Benny Ricardo breaks down Pacquiao vs Marquez
Twenty four rounds fought, four knockdowns and no clear cut winner after a draw and a split decision. One has gone up in weight to the Welterweight division where he has become so unbeatable, politicians can’t even beat him. The other drank his own urine and went up to the welterweight division and got the piss knocked out of him.
They were last seen in the same ring on March 15, 2008 and on that night the verdict was split and the decision went to Manny Pacquiao over Juan Manuel Marquez. The first meeting was on May 8, 2004 and that was a draw, only because Judge Burt Clemens could not count to three in round one. Marquez went down three times in the opening round and Clemens should of scored that opening round 10-6 and he did not. That should have been another split decision verdict in Pacquiao’s favor.
So truth be told, defensive counter punchers like Juan Manuel Marquez have always given Pacquiao problems. Marquez knows and can execute every conventional counter ever created in boxing. Truth be told, speed and power have always given Marquez problems and Pacquiao is quicker, straighter and stronger than ever.
So why are we having a trilogy fight? Pride is one reason and each thinks they can convincingly win this time around. Pacquiao’s trainer Freddy Roach said “No doubt in my mind, Manny beat Marquez in both fights, they were close fights but Manny won them both.”
At the Romanza Gym in Mexico City, Ignacio “Nacho” Beristain, the hall of fame trainer watches his fighter, Juan Manuel Marquez incorporate new training techniques to help him get the clear cut win over Manny Pacquiao. I had to come here to see the workouts for myself and mainly because Marquez is going to be fighting at welterweight again. The last time he prepared to fight at Welterweight was against Floyd Mayweather Jr. Before that fight Marquez drank his own urine to give him strength. Didn’t work as Mayweather knocked the piss out of him.
So no, Marquez is not drinking his own urine this time around. What he is doing though is working now with a conditioning coach. Angel Hernandez is in charge of making sure the 38 year old future Hall of Famer is ready for a defining fight for himself against Pacquiao.
Actually this guy is no Angel, he used to be Angel Heredia and now he’s Angel Hernandez. Kind of a self created Witness protection program that the Angel has conjured up for himself. Angel was the guy who supplied steroids to track stars Marion Jones and Tim Montgomery and later was spared charges and jail time by being the key government witness on all the steroids being distributed to world class athletes.
To sum it up, Angel had much better stuff than just plain old urine for his athletes to ingest. But supposedly he’s clean now and using natural substances to build up the strength and conditioning of Marquez.
The head of Top Rank, Bob Arum said during a conference call about steroids “They’re using naturally, totally legal substances, and using state of the art conditioning methods now. That’s not because of anything other than the fact that there have been advancements in legal methods. The steroid problem is fading into the past.”
Let’s hope that steroids is in the past but I hope that all the boxing commissions adopt the Olympic method of random blood and urine testing for steroids. It is the only sure way as Shane Mosley who was taking the steroids BALCO founder Victor Conte was giving him passed all the tests given to him by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Mosley was taking the steroids when he beat Oscar De La Hoya in their second fight in 2005.
In this case Marquez is more than willing to go ahead and subject himself to any kind of testing the commission would like him to do as long as Pacquiao is willing to do the same. As it should be.
I like this kind rhetoric as we need to clean up sports. It is isn’t mother’s milk or pre natal formulas that are producing these super human goliaths. In my former world of as a professional football player, when I played in the NFL from 1975 to 1985 I played with one man, Curtis Rouse with the Vikings, who weighed over 136 kilograms. Now every member of a team’s offensive line is 300-pound plus and there are over 800 of these beasts playing in the NFL and weighing upwards of 140 kilograms. The average life expectancy of these 140 kilograms plus linemen is now under 50.
Then you make the case for the cyclists, these guys take steroids and look like hunger victims. So you can see the kind of stamina that the blood doping can produce out of a body. Lean weight combined with powerful strength propels these guys up the Alps and through the streets of France to the Champs-Elysees. Frankly I always thought these bike riders took steroids to shrink their testicles. Yes, you try riding up the alps sitting on those little bitty seats. It feels like you are getting a constant male mammogram test.
I bring all this up because at no time in boxing history have we seen so many fighters scale up the weight divisions and actually gain power. One of the few rare ones in earlier times was Roberto “Hands of Stone” Duran. I consider Duran the greatest lightweight of all time. Duran made the jump to welterweight and beat Sugar Ray Leonard by decision. Duran was later destroyed by the long reach of Tommy Hearns and was dropped face first on the canvas.
Duran was sensational in going the distance with the seemingly unbeatable Marvelous Marvin Hagler who destroyed Hearns in 3 rounds. Duran then combines wicked power and precision to topple much bigger men in Davey Moore and Iran Barkley. So it was done in the past in boxing.
Now you have Manny Pacquiao who combined with the tutelage of a great trainer in Freddy Roach and his conditioning coach Alex Ariza, has turned himself into a solid Welterweight and even Super Welterweight or Jr. Middleweight. The key to all these wins however has not just been Pacquiao’s conditioning but the catch weight specified in the contracts for the fight.
Oscar De La Hoya had to weigh 65.77 kilograms , not 66.678 kilograms, he looked emaciated and it showed in his performance against Pacquiao.
That performance by Pacquiao is what won me over towards Team Pacquiao. From trainer Roach who knew the opponents inability to get off with his punches to the physical conditioning of Ariza to add weight to his fighter and still keep his speed and stamina, was an amazing thing to witness.
I was totally wrong for that fight as I thought big man beats littler man. I thought Oscar would land his left hook on Pacquiao and box him with his reach. Yet Roach who trained Oscar for his fight with Mayweather, knew Oscar was shot and could not get off anymore. Freddy was right on and the plan he gave Manny was perfect.
Add to the mix the willingness of Pacquiao to go past whatever Ariza gave him and do these seemingly insane 5 hours non stop workouts. The pace is maniacal, it is wilting to watch let alone be doing it. I really believe that watching Pacquiao has been the biggest blessing for a young Amir Khan as he’s now adopted the same training regimen.
The element of the unknown in sports is a fascinating thing towards the psyche of an athlete and especially a fighter.
I always thought I had an advantage to make it in the NFL as I worked at the training camps of the San Diego Chargers, so I knew what I had to do to make it in the NFL.
Likewise for Khan to have seen Pacquiao do it, has been his eye opening experience. Khan now has his ears open for Roach and Ariza and will himself to Pacquiao like shape.
I really believe that the catch weight is something Roach and Ariza really put time into. Antonio Margarito looked phenomenal a week and a half before the Pacquio fight weighing 69.85 kilograms. I knew having to get down to 68.03 kilograms was going to be his demise as there did not seem to be anymore weight to lose. Sure enough it was as there was nothing in his body to fend off the speed and accuracy of Pacquiao. Margarito was so overwhelmed by Pacquiao’s speed that he thought he was fighting Manny, Moe and Jack.
Marquez weighed 64.41 kilograms for the Mayweather fight. Mayweather said the heck with the catch weight and was 0.90 kilograms over and paid the difference specified in the fight contract.
Mayweather then proceeded to destroy Marquez in the ring. It was the classic bigger man beating the smaller man. In no way other than maybe the way he stood for the Mexican National Anthem, did Marquez look like a Hall of Fame fighter against Mayweather.
How they stack up
Catch weight is not a factor in this fight, they have fought at Featherweight and at Super Featherweight and at each weight you got two very close fights. I know that Pacquiao was killing himself trying to make the weight at Super Featherweight and it’s like he’s released his body to grow at Welterweight.
Marquez on the other hand is a Hall of Fame fighter at Featherweight, Super Featherweight and Lightweight, but not at welterweight. Right after the Mayweather fight Marquez immediately dropped back down to Lightweight and got up off the canvas in the Michael Katsidis fight to knock out Katsidis in the 9th. But will he be able to take the punch of a weltereight that knocks him down? He’s already gotten up off the canvas 4-times against Pacquiao and closed out the fight in grand fashion.
Then and Now:
I looked into the eyes of Marquez’s trainer Nacho Beristain as he calmly told me “Pacquio is much more predictable that in the first two fights.” Those words keep staying with me. Beristain described the Pacquiao of the first two fights as the equivalent of facing a Cheetah in the wild with rabies. The Cheetah cat with rabies was totally unpredictable and it was liable to do anything at anytime.
Now Pacquiao is a two handed fighter, equally adapt at striking from any angle with either hand. He is also more down the middle with his punches and his feet are always set underneath him. Rarely does he lunge anymore and with his physical conditioning at optimum level he can execute from bell to bell.
But with refinement come the dangers of predictability. That is what I am seeing in the eyes of a trainer who has produced 22-World Champions. He really believes it will be easier this time around for Marquez as Pacquiao is now a beautiful text book like fighter in style.
You merely have to go back to the great Naseem Hamed to make this point. When Hamed was the wild cheetah affected with rabies, he threw those bolo punches, that came from seemingly underneath the ring someplace. How could a fighter possibly get ready for punches that came from the angles he had never seen before. Both Hamed and Pacquiao got their wicked power from their legs. But once Hamed refined himself then Marco Antonio Barrera was able to put on a boxing clinic before him.
So now Marquez sees the opportunity to train to more than ever stay down the middle with his punches. Whatever speed the hands of Marquez may lack, he makes up for it with how quickly his mind processes the opening he sees and lets go with his hands. He knows Pacquiao’s aggressive tendency, so he is not going to have to go look for Pacquiao. So when Pacquiao comes calling and if he makes one mistake, Marquez knows how to counter it and make Pacquiao pay.
Nobody has been able to exploit Pacquiao’s mistakes like Marquez has and in the steely eyes of his trainer, they see a great opportunity this time around against a more technically sound fighter in Pacquiao.
Advantage Pacquiao, he may be more predictable but at 38 can Marquez sustain the pace for 12 rounds to exploit the predictable attack of Pacquiao? Pacquiao today is bette than the Pacquio of then.
This has to be broken down in three categories, hand speed, foot speed and speed of mind.
Hand speed belongs to Pacquiao, but as was shown in the two previous fights, the mind speed of Marquez neutralized the hand speed of Pacquiao. Take the first round of their first fight in which Marquez dropped to the canvas three times. Those were shock knockouts. Shocked at how fast the hands of Pacquiao came at him and from angles he never expected. Marquez braced every fall and got up from the canvas and put on a boxing performance that was mind boggling. When was the last time you saw a fighter drop to the canvas three times and come back to get a draw?
So in that performance is your proof of what mind speed can do to hand speed. Marquez adjusted perfectly.
Foot speed I give the advantage to Pacquiao but yet technically I give Marquez the edge in where he places his feet. Rarely is Marquez out of position or lunging in.
Advantage Paquiao as when even a smart fighter ages, what the mind wants to do and what the body is able to do are not always connected to receive the instructions. The communication wires get frayed and worn. But then Nacho Beristain said to me “Juan has fought 24 rounds with Pacquiao and his speed did not harm Juan in any way.” But yet 4 knockdowns in 24 rounds, advantage Pacquiao.
These two team are the two best in the world today. A case can be made for Robert Garcia as an up and coming trainer, Emmanuel Steward has only developed one World Champion and that was Tommy Hearns, but trains big names now like the Klitschkos.
Look at the names of the fighters that Nacho Beristain has trained in his Hall of Fame career. Starting with the spectacular Ricardo “Finito” Lopez, he was a thing of beauty to watch in the ring. So technically sound, so effortless, so effective. Beristain also trained the wild showman Jorge “Maromero” Paez and the great Daniel Zaragosa. But what he has done lately with Jhonny Gonzalez is simply amazing. Beristain has taken the heavy handed all out puncher in Gonzalez and kept the power while making him a technically sound and thinking boxer.
With that mild demeanor and calm in the ring, Beristain gets his message across. Beristain says the plan for Pacquiao will come once they see him in the ring on November 12. After they see his speed and movement, they will adapt a plan to counter. So I will make sure our producers turn up the volume in the corned so I can translate for all of you Beristain’s instructions for Marquez.
Look at what Beristain has done with Marquez, a fighter who lost his first fight as a pro to a guy named Duran by DQ in the first round. The odds of a guy losing his pro debut and becoming a three division world champion is about as good as Mike Tyson saying about his wife “We met at a MENSA meeting.” Bernard Hopkins also lost in his pro-debut, so maybe Mike meet his wife at a MENSA meeting.
For Freddy Roach, Pacquiao has been his crowned jewel. He first trained Pacquiao when he faced Lehlohonolo Ledwaba in 2001 and that turned into a 6-round KO win for Pacquiao. The beginning of an extraordinary journey was on and the legendary career would be shaped one punch at a time.
It is why you see the genuine admiration of a trainer like Beristain comment on the maturation and improvement of a fighter like Pacquiao. Roach turned Pacquiao into a two handed fighter who now throws straight punches. He still has the Lion’s heart, but now thinks his fists through an opponent.
The synergy between both of these fighters and their trainers is really amazing. I really can’t pick one over the other as I have so much respect for both.
Advantage: Let’s call it even on the trainers and may the best man on November 12th win.
So who do I think is going to win this fight. Juan Manuel Marquez has worn the T-shirts saying he won the two fights, he went to the Philippines to tell the world he beat Pacquiao in both of the fights. You have a guy who has gotten up off the canvas four times in 24 rounds against Pacquiao to finish strong and maybe he did, maybe he didn’t win the fights. But man did he put on a performance for the ages. So in many ways Marquez has already won as he got what he wanted. Pacquiao did not need to give him this fight.
But now at this weight, the fight is all Pacquiao, he is comfortable at this weight, his legs carry it very well. So well that he has seemingly gained speed not lost any. Vivid in my mind is Marquez’s one and only performance at Welterweight against Mayweather and he was totally outclassed and destroyed.
So I don’t give Marquez much of a chance at all and even see Pacquiao knocking him out once and for all. Pacquiao craves that knockout for his pride and his legacy. But styles make fights and Marquez has had the style that counters Pacquiao’s style. But can he keep getting up off the canvas to do it, I say not this time.
But either way it will be a sensational fight as these two fighters represent all that is good in boxing. Two first class warriors who when the bell ring let the leather fly and give you everything they have.
Be ready for a war, but at the end, the man so unbeatable that Politicians can’t even beat him will rule Supreme. Manny Pacquiao by KO in the 7th.
Highlights of their last fight:-
WATCH LIVE STREAM OF PACQUIAO VS MARQUEZ HERE