Manny Pacquiao lost his last fight against Juan Manuel Marquez, but the defeat wasn’t as bad as some of the photos from the event would have you believe. The image everyone left with coming out of that bout was Pacquiao laying face first on the canvas, knocked out cold, looking like a man whose days best days were far, far behind him. And while he did in fact look like that in the direct aftermath of Marquez’s spectacular knockout counter-punch, there are some important things that everyone needs to remember about that match.
Prior to getting dropped by Marquez, Pacquiao was leading on every single judge’s scorecard. The reason he was leading is because he was far and away the more aggressive and efficient fighter through 90 percent of the match. Pacquiao landed more jabs at a higher efficiency, more power punches at a higher efficiency and more total punches at a higher efficiency. In some cases, the rate disparity was massive. And while stats like this often don’t tell the whole story when it comes to counter-punchers like Marquez, in this particular case, they do. Marquez, aside from when he was landing his token few heavy hits, clearly wasn’t the better fighter for most of the night.
Just as a point of reference: in the third fight, the one Pacquiao won in extremely controversial fashion, Marquez landed more jabs at a higher efficiency, more total punches at a higher efficiency and only 17 fewer power punches at just four percent less efficiency. Any which way you want to look at it, Pacquiao improved after the third fight while Marquez worsened. The latter was simply bailed out by his newfound power in the fourth showdown.
All signs are currently pointing to a fifth fight between Pacquiao and Marquez taking place at some point this September. Presuming the Filipino star continues to focus on training leading up to that match, and so long as he doesn’t walk into a well-timed punch on this go-round, there is no reason to assume that he won’t be able to gain some measure of revenge for what happened last December. Of course, if he doesn't focus on training, he could very easily drop the fifth fight as well.
During a recent interview, Pacquiao made it clear that his primary focus was on politics, not where it should be – what could potentially be his last fight ever if he loses.
“September is the right date to fight again but there’s been no talks regarding the fight. Nothing’s been finalized. My concentration is on the May elections.”
So the champ has completely ignored working out in favor of doing his political thing? Not exactly.
“I am in shape,” said Pacquiao, rolling up his sleeves to show that he is not gaining weight. “I’ve been playing basketball almost non-stop at night.”
Surely that has Marquez nervous. Maybe Pacquiao will cross him over in the sixth round of their next match.
Over the past few years, a lack of focus has been a huge problem for the Filipino star. If he doesn’t get that in check before this year’s inevitable rematch against Marquez, a very winnable fight could end up turning into a nightmare for him.