[The following sequence takes place in June 2013.]
They avoid the throng of assembled media and fans waiting outside of Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Gym by slipping through the backdoor. The attempt of diversion has worked, as their security detail and assorted personnel has fooled this mass into believing they’re coming outside soon.
They’re not… they’re gone.
But I know these two, especially Manny Pacquiao, and he’s fooled me before- but not this time. I know he doesn’t like crowds after workouts and he’s time sensitive. So as he slips into his red-hot, yellow Ferrari Testarossa, I’m surprised to see Juan Manuel Marquez alongside him in his black Lamborghini.
“So uh… Who won?” I asked both of them.
Grinning, with faces marked by combat, the unlikely duo jumps quickly into their racecars and start their engines. “Wait! Wait!! Are you preparing for Floyd and Canelo?” I scream (as a few intrepid reporters and fans appear).
They look over at each other, and then back at me, before saying at the same time: “Yeah.”
And just like that, their vehicles wade through a sea of fans with wide eyeballs, media scribes, flashbulbs and hangers-on. As they speed into L.A. and its famous sunset with Pacquiao slightly ahead, something dawns on me.
Pacquiao looks different.
Juan Manuel looks the same, plus he had on a Memo Heredia t-shirt, but Manny looked… Better. “That’s the November 2009 version of Manny Pacquiao you just saw”, says Roach, completely out of the blue and reading my mind. “We’re gonna beat the hell out of Floyd. There’s no love lost there. And Marquez can’t stand Canelo Alvarez either. So they were in here working on some things.”
Canelo vs. Marquez
Call it whatever you want, but Juan Manuel Marquez and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez don’t like each other at all. It would seem the source of the problem is Marquez himself, since Alvarez is decidedly younger and really not the talkative sort.
It was Marquez who went all over Mexican television to deride him at every turn and sum him up as “overrated”. Marquez has privately seethed at the immense popularity and fame of Canelo, and has been as motivated by his rise, as he’s been by the eternal rivalry he’s had with arch nemesis Manny Pacquiao.
So when talks fell apart for a fight between Canelo and Mayweather on September 14th, the teams of Marquez and Pacquiao pulled off what can only be called the biggest coup in boxing history. This PPV card is going to shatter all records on its way to never being broken.
Putting his beef with Pacquiao aside for the moment and telling Tim Bradley to go fly a kite, Marquez decides to steal from the fountain of youth once more. Him and Heredia decide to put another 5lbs on his frame to bring down Canelo, who is nothing but eager to pound Marquez into submission.
Juan Manuel Marquez is an expert technician. He is one of the greatest fighters in Mexican history, and one of the finest counter-punchers the sport has ever produced. Ricardo Lopez is arguably Nacho Beristain's finest work, but Marquez isn't far behind. He's technically superior to almost any fighter, has flawless coordination and balance, vastly underrated power and supreme intelligence. Make one mistake with him and you'll pay- ask Manny Pacquiao.
“Dicen que es inteligente, pero era estúpido como para estar de acuerdo con esto”, Canelo said. “Voy a asegurarme de que nunca lucha de nuevo. Alguna vez.”
From the outset, it looks like Canelo was right. It doesn’t look as if Marquez made a wise choice indeed. He is noticeably slower in hand and foot speed than his younger foe, and his power is not bothering Canelo. What's more, is through 5 rounds, Alvarez is hitting Marquez in a way that doesn't seem to be with full impact.
He's carrying Marquez.
Having re-hydrated to about 170lbs, the main problem Marquez is having stems from the fact that he's facing in Canelo a younger version of himself. He's not making the impact he usually makes with his punches on Alvarez, who is systematically dismantling him.
After about 8 virtually one-sided rounds, a bleeding, cut, and badly beaten Marquez fails to come off the stool, giving Saul "Canelo" Alvarez a form of vengeance with a dominating 9th round TKO victory.
Mayweather vs. Pacquiao
It was after the November 2009 fight between Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto that the rivalry between Floyd and Manny hit a fever pitch. Seated next to Shane Mosley was Floyd Sr., who in a look of shock and awe over what he'd just witnessed, suggested that his son not fight Pacquiao.
When pressed to clarify this, Floyd Sr. then changed the course of boxing history by suggesting that Pacquiao was aided by PED's.
You know the rest.
Now, 4 years later, the upcoming version of Floyd Mayweather gets set to face the most complete form of Pacquiao we've ever seen. This fight is an absolute war.
Manny Pacquiao is an immaculately conditioned warrior and an offensive mastermind. He is the type of punching machine that hasn't been seen since the days of the great Aaron Pryor- and he's even more versatile and explosive than him. Pacquiao has lightening speed, is fearless, has a granite chin, doesn't fatigue, posseses sublime footwork and solid ring generalship.
He is the best and most successful southpaw of all time, works unusual angles to deliver his deadly arsenal, and does possess one punch KO power. He will win no defensive awards, but he just may be the best offensive fighter in the history of the sport. He is an icon in his native Phillipines, its greatest fighter ever, and he is one of the greatest fighters to have ever lived.
Mayweather is having a problem with Pacquiao's speed. Its not because he isn't fast, he's just not used to someone "this fast". There is no feeling out process at all, as Manny takes the fight directly to Mayweather, who has difficulty tying him up.
Mayweather is timing Pacquiao with nice right hand leads, but absorbing a punishing attack to his upper torso. Pacquiao is punching "through" Mayweather and with him, and because Floyd doesn't want to get hit- he is.
Deciding he's thinking too much and taking too many punches over 4 rounds, an angry Mayweather decides to take the fight directly to Pacquiao, who is only too eager for this. He starts striking Manny with more lead rights, counter check hooks, intermittant jab strikes to the body and a few uppercuts. He reminds you of the "Pretty Boy Floyd" who got downright nasty with Jesus Chavez several years ago.
Through 8 rounds, its turned into a fairly even war with Pacquiao slightly ahead, but this is where things would turn. Pacquiao is a far more damaging puncher than Mayweather, who isn't really designed to fight the type of fight he's been forced into. His eyes are swelling, he's cut, and he's bleeding from the nose.
He's also in water with a shark.
Turning up the fury and intensity of his offense, Pacquiao starts to bludgeon Mayweather in the 9th and 10th. And the 11th, he experiences the complete wrath of Pacquiao for things said and seen, taking a shocking beating before Eddie Cotton jumps in to halt things.
Manny Pacquiao scores a riveting and absolutely enthralling 11th round TKO over Floyd Mayweather, in a war for the ages.