COMMENTARY | Manny Pacquiao has never really beaten Juan Manuel Marquez. There, I said it. It actually feels good having said it once and for all, right here, out in the open-- It's like a weight has been lifted off my chest and from around my shoulders. And guess what? I'm not the only one who feels this way. But, angry, hateful repercussions from Pacland be damned, I can only call 'em as I see 'em.
Before attempting to brand me as a "Pacquiao Hater" or some other such nonsense, let me just say that I don't hate Manny. I don't even dislike the guy. Actually, I quite enjoy watching him fight and have always given him credit as a "must see" talent. There's no doubt-- Pacquiao is a stellar fighter, a first ballot hall of famer, and a true credit to the sport. And when he finally hangs up his gloves, he'll be remembered as one of the greats of this era, maybe even the greatest of this era.
However, having great respect for a fighter doesn't mean that he gets a pass on all things. Pacquiao is just as guilty (if not more so) as Floyd Mayweather for the inability to make everyone's dream fight and, again, he has never really beaten Juan Manuel Marquez.
Of course, technically, it's not true that Pacquiao has never beaten Marquez. The Filipino icon did take away wins for two of three of his bouts with Marquez and got the nod from five of the nine total judges assigned to their trilogy. But as we all know, judges sometimes tend to be wrong, especially when it comes to the sport's cash cows. Often, the money makers of the sport will get the benefit of every possible doubt on close scorecards.
In this particular case, three close bouts resulted in two unfair scorecards in favor of Pacquiao, who did get the benefit of the doubt, over and over again, on close rounds.
In their 2004 first bout, Pacquiao sent Marquez to the canvas three times in the first round of their split decision draw. But, after that, the bout was all Marquez. The Mexican would land more power shots in eight of the remaining eleven rounds. Still, suffering three knockdowns creates an awful big deficit on the scorecards. The draw was, indeed, justified.
In 2008, Marquez also suffered a knockdown, but would do enough to take the close win-- until the actual scorecards were read. Two of the three judges would rule in Manny's favor, despite clearly being in the overwhelming minority. Experts from all over the world had seen Marquez win a close decision and even several members of the Filipino media, at the time, had seen Marquez as the winner.
In 2011, the situation repeated itself as Marquez nullified Pacquiao's offense and fought his way to what should've been a close decision victory. Instead, Pacquiao was given a majority decision and Marquez was left to ponder his future while fans and media showed their disapproval for yet another questionable decision in the series.
Pacquiao and Marquez are now headed to a fourth encounter December 8th and it's quite possible that things will once again end in controversy. If Manny still gets the benefit of every possible doubt on the scorecards, he will likely walk away with another tainted victory. It's always possible that one of the two will somehow catch fire and knock the other one out, but it's much more likely that they'll once again engage in a close back-and-forth battle that will leave their fate in the hands of the judges. And if everything stays true to form, Marquez will walk away in a funk-- The victor of three of four, yet the winner in none.
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 The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing.
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