With the seemingly endless circus atmosphere surrounding Manny Pacquiao, including singing, acting, endorsing, legislating, evangelizing ... oh yeah and boxing, it’s no surprise that the Filipino superstar may need to find time out to take a nap every now and then. We just didn’t expect it to take place in a boxing ring with 16,000 onlookers.
Saturday night Juan Manuel Marquez earned career redemption by putting Pacquiao to sleep. He didn’t just knock him out, he knocked him out cold.
The bout featured exciting back-and-forth action that included early knockdowns by both fighters. With neither fighter wanting to chance another contested or controversial decision, they came out swinging for the fences. During the sixth stanza an overly-aggressive Pacquiao stutter-stepped into a picture perfect overhand right and the fight was finished. If his team hadn’t wakened him with the help of smelling salt, Pacquiao might still be laid out, vacationing on the canvas.
For Marquez, the win was long overdue after a draw and two highly-disputed decisions in the pair’s previous three bouts. For the fourth bout, Marquez bulked up and promised to fight more aggressively to KO his previous conqueror. His plan worked to perfection. On the other hand, Pacquiao made a similar promise, looking to regain some of the excitement that had faded after a four-fight knockout drought and a highly controversial decision loss to Timothy Bradley, Jr.
With the devastating loss, Pacquiao may have lost more than his consciousness, but also an opportunity for the fight that everybody wanted to see, but more than likely was never going to happen: Pacquiao - Mayweather. It’s a shame that any time Pacquiao or Mayweather is mentioned separately, there must be a side discussion of the failed fight as fans of both sides play the blame game on the biggest rivals to never fight. The way I see it, both fighters are at major fault.
While many Mayweather fans detest me due to my aversion to the “Money May” persona, I have the utmost respect for the man’s skills inside the ring. There would have been nothing better than to see the universally acclaimed #1 and #2 fighters (regardless of which order was assigned) settle the pound-for-pound dispute in the ring. To this day, I don’t believe Mayweather was ever serious about seeing Pac-Man in the ring and it’s a shame. You’d have to think with the problems Pacquiao had with Marquez’s precision counter-punching over the years, a pinpoint accurate puncher like Mayweather would have a good chance at success. But at every opportunity to make the fight, Mayweather chose to make unprecedented demands.
First it was the out-of-nowhere allegations of steroid use that preceded the demand for stricter drug testing (Mayweather later had to come out of pocket for an undisclosed sum for the allegations in a defamation settlement with Pacquiao). When Pacquiao agreed to the testing, Mayweather demanded $100M. Later, when it appeared the two sides have been close to an agreement, Mayweather’s manager bizarrely proclaimed there had been no talks, despite reports to the contrary from the head of HBO Boxing and others who had been directly involved. The list of excuses goes on and on, but whether it was money, scheduling, drug-testing or something, it was always Money May saying why he wouldn’t accept the fight.
With that said, Pacquiao is far from blameless. His initial refusal for the drug testing only fueled the fire that he might be dirty despite his explanation that he feels giving blood weakens him. When it became evident that his promoter, Bob Arum, would rather recycle his own stable of fighters as Pacquiao opponents to maximize Top Rank profits rather than make the biggest fight in boxing history, Pacquiao did nothing. In nearly every interview regarding Mayweather, Pacquiao said he wanted the fight but deferred to Arum on making it happen.
While the strategy of allowing your promoter to guide your career may be beneficial for young, up and coming fighters, superstars have the rare opportunity to call their own shots. Had Pacquiao demanded the big money fight, it would have either happened or Mayweather’s ducking ways would’ve been exposed. Instead, his silence led to lesser and largely unwanted bouts against the likes of Joshua Clottey, Shane Mosley and Bradley.
Now that his chin has been checked and his future is in doubt, the bout that was never going to happen is even less likely. So instead of discussing the epic bout that couldn’t been, conspiracy theorists will continue to proclaim inside information on why it didn’t. In the meantime, if Pacquiao hasn’t fallen back to sleep, we’ll likely see Marquez – Pacquiao V, which is kind of like watching Martin reruns. You know the episode will be good, but you’re really only watching because there’s nothing better on television.