After 36 rounds, Marquez still a mystery to PacquiaoBy Francis T.J. Ochoa
Philippine Daily Inquirer
HOLLYWOOD—The guy carrying Juan Manuel Marquez’s paycheck for his third fight against Manny Pacquiao had some papers for the Mexican to sign.
“Get that away from me,” Marquez said. “You can have the money, just give me the win.”
Ricardo Jimenez, a Top Rank publicist, replayed the scene for Filipino journalists on Sunday just before they embarked on the road trip from Las Vegas and gave them a behind-the-scenes look at the Mexican’s camp after Saturday’s fight.
Jimenez painted a picture of a frustrated Marquez, whose retirement plans may not be the only one standing in the way of a fourth fight between the two warriors who have fought 36 rounds without clearly establishing who is the better fighter.
A mystery called Marquez
Marquez has offered Pacquiao a wily opponent with terrific counterpunching skills and, more importantly, a puzzle the volume-punching pound-for-pound king can’t seem to unravel.
“After 36 rounds, (Pacquiao) still can’t figure (Marquez) out,” Jimenez said. “He never will.”
Pacquiao won a majority decision at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. The decision opened up a possibility for a fourth fight, despite pronouncements by Marquez that he was retiring.
Fourth fight may not happen
Top Rank chief Bob Arum doesn’t think Marquez is retiring, but even given such an optimistic scenario, the fourth fight may not happen. While Pacquiao is amenable to another fight, Marquez is no longer as keen.
“What for?” Marquez told Jimenez. “There’s no way I can beat him.”
Jimenez said Marquez felt he fought a perfect fight after weeks of hard preparation and still did not get the nod of the judges.
“If I can’t beat him the way I fought tonight, there’s no way I can beat him,” Marquez said.
The 38-year-old, three-division champion earlier joked with journalists that even if he had knocked Pacquiao down, the judges would only “help him up and give him the win, anyway.”
Marquez, using uppercuts and right hooks that cleanly found their target, had the huge Garden Arena crowd roaring every time he connected.
CompuBox punch statistics seemed to back up Pacquiao, churning out numbers that showed he was the busier fighter that night.
Noted analyst Emanuel Steward said Marquez’s mistake was to fall back to his counterpunching ways in a championship fight in front of judges noted to favor aggressive fighters.
“Marquez did not fight like he wanted to take the championship,” Steward said. “That was a big mistake.”
Marquez made $5 million in a guaranteed purse. He is expected to double that amount once his share from the pay-per-view sales and ticket receipts are factored in.