Pacquiao’s punching statistics tell all, but not in our hearts
Two remarks from the MGM Grand, ascribed to boxing legend Manny Pacquiao some four years apart are noteworthy: “That’s boxing” (Nov. 13, 2011) and “I thought I won the fight” (May 3, 2015). In the intervening period, he made another one: “I got careless” (Dec. 9, 2012).
On Nov. 13, 2011, the Mexican multitude from the 16,368 sellout crowd (against the 16,507 in May) protested just as we did last May 3: Juan Manuel Marquez (no introduction needed) lost to Manny by a majority decision. Marquez’s Mexican trainer said, “This was robbery at the utmost,” which Mommy Dionisia echoed after the bout billed as “The Fight of the Century” was judged unanimously in favor of Floyd Mayweather Jr.
In the Pacquiao-Marquez November 2011 fight, Pacquiao found an ally in CompuBox (machine-tabulation of punches), but not last May. CompuBox showed that Pacquiao’s punching statistics dipped alarmingly—a 26-percent drop (by 149 punches), with just 19-percent connection (81) from the 30-percent accuracy (176) in the Marquez fight. The punches, not the scorecards, are revealing.
On Dec. 9, 2012 (the day of Pacquiao’s fourth face-off with Marquez), it took Pacquiao only five rounds to inflict 68 power punches; but in his fight with Mayweather, it took all 12 rounds for him to land 63 punches. Significantly, the 429 punches Pacquiao threw at Mayweather was only six short of Mayweather’s 435. But in terms of accuracy, Mayweather had 148 hits, 67 more or nearly double than Pacquiao’s dismal 81. Was Floyd too elusive, and foxy?
On the blows Pacquiao absorbed in those three fights: 148 from Mayweather; from Marquez, 179, and a KO on the third and fourth bouts, respectively. In December 2012, the fight between the two brawlers and counterpunchers abruptly ended in the last second of the sixth round (Marquez trailed 46-47 after five rounds)—“the Filipino flat, face down on the canvas motionless for more than a minute.” We froze in Manila, while “Jinkee turned hysterical” in Nevada.
Our attention span is short. Marquez was a bloody mess, had a broken nose and suspected to have suffered concussion. Pacquiao had 28 stitches, shut eyes, cramps (fourth round), and torn right shoulder ligaments. Manny, after nearly 60 fights, has probably absorbed 8,000 body and head blows, and yet many are prematurely floating a rematch, to the disapproval of daughter Princess.
How should boxing as a sport be judged as “The Fight of the Century”? Accounts in a previous era have it that boxing events in amphitheaters were “often a fight until death to please the spectators.” With technological advances in the 21st century, even boxing has turned into a defensive and cerebral sport. Should boxing be left behind and adopt the ways of the amphitheaters?
Mayweather—an “out-fighter” with long-range punches and jabs, winning by decisions instead of by knockouts—is no Juan Manuel Marquez, a notable counterpuncher. Pacquiao? He is “a well-rounded boxer-puncher, brawler, in-fighter, a swarmer,” distinctions rarely rolled into one. There was a mismatch in styles. But deep in our hearts Pacquiao prevailed all night.
—MANUEL Q. BONDAD, Barangay Palanan, Makati City
Your daily dose of fearless views
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.