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by Cain Bradley

The most common debates between boxing fans is typically, who won a close bout? There is usually no correct answer, boxing is a sport of interpretation. In the case of Manny Pacquaio and Juan Manuel Marquez the debate is constant.

Just put any combinations of words to do with the bout in Google to see examples of the arguments. Marquez got the split decision win in the pairs second encounter, but it remains a bout that causes the huge debate. There will never be a definitive answer to who won, it just depends on how you see boxing.

It was the second legendary contest between two of the greatest fighters in the lower weights of the last 20 years. The first took place in 2004 ending in a controversial draw given. It also saw arguably the best round that either man had when fighting the other. Manny dropped Marquez three times with his southpaw blitz in the first round. Marquez came back and the scorecards read 115-110 to either man and 113-113. The judge who handed in that final scorecard admitted that instead of scoring the first round 10-6, he had scored it 10-7, costing Manny the win.

2004: The first bout, Manny Pacquaio v Juan Manuel Marquez

The rematch would not take place until 2008. As well as the obvious unfinished business from the first bout that was used to market the fight, there were other storylines running concurrently. Bob Arum had promoted Marquez for the first bout, but prior to the second he had begun promoting Pacquiao. Arum blamed Marquez’s manager for the rematch not being organised sooner. It also came as Pacquiao was on a run of defeating Mexican boxers leading to him being nicknamed 'The Mexicutioner'. Marquez wanted to prove himself to be the kryptonite to Superman.  

Round 1: Pacquiao 10-9

Pacquaio foreshadows his intentions by being virtually at centre ring before the bell. Pacquiao is constantly moving over the first 30 seconds. He gets Marquez responding to a fake and lands the first meaningful punch with a jab in a 2-1 combination. Pacquiao lands a soft counter jab as Marquez overextends. Pacquiao continues to occasionally land the jab, without any real intent behind it. Manny just about lands a left to the body after missing two jabs, but Marquez does come back with a counter. The action really brings to kick in over the last 75 seconds. Manny lands a looping lead right, but Marquez comes back with a great right hand sending Pacquiao backwards. The Filipino bangs his gloves together, insinuating he wants a fight. It emerges into a scrap as the two start to go to war without landing any serious punches. Marquez follows Pacquiao onto the ropes and lands a strong right uppercut to the body to end the round.. Compubox stats had Pacquiao throwing six more punches and also landing six more. Manny has the edge here with more work, although Marquez does land the best work, but not enough.

Round 2: Marquez 10-9 

Once again, Pacquiao is straight to the middle of the ring. He wildly attacks with Marquez sensibly moving away and then digging him to the body with a left hook. At 2.38, Marquez lands a left hook on the way out against Pacquiao. Pacquiao continues to follow Marquez, who is keeping out of range. A left hook from Marquez lands at 1.36, Pacquiao responds with a shot over the guard of Marquez followed with a big right hand. Manny's jab is landing with much more success as he lands one just before the minute mark. At the 0.40 mark, Pacquiao throws three straight punches, none of which land, only for Marquez to return with an overhand right. As Pacquiao reaches in just before the bell, he brings his feet square and Marquez lands a thundering right hand, left hook combination that staggers the Filipino. A definite Marquez round, with the big shot being the icing on the cake. According to Compubox, Marquez doubled the landed punches of Pacquiao. 

Round 3: Pacquiao 10-8

Marquez starts at close range to Pacquiao. At 2.08, Marquez avoids a Pacquiao jab, responding with a huge right hand but off balances himself when looking to pounce. Marquez is intelligently avoiding the Pac-Man leads and there’s a nasty clash of heads just after the halfway point of the round. Marquez jabs to the body of Pacquiao, there is another clash of heads after the minute mark before Pacquiao lands a one-two. Pacquiao is landing with more success than at anytime in the fight so far. With 23 seconds left in the round, Marquez launches in with a big right hand and after avoiding a Pacquiao attack, Marquez rear swings a wide hook at the Filipino. Pacquiao landed first in an exchange and sent Marquez flat onto his back. A big knockdown! Pacquiao attacks Marquez back onto the ropes where the two exchange punches. Pacquiao lands an overhand right which sends Marquez stumbling. The bell rings with the pair exchanging and Marquez follows Pacquiao towards his corner talking to him.

Round 4: Pacquiao 10-9

Pacquiao is straight out and jabs to the body. Marquez begins to come into the round just before the 30 second mark, landing a left hook. Marquez is once again finding his range, avoiding the leaps of Pacquiao. He is also being made to miss though. Pacquiao lands a jab at 1.30 and just over ten seconds later lands a heavy one-two. Marquez returns with a right hand. At the 0.42 second mark he lands his best punch of the round, a left hook that goes over the guard. According to Compubox, Pacquiao lands more of every type of punch in this round. Marquez comes back into that round with a nice right hand to end it, but that is most a recovery round for Marquez. Once again, they stare at each other as the bell rings.

Round 5: Marquez 10-9

Both come out with tight guards to start the round. Marquez is the aggressor in the early exchanges with nothing landing as Pacquiao tries to counter. A minute in and neither man has really landed. A right gets through at 1.37 for Marquez before a nice exchange which Marquez gets the best of. Around the minute mark Marquez throws out a slower jab and Pacquiao counters by coming over the top with a jab of his own. Marquez lands another big right at 0.50. Pacquiao potentially lands a clipping right hand at 0.36 at the end of a one-two. It’s another right hand from Marquez at 0.20 which seals the round, visibly sending Manny backwards. Marquez puts it on Manny to end the round, pushing him up against the ropes. Marquez has the big edge in power punches landed here, landing ten compared to the four of Pacquiao. 

Round 6: Marquez 10-9

The first action comes as Pacquiao looks to counter a Marquez swing, but neither lands. Around 30 seconds in, Marquez lands by throwing a jab, stepping in and throwing a right as Pacquiao gets his feet stuck. At the 2.09 mark, Marquez slips a jab from Manny, but throws and lands a right hand at the same time. Manny lands his first significant punches of the round with a 1-2-step in-lead rear hook combination. They exchange single pot shots at distance before Marquez lands another big right hand. At 1.20 that right hand lands again, in a combination that starts with an uppercut. Marquez is controlling the tempo of the fight. Manny is reaching for punches. Marquez once again lands the right hand with 25 seconds to go and it’s a clear Marquez round despite a short right hook landing as the ten second mark. I thought this was quite comfortable for Marquez, but Compubox suggest Pacquaio out-landed him by one. This is the first round where judges split, with two scoring it for Pacquaio. 

Round 7: 10-9 Marquez

Marquez goes straight to the body with a jab. At the 2.34 mark he looks down to the body coming up with a straight right. Manny’s first success comes with a lunging lead - rear to the body. When he attacks at 2.09, Marquez is waiting and lands a right hand - left uppercut combination. Pacquiao is reacting to everything Marquez does. The two clash heads around the halfway mark and Marquez is cut on his right eye. The exchanges begin at the 1.10 mark and Pacquiao lands the best punch with a right hand. Marquez avoids a one-two at 1.03, but in the ensuing exchanges gets tagged at 0.57 which sends his head snapping back. The two exchange with both men landing punches. Another good combination from Marquez at 0.24, but Manny lands good shots over the final ten seconds of the round. Super close round, it changed after the pair clashed heads; prior to that Marquez had the round but Pacquiao has the second half. Overall, I slightly prefer the Marquez work. Very tight round to score! Marquez out-lands Pacquiao 15-12 according to Compubox with four more power punches landed.

Round 8: 10-9 Marquez

Marquez once again lands the first real punch of significance, going with a left hook to the body, which was blocked, but following with a straight right through the guard which cuts Manny. As Manny launches a straight left at 2.26 he steps back and responds with two uppercuts. A long body hook from Marquez lands at 2.08. Pacquiao looks to return, but cannot land. Marquez calmly marches Manny back for the first half of the round until Manny puts it on him at 1.22 where he gets countered. Manny looks to attack, but any movement Marquez makes, Pacquiao responds, stopping a few attacks before they have begun. The aggression of Pacquiao once again backfires as Marquez turns him into a corner at 1.05, landing body hooks. Marquez goes straight through the guard with a one-two at 0.37. As Manny attacks he gets caught with an uppercut at 0.19 and they exchange punches. Clear Marquez round for me, landing the higher quality shots. The Manny cut is nasty underneath his eye. Biggest difference of any round here as Marquez lands 21 to the five punches of Pacquiao. 

Round 9: Pacquaio 10-9

Again, although Manny starts the round coming forward it is Marquez that lands the first shot. He digs a vicious left hook in behind the guard of Manny. At 2.17, Manny tries to attack when he thinks Marquez has overcommitted, but nothing really lands. Manny has a nice double jab - rear - pivot combination. At 1.58 he also counters a pawing Marquez jab, coming over the top with his own jab. Marquez is going to the body, not having much success until a long right hand catches Manny. Manny lands his best punch in a few rounds at 1.24, a double jab - rear hand. The two begin to exchange over the first twenty seconds of the final minute, with Manny perhaps edging it. Marquez lands a loopy right hook at 0.30. As the ten second klaxon goes, Marquez backs him up onto the ropes with a jab-right uppercut-left hook then a one-two as Manny ducks low. The Filipino responds with a terrific overhand right that catches Marquez flush before the two two swing wild hooks at each-other. Probably a Pacquaio round as he lands the more meaningful punches. The Compubox stats back this up, Pacquaio landing two more power punches. Once again the judges were split, with two calling it for Pacquaio.

Round 10: Pacquaio 10-9

In the first ten seconds, Marquez lands a soft right. At 2.45 Pacquaio times an oncoming Marquez with an overhand left as Marquez jabs, pivoting away, sending Marquez stumbling towards the ropes. Pacquaio assumes he is hurt and fires a quick combination at Marquez on the ropes. Marquez stands his ground though and is happy to trade. Manny is throwing one-twos, leaving himself off balance. Marquez brings it back to centre ring, but Manny counters a one-two. A left hook just after the minute mark from Manny lands well. Manny lands a short lead hook at 0.57 and has been more than happy to sit back, pot-shotting. He lands two nice shots over the next fifteen seconds though. Marquez swings with a wild uppercut at 0.25, but this time is off balanced. Clear Manny round for me. 

Round 11: Marquez 10-9 

Marquez comes out fast with a left hook-straight right combination. Both spend the rest of the first minute missing or triggering. Pacquaio manages to corner Marquez, but cannot take full advantage. Marquez lands two right hands at the 1.25 mark. When Marquez gets too aggressive, Pacquaio catches him with a short counter hook. He lands a nice rear at 0.42. Late on, Pacquaio lands a good right hand at short range and then in the final ten seconds with a good jab-rear-jab combination. Neither man takes this round dominantly, Marquez has the big edge early, but Pacquaio lands the most meaningful punch of the round. Tight round, with neither fighter letting the other do great work. Edge to Marquez. According to Compubox, Manny lands four more punches. 

Round 12: Marquez 10-9

A slow start to the round but Marquez wants to make his mark and lands a left uppercut on the inside. A 1-2 comes not long after with a fierce right hand landing as Marquez begins to whip hooks in to the body. Pacquaio does not do a lot in that first minute. At 1.28, Marquez works inside with a straight right - short left uppercut combination. Pacquaio is beginning to step on it and a looping overhand right lands. Pacquaio engages with a minute to go but Marquez rolls under a left hook and comes back with two big rights of his own. He counters a one-two with a one-two of his own not long after. Marquez lands another nice right at the ten second mark. Both men raise their hands at the bell. Clear Marquez round. Both one judge and Harold Lederman scores this to Pacquaio. 

Final decision: Marquez 114-113

Watching the fight the first time, I scored it to Pacquaio by a point. However, I remember scoring the final round to Pacquiao, a round I re-watched not long after and believed Marquez actually won. Marquez out-landed Pacquaio in total punc hes and power punches landed. This is probably the best fight of the four, although not quite the all-out war that many recall. Instead it was a tactical chess match, with neither man landing a ton, but constant manoeuvring and tactical boxing was constant. I scored four clear rounds to each fighter, that gives Pacquaio an edge because he got the knockdown. The other four rounds are 'interpretation' rounds and it is possible to see them scored either way. 


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