Round 1 doesn’t have the fireworks of last time: both look to be bigger fighters, which they are as super featherweights (130). Manny definitely carries the extra weight much better than Marquez, by which I mean that Marquez looks a bit softer than he did as a featherweight. It’s all of four pounds, sure, but Manny’s as ripped as ever at each successive weight level. There’s something peculiar about Manny that way.
Anyway, the first two rounds are the usual close affairs that characterized the last 11 rounds of the first fight. Could go either way. Marquez landing the slightly better shots, but only deterring timing shots carrying little danger.
Then Marquez goes down in the third from a great (Marquez-like) counter-left hook. Then he almost goes down again. Manny’s quietly dominating now, actually, if there is such a thing.
Through the 5th, Marquez is looking a bit less sharp than Manny. He’s certainly not got the snap he had in their last meting. Age? Weight? Who knows, but he’s not as effective through the middle of this fight.
Then Lederman gives JMM the fifth. Shows what I know.
The big problem, of course, is that it’s difficult to generalize from these circumstances. I don’t know whether Manny just landed a good shot early in some round keep JMM off balance for a bit and then he comes right back hard like he is in the 6th. The fight is super close.
The differences between the two in each round is narrower than in the last fight, and that’s saying something. Manny is definitely a more complete fighter than he was, but now lacks the element of surprise that put JMM on his butt three times in ’04. Emmanuel Steward agrees with me, noting Manny’s better awareness of JMM’s punches and of his own position. He blocks and counters now.
Wow, Manny’s cut now beneath his right eye. He’s getting touched up a quite a bit in the 8th, almost like he’s taking the bigger shots. Deceiving, of course, since you can’t see power the way you feel power.
Flicking on the commentators, now, they seem to agree that that 8th was a big Marquez round. The 9th is much more even, now. Judges seem to be split but Pac is slightly stronger.
Wow, Pac catches JMM in the 10th on an action-hero-like duck-and-swing, rudely interrupting Lederman’s little monologue. Lots and lots of action.
JMM is blazing away with straight rights, southpaw kryptonite, in the 11th. Undaunted, Pacquaio returns fire. God, how do you score this? 12th also a toss-up, with maybe an edge to Marquez.
Overall, Manny scores knockdowns and lands bigger, better punches whereas Marquez lands perhaps more punches. A question of taste, then. Pacquiao by split decision this night.
Can’t wait for Saturday.