Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez III. It’s finally here.
Well, it was here.
This was far from a classic, but it’s another solid triumph for Pacquiao, who will now be looking ahead to a huge payday with Floyd Mayweather sometime in the spring.
Experts said age would be a difference—Marquez is 38, Pacquiao 32—and Pacquiao was the far more active fighter, throwing 142 more punches than his opponent. But Marquez was solid and made it hard for the Filipino sensation to really get at him with power punches.
Marquez defended his body well, but Pacquiao hit on many more punches to the Mexican's head.
All told, Pacquiao wins—albeit indecisively and somewhat controversially—and retains his WBO welterweight title.
But how did it go down?
Check out the following slides for a round-by-round breakdown.
Manny looks absolutely cut, ripped and jacked. He’s ready to go. At the start of Round 1, Manny also looks quicker, bouncier and more balanced. He starts off defending a bit behind his jab.
Marquez is looking to counter with power shots.
Pac-Man is definitely more active, through. He gets Marquez squarely on the chest…and moments later on the nose, leaving a little mark.
But the vocal pro-Mexican crowd is making noise for its hero.
Good flurry from Marquez, but Manny escapes without much trouble. Marquez looks stronger, but Manny appears far quicker, and is just feeling Marquez out early. Manny is sitting back a bit more in the second half of the round.
Marquez misses with a couple of big rights, and Pacquiao seems to be dodging the power punches from Marquez pretty easily.
Pacquiao wins round 1, but narrowly. It’s not a huge victory by any stretch, but he had the better connections.
10-9, Manny Pacquiao.
Lots of dancing, but not much in the way of punching early on.
Marquez aims to be coming on strong with some power punches, but Manny escapes every time.
Manny, on the other hand, is trying to set up Marquez for combinations, but nothing major is connecting. Pac-Man is really doing more dodging and defense than anything else.
Marquez is trying to play the aggressor, but Manny is sitting back and feeling him out. Marquez hits a couple of body shots, but nothing too damaging.
Good combo by Marquez, ending with uppercut that he lands. Very solid combination.
Manny continues his strategy of dodging and moving, and even when he’s flat-footed, he’s so quick and hard to hit.
Marquez gets Round 2, but it’s tough to call. Very inconclusive. We’ll call it 19-19.
As the announcers suggest, this is a much more tactical start to the fight than either of these fighters' previous two matchups.
Finally, we see a good left hand from Pacquiao over the top of Marquez’s guard.
Marquez is still going for bigger punches, but he hasn’t landed anything of consequence.
Manny, on the other hand, is more strategic, dodging and setting up Marquez for what he hopes will be more damaging combinations.
Manny has to be defensive enough to withstand Marquez’s strong counter-punching says Jim Lampley, and it’s true. If Marquez connects, it could hurt Many.
But he hasn’t hit him yet. That’s the beauty of Pac-Man’s approach. He’s dodging everything.
We see a good combo from Manny, but a couple of solid replies from Marquez.
Late in the round, a right hook by Manny absolutely crushes Marquez…but Marquez keeps firing.
Manny wins Round 3 convincingly. The Filipino sensation is up 29-28 on my card.
Expert scorer Howard Lederer saying Manny is just sitting back, counter-punching and yet he's also able to look more active and in control. That’s why he wins decisions. And that comment would prove prophetic.
Anyway, to start the fourth round, we see some great back and forth punching. A big right from Marquez, but a lightning-quick combination from Pac-Man stuns Marquez back.
It appears that Marquez’s eye is starting to swell up from Pacquiao’s jab.
Marquez is still being the aggressor in terms of going after major punches, but Manny is getting out the way and softening the blow on every shot. I don’t believe he’s been hurt by a punch yet.
And just as I say that…
There's a huge right from Marquez to Manny’s face to end the round. That one definitely stuns Manny and gets him on his heels for the first time.
Despite that, Round 4 again goes to Manny, but once again, it was very close. 39-37, Pacquiao leads.
Marquez is still the aggressor as Round 5 gets underway, but Pacquiao is a “far more responsible defensive fighter,” as Jim Lampley eloquently states.
We see a good uppercut from Marquez, but 'tis but a scratch to Manny, who fires back with a solid combination to Marquez’s midsection.
Manny might be being a bit too defensive for some fans’ tastes, as he continues to sit back and wait for openings in Marquez's armor.
Then a hard right from Marquez knocks Manny way back on his heels. That right knocked Pac-Man squarely in the kisser. It was probably the best punch of the fight so far. And another big combination from Marquez connects.
The crowd is clearly behind Marquez, and that round goes definitively to Marquez. Still, the Mexican trails 48-47 on my scorecard.
The fighters come out tentatively again to start Round 6. Manny was cleared dazed by that punch late in the fifth, but he still seems quicker and more solidly defensive against the more aggressive Marquez.
Manny lands multiple combinations with Marquez near the ropes, dizzying the bigger Mexican fighter. Manny is finally landing solid punches that are clearly dazing Marquez. The two are exchanging big punches, many of which are landing solidly.
It's really a toe-to-toe round where each fighter tries to one-up his opponent. They're really duking it out.
As Lampley states, “These fighters know each other very well. It's the inherent beauty of the trilogy.”
Manny wins this round, though it was close, simply because he was more active and landed more useful punches. 58-56 so far in Pacquiao's favor.
Woof, a great right hook from Marquez early in the seventh. That hit Pac-Man’s body solidly.
Marquez is the bigger fighter and with his larger reach, he’s landing some punches from a longer distance, making them tougher for Manny to dodge.
Manny continues his strategy of punching more with a goal of accuracy…and that’s just right for Manny, who’s still feeling out the bigger Marquez and punching only when he sees a real opening.
The two continue exchanging solid blows in the middle of ring, but Marquez is landing with his right and it’s clearly affecting Pacquiao.
There are a couple of example of just astonishingly great footwork from Pac-Man, but he’s still getting hit more than he's used to.
Marquez wins Round 7 fairly decisively, but it's still 67-66, Pacquiao.
Max Kellerman warns viewers that this kind of back and forth fight has the looks of a draw. Man, I hope not.
Marquez is doing a fantastic job of making himself small and making it hard for Pacquiao to really hit him.
“No one has competed against Pacquiao since the last Marquez fight,” says Kellerman, and the Mexican warrior is certainly competing with him again tonight.
A good uppercut from Marquez, and Pac-Man once again is trying to get back and return the favor. But Marquez is going toe to toe with him and he's standing strong.
Pacquiao is still hitting and dodging with decent success. He's still showing amazing footwork to avoid getting hit hard, but Marquez is coming right at him and catching him with some regularity.
Great footwork will avoid you getting hit, but he’s not getting enough strikes on Marquez to really do much damage.
Marquez wins this one, but it’s super close. Call it 76-76 through eight rounds.
Marquez is staying compact and continuing to make it hard for Pac-Man to really get at him. Marquez does connect solidly with the back of Manny’s head, which dazes the Filipino champ, but that shouldn’t count as a scoring blow.
Manny is starting to look tired and Marquez continues trying to take it to him, though he's also having some success playing his traditional counter-attacking game. Marquez is really the one landing more scoring combos.
The middle of the round sees some great, quick combos from both, and for the first time in a while, Manny’s appear to be more effective. There's a huge uppercut from Marquez, but Manny comes back and knocks his opponent back against the ropes with another great combination.
Manny still the quicker fighter and is continuing to outwork Marquez, but Marquez is still landing the bigger punches.
Pacquiao wins this round with a great late flurry, but it wasn’t decisive. Call it 86-85 for Pacquiao through nine rounds.
Pacquiao is still jabbing well, but he's really trying to set up his deadly left. Marquez is rarely letting him get there, though, and that's the frustration of a solid defensive fight like this. But Manny has clearly become the aggressor in the last few rounds.
Marquez seems to go down to a knee, but it’s more of a push or awkwardness than anything resembling a knockdown. No points. Nothing to see here.
Then Manny lands a big combo, though in the middle of it, it appeared that Manny got head-butted by Marquez, and there’s now some blood on Manny’s face. The head-butt wasn't really the fault of Marquez, though. It was coincidental and completely accidental.
Whatever the case, Manny is now cut pretty badly above his right eye. But the fact that it was a head-butt that did it doesn't really count much against him.
Manny is still the aggressor, so we'll give the round to him. 96-94, Pac-Man.
Manny is still dodging and still deking, and he's starting to get at Marquez with some solid punches. Marquez is fighting back, though, and is definitely not standing still.
Finally, a big right and a follow with the left by Marquez really stuns Manny.
But after that flurry, both fighters have become standoffish, though. And there's not a lot of action through the middle of the round.
Could both fighters be getting a little tired? Hell, I am.
Both fighters are boxing now not to get hit hard, since both probably feel like they’re winning. At least, both are being told that by their trainers, though I feel like Marquez's trainers are wrong in making that assumption.
And there's a good right by Marquez to end the round. He’ll take the round, and I’m calling it 105-104 still in Pac-Man’s favor.
The problem is, there have been several very tight rounds that could go either way on a scorer's card. If this one goes to the scorecards, it’s going to be fascinating to see where the numbers land.
The final round.
Both fighters are still dancing and trying to show the judges how much life they still have, but the common feeling seems to be that Marquez needs to go after it, to at least win the round, if not go all out for a KO. Yes, it’s unlikely, but it might be his best chance now.
But because of what his corner men were telling him—he thinks he's got it in the bag—Marquez is remaining very conservative, and perhaps too much so.
There's very little action at all in the middle of the round, and it's clear that both fighters think they have a win just minutes away.
Manny even mysteriously loses his mouthpiece, but that just delays the boredom for another couple of seconds.
A solid combination from Pacquiao gives him the lead in the round with about 30 seconds left, and Marquez is still backing off.
The Mexican comes after Pacquiao like crazy to end the round, but Pacquiao dodges the onslaught easily.
It really just seems like a major tactical error from the Marquez camp.
But we'll see, as this one is going to the judges.
I give Round 12 to Pac-Man, and he gets the call on my scorecard, 115-113
And as it turns out, I'm not too far off from the judges.
Robert Hoyle scores it 114-114.
Dave Moretti has it 115-113.
Glen Trowbridge calls 116-112.
It's a win for Manny by majority decision.
Manny was far from dominating in this fight, but he got the better of the action, he got the better of the punches, and he was the aggressor when it really counted.
Marquez, perhaps because his corner kept telling him he was way ahead, feels like he got robbed. But I disagree.
Pac-Man keeps his title…but has the potential matchup with Mayweather lost a bit of its gusto?
We'll find out in the days to come.