Juan Manuel Marquez: Did He Play Footsie With Manny Pacquiao?
It's amazing how many years you can watch boxing and still miss the obvious. I've now watched last Saturday's welterweight title fight between the champion, Filipino Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao, and Mexican challenger Juan Manuel Marquez, twice and did not notice what is clear as a bell for round one in a video that has gone viral.
Most writers I know, even those who, like me, scored it for Pacquiao 7-4-1 -- pretty much as HBO's Harold Lederman, who had it 8-4 for Pacquiao, saw it -- thought that something was off in Manny's hand speed and his timing when it came to moving in and out on Marquez. Well, there was something wrong: Marquez's feet.
The undeniable evidence of the video shows that at least five times during Rounds 6-12 Marquez clomped right down on Pacquiao's right foot as the champ lunged forward. In effect, Marquez accomplished with his foot what boxers often try to do with their hand when they cuff their opponent behind his head before throwing a punch. Manny had to fight against Marquez's full body weight when throwing right hooks and left crosses, and Marquez was able to hold him in position when delivering his trademark counterpunches.
Was Marquez's "foot hold" a deliberate tactic or an accident? It's hard to say, though it's difficult to believe that a veteran of nearly 60 professional fights could not know that he was repeatedly stepping on his opponent's foot and that doing so would severely impede his opponent's mobility. So far, Manny has not complained, at least publicly, but his trainer, Freddie Roach, Jr. has been twittering like mad.
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Now, let's see if Jim Lampley and Larry Merchant have the cajones to mentioned this on Saturday's broadcast on HBO - and do a slow mo of the kind in the video.
By the way, the hardest blow of the night wasn't a punch by either man. It was a solid head butt from Marquez in the tenth round that produced a two-inch cut above Pacquiao's eye and drew the only blood of the fight.
Oh, and another thing. Let's all watch carefully this Saturday to see if Marquez steps on Pacquiao's foot in the first five rounds, which are not covered in the video.
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