Tag: Juan Manuel Marquez

Manny Pacquiao Reinvents Himself in China

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I am a little late to the Pacquiao-Rios fight coverage but sometimes you have to take the time required to allow an action packed boxing match to digest in your system.   Certain things send you directly to the keyboard.  Others allow you to wait.  After I watched the fight at a house full of boxing gents young and old, I was on the road to KC in less than 6 hours.  Out in the country of DeSoto Kansas, there isn’t a lot of internet reception for you to play with.   So the Pacquiao triumph on the other side of the world didn’t hit the page until now.  What transpired in Macau last Saturday night?  The reinvention of one of the best boxers of our generation.   Manny Pacquiao is back friends.

Facing a young bully puncher in Brandon Rios, living on a prayer in his highest paid fight card ever, Pacquiao had a lot to lose.   He could have ran into another right hand and slammed into the canvas.  His career could have ended far far away from Las Vegas, where he gathered most of his glory.   You can tell me all day how Rios was a straight forward moving talentless puncher, but I will remind you in the sport of boxing anything can happen at any time.  Manny knew that and so did Brandon.

From the first round, though, Manny was in control.   He was back at his crafty sharpness in the ring, jumping in like a rattlesnake with fierce combinations and darting and turning out of trouble.   At his best, Pac-Man doesn’t just stand in the middle and exchange.   He bounces around, fires left jabs and right hooks and slowly takes opponents apart who wrongfully judge a man’s size next to his punching power.   Rios smiled all night in an attempt to throw crazy snake eyes at a fighter who knew damage was being done.   Rios’ face usually doesn’t bruise that much.   He can take a punch and stand there and exchange.  The difference tonight was Pacquiao’s defense and quickness didn’t allow Rios to set his feet and fire anything back in return.   Sure, he landed a solid shot every once in a while but each time, Manny shook it off like his mother just slapped him and came right back.   Manny was relentless and boxed the younger fighter into exhaustion and frustration.   It was a clinic that PAC badly needed to put on for his fans and doubters.

A fair share of boxing fans were ready to bury Pacquiao’s career out in China.   You just couldn’t make out the invisible shovels next to their seats.   I knew Manny had a few great fights left in him.   I watched the Bradley fight over and over and saw how highway robbery.  I saw a guy starting to pound the opposing fighter’s face into bloody submission before that said opposer(Juan Manuel Marquez) landed a magical counter hook and knocked out our protagonist.  I didn’t see a disastrous loss of skill in Pacquiao.  Sure, he has aged a bit and lost some of his punching power.   However, smart boxers adapt and get better as they get older while others rely on the same old tricks and get flat lined quick.

When people say Pacquiao has lost something, I agree with them but leave out the negativity.   Every boxer loses something as they get older, and they must adapt to stay strong and at the top of their game.   Every boxer carries the every fight danger of getting dropped and Pac knows about this full well.  However, watching him fight against Rios, I noticed a stronger minded fighter than I had seen in his career.   Pac isn’t the killer he used to be and doesn’t have the blazing power that can stop Ricky Hatton in 2 rounds or destroy Oscar De La Hoya.  He is 34 years old and has to rely on different tricks, like punch accuracy and speed.   Pacquiao still has the speed and has brilliant accuracy when it comes to utilizing his jab and landing combinations.  If you have those two things in check, victory and time are in your corner.   Manny has lost something, as every great fighter not named Floyd Mayweather Jr.(as deadly at 36 as he was when he was 26) runs into at some point.  Pacquiao has rebounded by using a more tactical approach, one that includes even more head movement, jabs and combinations.   At his worst, Manny stands and trades.   At his best, against Rios, he darts in, picks apart his opponent and slips away.   He controls the space inside the ring and makes it torturous for the other fighter to get comfortable.

Manny is a changed fighter, but as we saw November 23rd in China, that is not necessarily a bad thing.   The movement and speed he showed could keep him going for another 2-3 years.   Judging by the face of Rios’ at the end of 12 brutal rounds, his power isn’t looking so bad either.  Manny’s shots would have destroyed other boxers quicker.  I give credit to Rios for being super tough, eating those punches and earning a decision loss.

Ladies and gentlemen, Pacquiao is BACK!

Thanks for reading,

Dan L. Buffa

@buffa82 on Twitter

Reach me at buffa82@gmail.com

Bradley-Marquez Wrapup And A Look Ahead in Boxing

Saturday night featured a fine matchup of counter punching specialists in Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez.   Both had beaten Manny Pacquiao(one convincingly, the other controversially) and were looking to climb on top of the other.  Bradley is still on a respect retrieval tour after his embarrassing decision win over Pacquiao in 2012.  It’s no shame to him because the judges control who wins a decision in boxing but hearing Bradley say in this month’s 24/7 series on HBO that he won the fight only makes my blood boil.   Marquez left all controversy to the creeps when he knocked out Manny last December. He knocked him out cold in the 6th round of a fight that he was losing and getting battered in.  Yes, it is impossible to discuss these two fighters without mentioning Pacquaio because he the link in the chain that pulled them together on October 12th, 2013.  What happened?

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Bradley took the older fighter to school, turning JMM into the hunter and making the fight a tactical war of boxers and leaving the slug fest to the crazier folk.  Bradley didn’t waste any time trading with Marquez or walking into the trap that was set for Pacquaio with the SHOT in December.  Bradley kept a distance, hammered Marquez with his jab and won on 2 of the 3 cards.  Many boxing analysts had no problem with a judge at ringside scoring it for Marquez but I had it a clear win for Bradley, eight rounds to four.  This was a decisive victory for the undefeated fighter nicknamed Desert Storm(maybe because nothing really exciting used to be happen in his fights).  Lately, Bradley didn’t do much convincingly.

In March, Bradley wanted to prove that he could stand in the middle and dish with a monster, and he picked The Serbian Express Ruslan Provodnikov(look at his face in pictures, he’s a human pitbull) for the exchange.  Bradley was torpedoed and nearly destroyed.  He was knocked down twice and beaten up early but recovered and delivered punishment of his own and won a very close decision over the Russian beast.   The fight messed up Bradley and made him sit out for two months without boxing activity.   In a sitdown with HBO’s Max Kellerman, Provodnikov said after watching the fight that he indeed lost.  That’s a big thing to say for any fighter, especially when I hear Bradley tell the cameras he won a Pacquiao fight where he left in a wheelchair and barely put a mark on Manny’s face.  It means a lot when I have to hear Marquez after the fight last night say he was robbed again.   For any man who makes his living with his hands and fights for a career, to admit failure and loss is big in my book.

Marquez is at a crossroads.   He didn’t fight a horrible fight but lost cleanly and may be only marketable for a Pacquiao 5th fight.  It seems that only the Filipino champ brings out the best in him and other fighters, at least lately, only make him look older and slower.  Marquez last night looked like the guy who tried to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. years ago.  He couldn’t sit back and lay a trap for Bradley because he had to spend the majority of the fight avoiding stiff jabs and every time he moved in, Bradley was waiting for a combination.  In a game of counter punchers, one man will have to come forward and take a risk and force a big moment.  Every time JMM did, he was met with big blows.  Bradley won at ease and only truly lost 2-4 rounds in my opinion.   What does Marquez do next?  He either retires or takes a fifth fight with Pac man.  Does that fight carry weight or seem exciting? I think so and here is why.

These two guys always produce thrilling toe to toe bloody battles and if Marquez can swallow his pride and see the worth, he should take on Manny again.  Why not?  Pacquiao wants revenge for a punch he never saw coming in a fight he was winning.  Marquez wants to cap off his career and why not show it was no fluke that he knocked out his arch nemesis.   They have fought four times and here is how I have scored them.   Manny won the first one with his three knockouts and decent finish.  The second fight was a bloody draw in my opinion.  Each fighter pummeled each other.  The third fight was Marquez’s, even though he did take his foot off the gas pedal in the 12th round and may have lost the fight there.  The fourth was a clean cold knockout but for nearly 6 rounds a battle of wills that was tipping towards Pacquiao.  Why fight five times?  Because four times isn’t enough and this sport can use as many entertaining bouts as it can get.   If he doesn’t fight Pacquiao, here is my tip for Marquez.

Contact the Miguel Cotto camp.  Cotto is a proud Puerto Rican champion and just demolished Delvin Rodriguez in a credibility contest that saw the 32 year look better than ever.  While Canelo Alvarez or a rematch with Mayweather Jr or Pacquiao could be in Cotto’s view, a fight with Marquez wouldn’t be bad either.  Think about the matchup.   Cotto is a hunter in the ring and walks down opponents for better or worse.  He always brings the fight and every one of his bouts are entertaining.   He has a great record full of battles.  Marquez wants to retain some credibility and score another win before retiring or go into 5th fight with Pac Man with some confidence.  Take on Cotto.  A power puncher who pursues against a counter puncher who likes to set traps and return fire.  It could be a good fight.

Bradley will probably make an attempt to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. and that will end in a refusal on Floyd’s part or a routine Money Team shutout victory.   I don’t consider Bradley one of the best because he didn’t beat Pac, barely beat Provodnikov and scored a decision win over a 40 year old.   He is improving but not one of the best.  A smarter play for him would be waiting for Pacquiao to defeat Brandon Rios next month and then setting up a rematch with him.  Until he erases that black hole off his resume, Bradley isn’t one of the best to me.  No way.   Wait for Pac to drop Rios and set up a rematch Tim.  I am sure your head can see more rest from that March fight with the Russian.

Next week, Colorado champ Mike Alvarado takes on Provodnikov on HBO in a battle that should bring out the blood buckets and cold press clamps.   Alvarado engaged in two legendary wars with Rios and won the second match decisively   He takes on a guy who nearly knocked Bradley’s head off.  Expect war.   I will be wrapping my hands as I watch the fight.

After that fight, be sure to catch Legendary Nights: Ward and Gatti, which chronicles the amazing three fights between Mickey Ward and Arturo Gatti.   While their fights were mesmerizing and thrilling, their friendship afterwards provided the true narrative of this tale.  Must watch.

That’s all I got fight fans.  Thanks for staying.

-Dan L. Buffa

@buffa82 on twitter

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