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With one big counter right, a punch he has landed many times against Manny Pacquiao in the past, Juan Manuel Marquez ended the reign of the man that has been a thorn to his nation’s side. “The Mexicutioner” finally “mexicutioned”.
So what happened?
After getting the horns from the bull many times before, Marquez, the matador, was extraordinarily patient - even by his standards - in the first three rounds. Pacquiao took the first two rounds on points due to his aggression, while Marquez sat and bid his time.
Pacquiao, to his credit, also mixed in more head movements, and was more erratic in his approach, staying true to his promise before the fight that he will try to bring the young and aggressive Pacquiao of old.
But like a tempered clocksmith, Marquez was patiently timing and tuning his attack. In the third round, Marquez started his advance by throwing his left hook, as if setting up Pacquiao to go to his right. He threw the punch a couple of more times, inviting the Filipino boxing icon to engage. He threw a few more jabs, while waiting for Pacquiao’s move; waiting to execute his ruse. It was as if he were a harbinger biding his time for the perfect opportunity to reveal his secret.
Almost a minute went by, and Pacquiao was still being unusually careful. Marquez tried to wing his right in an exchange that misses badly. He bides his time again. A minute and a half, and Pacquiao is still not overcommitting. Marquez throws a left hook to the body that momentarily moves Pacquiao toward his right, but still, the Filipino remains disciplined. He throws it again, only to be checked and deflected. But with about 1:20 left in the round, Marquez leads with his left foot as if to throw another hook to the body, while winding up for a demon of a right. Pacquiao anticipated and motioned to parry with his right forearm, while leaving his left hand up to guard Marquez’s right. It didn’t matter. Marquez landed a looping right over Pacquiao’s glove that connected and dropped him to the canvas.
BOOM! Secret revealed.
The masses were left with either their jaws dropped, or jumping ecstatically as they witnessed an icon get reacquainted with his mortality.
Pacquiao, still dazed, stood back up on his feet, sporting a look of a man confused with what had just transpired. And who can blame him? Everyone, except Marquez, seemed to have felt and reacted the same way.
The action resumes, but instead of jumping at Pacquiao like a shark sensing blood, Marquez remained patient as if nothing happened. He simply resumed and continued the next steps to his choreographed dance. Pacquiao manages to find his bearings and came back with a few shots of his own, courageously finishing the round by throwing flurries.
Both fighters spent the fourth round going back-and-forth with few shots connecting clean. Pacquiao did, however, rediscover a punch that has worked for him many times before in the past: his lead left, as his sidesteps to the right. Pacquiao landed the punch on a couple of occasions, as Marquez continued to stalk his prey patiently. In the final seconds of the round, Marquez landed his one significant punch, another counter straight right that backed Pacquiao after lunging in to throw a combination.
The fifth round started with Pacquiao trying to lead with his left, following up on his success in the fourth. Marquez, still patient, was picking his shots, throwing straights and jabs in an attempt to set up Pacquiao. With a minute gone by, Pacquiao catches Marquez with a lead left that landed flush, buckling the Mexican’s feet as his left glove touches the canvas. Marquez threw a jab, and ate a left that he didn’t see that left him stunned with referee Kenny Bayless in his face giving him a standing 8-count.
The ensuing action was vintage Pacquiao. Sensing blood, Pacquiao tried to go in for the kill, throwing and connecting on 1-2’s and haymakers, as Marquez backed up while trying to use his jab to fend off his aggressor. And as he did in the past, Marquez found a way to survive the Pacquiao onslaught. The bell sounded, and Marquez retreated back to his corner licking his wounds.
Both fighters appeared to have settled down in the beginning of the sixth round; Pacquiao controlled his aggression, while Marquez seemed to have regained his composure and found his legs. Each fighter had their moments as they continued their dance, with Marquez starting to let his hands go more. At the sound of the clapper that marks the round’s final 10 seconds, Pacquiao connects on another left that renders Marquez off-balanced for a quick moment. Marquez came back with a combination, not readily yielding the round to Pacquiao.
And then it happened.
The punch heard around the world.
Marquez waited, as he did for a good portion of his thrilling, yet short-lived fourth battle with Pacquiao. And as soon as Pacquiao lunged in to throw his right jab, Marquez planted his feet while feinting, and landed a devastating right that ended the night.
Marquez knew Pacquiao was going to come at him like a Tazmanian Devil; he's seen it before. Marquez had a strategy from the opening bell. He exercised extreme patience. He waited for his chances. And knowing he trained and built up his power by solidifying his core, his strength and conditioning, he knew the same punches he used to land cleanly against his nemesis, will cause a lot more damage this time around.
Indeed, Pacquiao was winning rounds with his aggression, but Marquez prepared to win the war.
Pacquiao called Marquez's punch "lucky" after the fight. Well, there is that old cliche`: "Chance favors the prepared mind."
It was a fight that was won way before the opening bell. Marquez had studied and mastered the Pacquiao puzzle before. It was a matter of preparing and bringing the proper tools to get the job done.
Marquez trained hard to strengthen his core with strength and conditioning coach Guillermo Angel “Memo” Heredia, to execute what he had already went through in the past with legendary trainer Ignacio “Nacho” Beristain. Even Pacquiao’s strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza couldn’t help but admit and admire his counterpart’s handiwork.
“@ArizaFitness: @Guruscience Congratulations to you and the Team It was a Hell of a fight, JMM was smart to listen to You... Hopefully we do it again,” Ariza openly tweeted to Heredia after the fight.
Has science taken over the sport of boxing? Scientific nutrition guru Victor Conte shared his thoughts Pacquiao-Marquez 4 weeks prior to the fight. "Maybe they should call this 'Chemical Warfare: Ariza vs. Memo 2,'" Conte told this scribe in an interview.
TO BE CONTINUED...
OTHER TOP STORIES FROM THIS WRITER: 'Chance favors the prepared mind': Marquez trained to land KO blow / With Nacho in his corner, Arce confident he can end Donaire's run