Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez fought for the fourth time in eight years this past Saturday night. When two boxers meet on that many occasions, fans get certain images and impressions of the folks involved stuck in their heads.
For years Marquez has been recognized as one of the greatest boxers of his era. Despite the fact that he consistently got outshined (and defeated) by the likes of Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr., fans who watched him endure in battle after battle couldn’t help but respect him.
What made Marquez truly unique was his intelligent fighting style. As he got older and older, his speed dwindled; however, he compensated for his decreasing speed by becoming an even better and more strategic counterpuncher than he had been in years past.
It was that countering ability that traditionally gave Pacquiao so much trouble. When a fighter is as aggressive as the Filipino superstar always has been, it leaves him ripe for the picking by skilled tacticians like Marquez.
The reason that Marquez couldn’t utilize his counterpunching en route to victory in his first three showdowns against Pacquiao is because he lacked the power necessary to knock his foe out.
That changed last year.
Marquez, realizing his biggest weakness, decided to get stronger. He made bulking up a priority, and even went so far as to bring admitted PED distributor Angel Hernandez (a.k.a. Angel Guillermo "Memo" Heredia) on board to help him achieve that feat. It worked. Marquez came into this Saturday’s fight with a whole new body.
Understandably, because of how different his physique looks now and the fact that it became different after he started working with Hernandez, some folks questioned whether Marquez’s progress was all natural. When he knocked out Pacquiao this Saturday with a right that he had thrown (and connected on) plenty of times with much less impactful results, the questions grew louder.
In an effort to silence the doubters, Marquez spoke with the Los Angeles Times recently and tried to set the record straight.
“I am a clean fighter,” he said.
“I feel very happy with my training, I feel great about the tests,” Marquez told the Times. “I won’t have a problem.”
While he was confident that he would ultimately be vindicated, Marquez did admit that he heard the questions.
“I don’t know what will happen,” Marquez said. “But this fight, there was so much about people say these things about me. I don’t like to use substances. I didn’t. I trained hard.”
And, in the end, the hard training (presuming that’s all it was), paid off.
“I’m very happy I finished it by a knockout, because everyone knew what happened in my last three fights, and I never knew what was going to happen with the judges,” Marquez said. “I won this fight myself. I won this victory. And I’m very happy.”
The irony of all this, of course, is that it has been Pacquiao who has had to defend himself against PED accusations over the past three years – not Marquez.
It’s amazing how much success can change things.
Results from the urine sample that both fighters provided prior to their bout should be made available by the end of this week. We’ll find out what’s what at that point.
(Kudos Los Angeles Times)