, it may be hard to justify a career-stalling face-first knockout for Pacquiao. The fallout after his KO loss was pretty darn harsh for the future first-ballot Hall of Famer. The silly claims of "luck" will dissipate when/if Pacquiao can beat the hard-charging Brandon Rios in November and another solid opponent after that.
Until then, though, all that stands between Manny and a massive amount of wounded championship pride is the feeling that he was just at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and as Editor-in-Chief of The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing. For breaking news, additional analysis, and assorted crazy commentary, follow him on Facebook, @TheBoxingTribune or on Twitter, @BoxingBTBC.Source: Boxingscene
- Sports & Recreation
- Manny Pacquiao
- Juan Manuel Marquez