“Pacquiao. Is going. To get. A good. Ass. Whoopin’” part 4

-Roger Mayweather, the world’s most accidentally hilarious   trainer in the history of the sport.

 

 

Pt. 4 of 5: Conversion and Concussion

 

Never in the history of any sport has any athlete made more money for more people by getting his ass kicked than Oscar De La Hoya. Even the great Sugar Ray Robinson, over whom a single victory was an all-expenses paid trip to the hall of fame, didn’t produce any think like what De La Hoya has, and Robinson fought on until he was in his forties.

 

However, De La Hoya created something Robinson never could: champions who immediately rose to the ethereal realm of million dollar draws. Here is a list of people who were superstars the second they beat his ass:

 

  1. Floyd Mayweather – total profit after the fight: easily over half a billion dollars
  2. Pacquiao – total profit after the fight: hundreds of millions
  3. Bernard Hopkins – total profit after KO-ing Oscar with a body shot that left him writhing around on the canvas like a worm baking in the street after heavy rain: hundreds of millions
  4. Shane Mosley – total profit after the fights: hundreds of millions, and gave him the credibility to get the Margarito fight despite signs of decline.
  5. Felix Trinidad – total profit after the fights: millions, despite the fact that everyone on earth except the three people judging the fight gave it to Oscar. Even a legitimate loss was enough if you got the win, and several fights later he got his ass knocked out by Bernard Hopkins in 12. As De La Hoya never really got over the Trinidad fight, that was enough to justify t Hopkins getting the shot against De La Hoya when the time came.

 

In fact, the only person involved in the previously addressed web of fighters vying for supremacy in the Welterweight division who never got a De La Hoya fight was Juan Manuel Marquez, and he was relegated to being the B side of any multi-million dollar fight he ever got against them. He never even came close to being a pay-per-view star; at least not on any truly significant level in anywhere other than his native Mexico.

 

In 2011, Marquez had made it up to Jr. Welterweight (140) after a three-year campaign at lightweight. His first fight at 140 was a first round KO of a fighter who is only remembered – and subconsciously at that – as getting KO’d by Marquez in the first round.

 

Unable to be seriously considered a Welterweight given that a 5’7’’ man who started his career at Featherweight (126) just doesn’t have the physiology to make the jump, the third Pacquiao fight was contracted at catchweight of 144. It was expected to be a walkover, and considering that the 38 year old champion was fighting nine lbs. higher than he ever had before and had never faced a serious opponent at those weights, betting was through the roof.

 

Before the fight, Jim Lampley gave some interesting commentary that would prove prophetic:

 

“Compubox numbers, and in the first two fights, the same pattern was observed in both fights. And that pattern is, Pacquiao throws more, and particularly throws more jabs. But lands at a lower percentage than Marquez, who landed more punches and landed more power punches in both of the two fights, and landed at a higher connect percentage in both of the two fights.”

 

The most important statistic however: knockdowns. In 24 rounds, Pacquiao was able to put Marquez on the canvass four times. Marquez never was able to get Pacquiao down. And that’s the reason that Pacquiao has a draw and a one point win in two fights coming in to tonight.”

 

And later:

 

“Since those two fights, Manny Pacquiao has mounted one of the most amazing runs in the history of the sport. He went up to Lightweight beat David Diaz. He went to Welterweight and beat Oscar De La Hoya. He beat Ricky Hatton at Junion Middleweight. He beat Miguel Cotto at Welterweight. He went to 154 lbs. and beat Joshua Clottey. He easily beat a much bigger Antonio Margarito. He walked through Shane Mosley at Welterweight. Every one of those fighters, a naturally larger man than Pacquiao, none of them anywhere close to giving him competition in the ring.”

 

Emanuel Steward: “And you know what, in addition to those being such big, famous marquee names, he probably lost about four rounds total.”

 

Jim Lampley: “He annihilated them.”

 

By round 12, the cut over Pacquiao’s eye and the right hand he ate just before the bell told the story. In his corner, Freddie Roach was imploring Pacquiao to “put this guy on his ass for me”, as Pacquiao grimaced from having gauze pressed into his the two inch cut over his right eye. In contrast, Marquez’s corner ecstatically told him the fight was his.

 

A young Max Kellerman – heir apparent to the aging Lampley, commented that “Marquez’s corner is telling him he’s winning, Freddie Roach is telling Pacquiao to put him on his ass, and the crowd seems to think Marquez is winning.”

 

Once again, after 36 rounds, there was no resolution. A majority decision (two winning cards and a draw) followed, and Pacquiao, still champion, was easily found for an interview. Just as it began, Max Kellerman’s microphone failed, and all that could be heard was a chorus of boos from the crowd. Marquez simply walked out of the building in disgust. Once the microphone situation was resolved, Kellerman had to wait at least ten seconds until the booing subsided enough that he could be heard over the MGM Grand’s state of the art audio system.

 

Steward blamed Marquez’s corner for telling him he was winning, but the bottom line was that nobody except the most staunch Filipino fan was going to accept 2-0-1. It wasn’t just a bad reflection of the trilogy, it simply wasn’t right for Marquez to be empty handed in three fights.

 

It was after this fight that two significant events occurred in Manny Pacquiao’s life. The first was a profound conversion and dedication to Catholicism in early 2012. Considering that the public was calling for a fourth fight against Marquez after the December 11, 2011“victory”, it was probably a sound move. He openly told the world that he had personally heard the voice of god, and had seen two angels and Jesus. I’m sure he believed this. After what he took from Marquez, I’d be hearing echoing voices and seeing orbs of bright light for a month too. I’m just not sure the events surrounding those experiences would lead me to believe that a deity was intervening in my life.

 

Neither was the second. In his next fight, Pacquiao lost a decision to a strong contender by the name of Timothy Bradley.

 

Mayweather, on the other hand, was doing what he had done best for the last 15 years: handing out ass whoopings like they were supermarket samples. Now of course he was getting called out all the time by every fighter on the planet, but generally one has to do something noteworthy for Floyd to get in the ring. As an example, when Mayweather was asked why he was fighting Ricky Hatton instead of Shane Mosley back in 2007, his response was almost patronizing.

 

“He has a whole COUNTRY behind him.” If you held your breath for a second after he said it, you may have heard “dumbass” slam into the back of his front teeth and bounce back down his throat. They don’t call him Money Mayweather for nothing.

 

His next opponent after Mosley was a young buck named Victor Ortiz. Victor was fresh off a big win over Andre Berto, who was considered to be one of the better Welterweights out there. He was a slick boxer and a hard puncher, and Ortiz was widely anticipated to crack under the pressure the same as when he quit against Marcos Maidana. Maidana was a powerful and extremely dirty brawler from Argentina, and Ortiz threw in the towel after paying what would usually be considered the average ass-tax in a fight for someone on the back foot of a probable decision.

 

To his credit Ortiz stood his ground against Berto, and the Mayweather showdown was set for late 2011.

 

For three rounds, Ortiz tried to press forward and Mayweather countered his beautifully. Clearly it was getting to Ortiz, and in the fourth he caught Mayweather with a decent shot that backed Mayweather up into the corner. Ortiz began throwing wildly and largely ineffectively, and perhaps in even greater frustration at his inability to hit a target that was literally standing in front of him chuckling, he launched a head butt into Mayweather’s face, cutting his lip.

 

Ortiz would say after the fight that he was trying to break Floyd’s nose, but one wouldn’t think so given how he handled the aftermath. He was really just a young kid on a big stage, and as referee Joe Cortez called time and was about to drag him around ring like a toddler telling the judges to deduct some points, Ortiz leaned in, gave Mayweather an apologetic hug…

 

…and kissed him.

 

Instant replay would show that the shot landed on his cheek right over the ridge and slightly below orbital bone. However, the tape was inconclusive as to how gay it actually was. One thing was damn sure though: you don’t kiss a man in the boxing ring. Fighters routinely threaten to top each other in pre-fight threats, but I’ve never heard one of them say that if anything goes wrong they’re going to take them in their arms and kiss them gently goodnight. The ring is just not that kind of place.

 

Fortunately for Ortiz, the events that followed would blot that clean out of his memory. As he was being led around like a puppy that pissed on a particularly beloved sweater, he apologized to Mayweather again. After a final admonishment from Cortez, he called time in and glanced over at the time keeper to make sure he got the clock moving. In the two intervening seconds, it was all over.

As Cortez looked to the timekeeper, Ortiz came forward to give Mayweather another apologetic hug. Now Mayweather is a great fighter, but he is not known for letting opportunities slide by. In the first round of his absolutely profound beatdown of Arturo Gatti, the two were tangled up and the ref called break. However, he didn’t step in or yell stop as the two split apart, and when Gatti looked over at the ref expecting such, Mayweather nailed him with a shot that sent him splattering into the ropes and into on the canvass like a deer bouncing off a road train.

 

The last thing Ortiz saw was Mayweather glancing over towards Cortez to say “fight” and tonguing the cut on the inside of his mouth. As Ortiz went in for another hug, Mayweather nailed him with a left hook, causing Cortez to cop the same face as Peyton Manning in Super Bowl XLVIII as the first snap went unexpectedly flying over his head. Ortiz looked over at Cortez to complain, and he would have done better to start running around the ring screaming like a girl. The next shot was a straight right that landed so perfectly on his chin that he broke in half at the waist and went down like a Jacob’s ladder. If I didn’t know better, I would have thought someone had injected heroine directly between his L4 and L5 vertebrae with an abortion needle just as it landed. Regardless, the effect was the same except he didn’t piss and shit himself.

 

He was counted out, and with the exception of Emanuel Steward who loved nothing more than a great fight, everyone else on the planet came to the same conclusion:

 

It’s “protect yourself at all times”, and for godsakes, don’t start kissing people. We paid good money for this.

 

Mayweather made up for the disappointment by facing Miguel Cotto at Junior Middleweight in early 2012. This was a fantastic fight, and one which was legitimately in doubt until about round 8. It was only made better because had finally gotten the rematch with Margarito that he had been lusting after since the loaded gloves incident. Clearly out for revenge, Cotto beat the hell out of him, viciously targeted the previously broken bone in Margarito’s right eye, and possibly fracturing it again. In round 11 – the same round Cotto had been stopped in – Margarito was done, and the doctor called it off.

 

The difference appeared to be that Margarito’s shots weren’t quite as devastating as in the last go-round…

 

For Pacquiao, 2012 turned out to be somewhat of a downer. He fought a game Timothy Bradley who beat him by spilt decision – his first loss since Morales – but the decision was largely reviled. Bradley didn’t really think he won either, but he appeared to be having great success when he put his cup back in his shorts and boxed Pacquiao. Slipping under his jab and countering seemed to be very effective, but Bradley is a battler at heart who couldn’t resist getting into idiotic exchanges.

 

However, what was noteworthy was not the terrible decision. Those things simply happen in the sport. Inexplicably, while Pacquiao maintained good hand and foot speed, he seemed completely unable to hurt Bradley despite landing some very hard combinations. It would be learned in his next fight that Bradley had tremendous willpower to stay on his feet when the chips were down, when a Siberian fighter named Ruslan Provodnikov blasted him with about one right hand every three rounds that disconnected virtually every synapse in Bradley’s brain except, apparently, those that allowed his legs to remain connected to his pelvis. He even had to take a knee in the 12th.

 

But for a man who had demolished five future hall of famers and two very excellent boxers, literally cracking the skull of another, knocking out four of them and clearly able knocked out the rest of them without so much as a handful of rounds going against him, this was very strange. Marquez could be accounted for; Pacquiao was flatly out-boxed by a man who had demonstrated on two other occasions that he was going to be up Pacquiao’s ass until one of them died. Bradley had been tagged cleanly though, and repeatedly. For a man whose marriage had been saved and humanity restored by Catholicism, it appeared that Yahweh was not a Performance Enhancing Deity.

 

There is tremendous irony to be found in this, as December 8th – the day Manny Pacquiao stepped into the ring with Juan Manuel Marquez for the fourth and final time – is universally celebrated by Catholics as the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

 

Pacquiao/Marquez IV: Fight of the Decade. December 8, 2012.

 

I considered going on for a while about Mayweather and Pacquiao’s careers before this fight, but if I’m really honest with myself, I can’t even remember who my family members were during this period of time. I have watched the sixth round of this fight at least once every three days from that date on, and other than existing it’s the most consistent thing I think I’ve ever done in my life. I’ve even gone longer than that without taking a dump.

 

In the olden days, fighters routinely fought multiple times, and the idea of a trilogy wasn’t really thought of the way we consider Star Wars or Indiana Jones to be a trilogy. Sugar Ray Robinson fought Jake LaMotta of Raging Bull fame six times, winning five of them. He fought Gene Fulmer four times, and even had rematches with tuna cans in his precisely 200 fights over 20 years in the ring.

 

It’s Ali and Frasier that really set the mold for the trilogy in boxing as we know it today, and even they didn’t really answer the question of who was the superior fighter after the third fight. In reality, both men had beaten each other nearly to the point of death, and the spectacle and heart of the event were enough answer in-and-of themselves. Frazier and Ali were great, great men, and what occurred in the ring answered questions far greater than a piddling set of scorecards or a W on Ali’s record. It was enough, and we didn’t just learn the answers to our questions; we learned the questions we didn’t know could be asked, and got the answers we didn’t know were the most important.

 

In that sense, Marquez and Pacquiao had given us the total opposite. Not only were the three fights highly contentious, but the fact that the unicorn of a fourth fight was even occurring gives a tiny insight to how irritated the entire universe was with the outcomes. Frazier clearly one the first fight, and Ali had clearly taken the second. The third was a monument to their glory. Pacquiao and Marquez had fought 36 rounds to a total stalemate, and like WWI, this was going to keep happening until one of them paid for the entire war with their ass.

 

The public wanted a definitive result, and from the first bell, it was clear that both fighters were determined that this was going to be the end of it.

The day before, however, a controversy had already begun brewing. The weigh in was exceptionally well attended, but unless a fight breaks out, nobody actually gives a crap as long as the fight isn’t ruined by a fat ass.

 

In pre-fight questioning, Jim Lampley had brought up the point that Marquez was a natural Lightweight, and ultimately, the four knockdowns by Pacquiao had been the deciding factors in two of the three fights. Was Marquez just too small for what was essentially a dragon slayer at 147? Not this time.

 

We knew Marquez had been focusing on adding muscle as he felt that power would ultimately make the difference. To do so, he had hired a strength trainer named Angel Heredia. Heredia was well known as a strength trainer in the sporting world, as he had a degree in chemistry that had allowed him not just to administer extraordinarily effective combinations of HGH, EPO, and testosterone for athletes, but create entirely new protocols that had a profound effect on the sporting pantheon at large.

 

Of course – of course – after testifying several times when he was unmasked during the BALCO scandal, he cleaned up his act and went back to being a straight-shooter strength and conditioning coach. Fortunately, this was exactly what Marquez needed to prepare himself for the final Pacquiao fight: a premier strength and conditioning coach to match the work of Alex Ariza.

 

Questions abounded from the moment he stepped on the scale. He didn’t just look bigger, he looked ridiculous. I highly doubt Tyson would have kept his bladder in check, and it was the first time anyone had considered Pacquiao and Marquez to be physically equals in the ring.

 

Ringside for the fight, Jim Lampley was seated next to Roy Jones Jr. Not only was Roy Jones Jr. a hall of fame fighter, but everything he said was awesome. His commentary was always spot on, he gave a unique insight to the fight, and – I have to say it – a black man with black attitude, black style, and an amazing sense of black humor is a glorious thing to behold. He and Lampley were fantastic together. Mitt Romney was conspicuously in the front row with his wife as well, fresh off a loss to Obama in the 2012 presidential campaign. He had admittedly never been to a fight, but he told the media that it seemed like a very cathartic and once-in-a-lifetime experience to see a legend like Manny Pacquiao win a great victory over a great champion. Considering that Romney was told by the LDS prophet via a direct communications link from God himself that he would be the next President, that should have perked up at least a few ears on a vast and diverse set of social and intellectual fronts.

 

From the ding of the first bell it was clear that this was going to be it. While Pacquiao wanted to finish in style, Marquez was bordering on contempt. To all eyes, this wasn’t round one; it was round 37.

 

In round two, the unthinkable happened. Marquez had been throwing to the body with the right hand that had been so effective in the first three fights. All of a sudden, he chucked a wide, looping right shot that started at his hips, but came up at a dramatic angle that pasted Pacquiao clean on the chin. In slow motion, it looked like the videos of the Iraqi people destroying a giant statue of Saddam Hussein after the Gulf War.

 

As near as I can tell, the punch started travelling through the air somewhere in the lobby of the MGM Grand near the concierge desk, gathered all of the dollar slots and blackjack tables and patrons on its way towards the slightly-off-center-to-the-south-west middle of the Garden Arena , and smashed it all into the chin of the poor unsuspecting Filipino who happened to have been walking through the ring at the time.

 

I swear to you, I have never in my life seen a fighter’s eyes go from lucid to an injection molded Ken-doll- thousand-yard stare after a punch. I swear to god, if the lord Jesus Christ had appeared in all his glory in the upper right corner of the building at that precise moment, Pacquiao was the only one who saw it, because everyone else was watching him lift three inches off the canvass like squid bait being snapped out into the ocean on a marlin line. He got up, but one distinctly got the impression that the questions in his own head were far more compelling than those Kenny Bayliss was asking him at that particular moment.

 

Now to his credit, Pacquiao pulled himself together, and for the next three rounds he managed to out-box Marquez and even score an off-balance knockdown in the fifth. Worse, Marquez had caught a bad, wild left hand at the end of the round, and it looked like his nose might be broken. Hurt badly, Marquez was lucky to survive the round. The pattern that everyone had inevitably expected was clear: Pacquiao was about to definitively finish the task at hand, and Mitt Romney’s money was well spent.

 

Round 6:

 

Lampley: Manny Pacquiao’s right hook emerges from dormancy in this rivalry. Sometimes it’s his most effective punch, and everybody plans for the straight left. Pacquiao in that round 26 out of 48 punches, including 21 power shots. Marquez was just trying to stay in there.

 

Crowd: Manny! Manny! Manny! Manny! Manny!

 

Lampley: Sixth round of a scheduled twelve. It’s going by fast, and it’s been brilliant stuff.

 

Jones: It wouldn’t surprise me if Marquez’s nose is broken. There’s a lot of blood coming from it.

 

Lampley: He was stiff-legged all the way to the end of the round after that big right hook, but managed to stay on his feet.

 

Jones: I don’t know how he finished.

 

Lampley: Looks as though Marquez’s nose is broken; the blood is gathering under his nose.

 

Jones: His left eye is swollen.

 

Lampley: These are big shots Pacquiao is landing early – THERE’S ANOTHER LEFT HAND! AND ANOTHER LEFT HAND! And Marquez drives him back with a counter shot.

 

Larry Merchant: And once again, the drama king has created more drama, and the blood of drama, and once again the battler…

 

Lampley: (cutting off Larry Merchant’s bullshit with): Marquez’s mouthpiece is out of his mouth!

 

Jones: No it’s not.

 

Lampley: No?

 

Jones: Nope. That was something else.

 

Lampley: It was something else – OK.

 

Jones: It was a big gob of Vaseline.

 

Merchant: I hope it wasn’t a bridge…

 

Jones: It was a big gob of Vaseline.

 

Lampley: It was a big gob of Vaseline, you’re exactly right Roy.

 

Lampley: Big left hand from Pacquiao.

 

Jones: Pacquiao is killing Marquez with those head fakes. He’s feinting him, feinting him – if Marquez doesn’t move back he rushes him with the left hand next time, and lands right on the button.

 

Lampley: He partially blocks that right hand by Marquez. It was thrown from a long distance.

 

Merchant: That was the one that knocked him down earlier.

 

 

Jones: I don’t think that will happen again, because Pacquiao will make the adjustment.

 

Lampley: No, but he might knock him down on an uppercut or a left hook.

 

Jones: Yeah, he might, but I doubt it because he’s allowing Pacquiao to feint him first and that’s why Pacquiao is landing so many big shots.

 

Lampley: What can Marquez do to stop that?

 

Jones: He needs to get back in front of Pacquiao. He needs to either feint, or stay behind.

 

Merchant: And it looks a little bit like Marquez is having trouble breathing because of the blood in his nose.

 

Lampley: Pacquiao lands another great left hand shot. And another.

 

  • 30 seconds left in the round –

 

Merchant: Two champions performing like champions.

 

Jones: Yes sir.

 

  • 20 seconds left in the round –

 

Jones: See those movements right there? That’s what’s causing Marquez the most trouble, because when Pacquiao does that, Marquez doesn’t realize how close Pacquiao has gotten to him.

 

 

  • 10 seconds left in the round: Pacquiao catches Marquez with a left hand –

 

Lampley: Marquez was off balance again, and now gets his feet back to try to nail Pacquiao with a right hand…

 

—————————————————————

Now what happened next occurred at precisely 1 second left in the 6th round. I could describe it myself, but I think Roy Jones Jr. said it best:

 

Jones:OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

 

I thought that was pretty accurate.

 

—————————————————————

 

Lampley: THAT’S ANOTHER KNOCKDOWN!

 

Jones: HE’S NOT GETTING UP JIM!

 

Lampley: WILL HE GET UP!!!

 

Jones: HE’S NOT GETTING UP JIM!

 

Lampley: WILL HE GET UP!!!

 

Jones: HE’S NOT GETTING UP!

 

Lampley: NO! HE’S BEEN KNOCKED OUT!!! A SENSATIONAL KNOCKOUT BY A BLOODIED JUAN MANUEL MARQUEZ!

 

Jones: Wow….

 

I have never seen a punch like that, much less a fighter go down so hard. As Pacquiao was coming in with a…double jab…Marquez countered not with a straight right, not with a left hook, not with a combination up the middle, but the single hardest overhand right that is in my opinion, frankly, the hardest shot pound for pound I have ever witnessed in the ring.

 

Sure, Pacquiao caught Hatton flush on the chin, but this shot was of an ENTIRELY different nature. I’m actually a bit afraid to watch Pacquiao’s later fights because this shot may still be travelling through his face and hit me through the computer screen. As Pacquiao feinted the first jab and then tossed the second to set up the left (like he always does), Marquez took a tiny step forward after the feint, and pivoted his entire torso around his waist with his arm cocked at a 45 degree angle…directly into the center of Pacquiao’s face. I’m going to do my best here, but you have to watch it. Mankind’s two primary forms of description are language and mathematics, and neither one is sufficient.

 

I would hope that at this point you would consider the validity of my knowledge as a boxing scholar. I’ve seen a lot. I’ve seen bad knockouts, and I’ve seen terrible knockouts. I’ve even watched several fights that ended in ring deaths. In all those fights, I have never seen a person knocked out with a shot like this. There was no impact on the chin, or rotation of the head – nothing. Typically a bad knockout comes from hitting the point of the chin which rattles the only lose bone in the head, and that force scrambles the brain into unconsciousness.

 

Not this one. It landed square in the middle of Pacquiao’s face like a man being hit squarely by a tree trunk on a tire swing. I can’t even imagine what it did to his brain, but it was the kind of injury would expect if Greg Lougainis’s diving board accident had happened after a parachute failure. It is the one and only time I’ve seen a fighter knocked off his feet, and the sound of him hitting the canvas face-first was so loud that it was easily heard over a crowd that thought it had just witnessed the ring death of the greatest fighter on the planet.

 

In short, this was devestating.

 

And what’s more ridiculous, is that at the time he threw it, MARQUEZ WAS BACKING UP. I can’t even imagine the kind of leverage that must have been involved here. All I can say is that it was about as conceivable as, gee, I don’t know, a Flyweight moving up to Junior Welterwieght and killing everyone along the way?

 

Look, I can’t stress enough how much you need to watch this, because it’s simply indescribable, and it literally brought Jim Lampley to tears. Not in anguish mind you. He was the final commentary on the event, and all he could do was choke it back and reflect on how long, how hard, and how cruel the road had been to Juan Manuel Marquez until he finally got his keystone moment and vindication of his career. The promise of boxing is real. Skills, intelligence, and being a student of the game will ultimately prevail over wild virtuosity in the ring.

 

The science is, indeed, sweet.

Ben Tomkins
Ben Tomkins is a violinist, teacher, journalist and critically acclaimed composer currently living in Denver, Colorado. He hates stupidity and generally believes that the volume of one’s voice is inversely proportional to one’s knowledge of an issue. Reach Ben Tomkins at BenTomkins@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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