What a difference 12 hours makes. Last night was supposed to be the appetizer to the Manny Pacquiao – Floyd Mayweather, Jr. encore in May. Now, after the draw, split decision, and now majority decision last night (this author scored last night a 114-114 draw), the only thing that should be on Manny’s mind is a fourth fight with Juan Manuel Marquez and/or retirement. That’s right, retirement.
Both Pacquiao fights this year have indicated that he has taken a step backward. Yes, he dominated Shane Mosley, but Mosley was not in the ring to do anything but survive and Manny could not put him away. Last night, he faced Marquez for the third time and should won decisively. To his credit, Marquez fought the fight of his life—something that most of us didn’t expect him to be able to pull off since Mayweather slapped him in 2009. Since, Marquez’s victories and opponents have been just eh okay.
Last night, Manny looked reckless at times and failed to effectively use speed and angles to his advantage. He punched wildly in almost every round and had difficulty putting a game plan together to control a man who was bent on not doing much more than step back-counterpunch. When Pacquiao attacked, he often missed and was often countered. When Pacquiao moved, however, he scored.
Regardless, it is probably fair to say that Marquez lost the fight. When it comes to close rounds, ring generalship comes into play. The bottom line is that it was Manny who forced the action and dictated the pace. At the end of the night, such was probably the difference on the scorecards. Emanuel Steward was correct when he said that there is no way Marquez should have tried to coast his way to a decision. He never had a comfortable lead and you have to defeat the top fighter in the world decisively.
As much as Marquez-Pacquiao 3 was viewed as a lukewarm match-up, it absolutely must be done again or Manny must retire. The two men are not unlike Sugar Ray Robinson and Jake LaMotta. They must keep loading up until the best of the true emerges by unanimous decision or stoppage. To date, as stated above, such has not yet occurred and Manny will be the underdog if the Mayweather fight comes to fruition.
In the event that it doesn’t, then Floyd’s date in May can be filled with the winner of Miguel Cotto – Antonio Margarito. Alternatively, he can repair his image as a legal cheater by teeing it up again with Victor Ortiz. Either way, Floyd does not need to fight Manny anymore. After last night though, he may well finally want to.