Fighting is not about who’s better heading into the fight, or who’s better during that day. It’s about who’s better at every moment.
Yup, fighting is about getting the upper hand during split seconds of battle. A few years back, I was watching this show on National Geographic called Fight Science. And by the end of the series, that was what one expert said regarding fighting.
I couldn’t help but think back to that statement when I heard the news that Manny Pacquiao lost to longtime nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez. By knockout. No, that wouldn’t suffice. By KNOCKOUT.
I always had this idea that Pacquiao, being the once-in-a-lifetime living legend that he is, will also lose once in a lifetime. And I never thought he would lose this way. That travesty of a loss to Timothy Bradley was not enough, perhaps. Because that wasn’t really a loss. But his fight before that, JMM-Pacquiao III, should have been a loss.
As Rasheed Wallace says, ball don’t lie — or in this case, glove don’t lie.
I didn’t get the chance to see the fight live. What I did get to see, though, were copious amounts of Twitter updates from regular viewers like my friends, to news agencies like ANC and Inquirer, to Yahoo! Sports’ Kevin Iole. I saw serious tweets, objective tweets, funny tweets, pro- and anti-Pacquiao tweets. I saw tweets from those who complained because they couldn’t watch, I saw tweets from indifferent people.
My point is, I was very much updated with what was happening.
Check this info out from Interaksyon, showing the punch stats of the fight. Manny connected on 94 punches compared to Marquez’s 52, 26 to 11 on jabs, and 68 to 41 on power punches. Pacquiao, based on punch stats, was clearly ahead.
The difference was that JMM landed the more important power shots of the fight by knocking Pacquiao down in the 3rd round and finishing him off in the 6th.
Remember how NatGeo said that fights depend on who’s better during the moment?
To support the fact that Pacquiao was ahead in the fight, I read this from Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports:
Judges all had it 47-46 for Pacquiao at time of stoppage
— Kevin Iole (@KevinI) December 9, 2012
Pacquiao was ahead and the judges saw it that way. Even my Twitter feed said so. I saw a lot of tweets saying Pacquiao was controlling the fight, that he was storming, that he was more aggressive. And that got him ahead in points. He even brought Marquez to the canvas in the fifth round.
But come the sixth, both fighters traded blows. Being the counterpuncher that he is, Marquez ducked under to let Pacquiao’s right hook go astray. And he let a looping right hook go, all his weight behind it, leaned in to Pacquiao. A hard right counter haymaker lands flush in Pacquiao’s face, sending the eight-division world champion face-first into the mat, a knockdown eerily similar to the way he knocked Ricky Hatton out.
During that brief moment, that split second of trading blows, Marquez was the better man. If there is any sport where single moments cause big changes, it is boxing.
The knockout not only changed the fight (and a possible contender for KO of the year). It may have changed Manny Pacquiao’s stellar career as well.