by Charles Jay
Now THAT was dramatic.
For a minute, it looked like the whole thing was finished. Career. Image. “Legacy” (to use the oft-beaten term). Heck, even the guy’s well-being.
Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank
About ten minutes later, we found out from Manny Pacquiao himself that the show would most likely go on. But for all intents and purposes, PacMania, as we’ve known it, is over. So are any thoughts about a Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather fight.
Be that as it may, Pacquiao wants to do it one more time, and we’re probably going to like it.
We liked this one, just as we liked the others, and no matter how much anybody wanted to acknowledge the amount of trouble Juan Manuel Marquez had given Pacquiao before Saturday night; how he had fought the Filipino superstar on even terms, there is nothing that can replace a knockout win to bring a guy into equal billing, especially in a rivalry when any differences were razor-thin.
The HBO announcers kept touting Pacquiao’s “game plan” while perhaps not noticing that what his opponent was doing was using all of that to gather information. Apparently he was willing to sacrifice some rounds, and just as willing to wait on single punches that would turn the tide. This guy obviously knew what he was looking for too. If anyone had a plan, it was Marquez, even if it wasn’t a good formula to win on points.
Well, who trusts those judges anyway, right?
Admittedly, it wasn’t a perfect plan. But to quote George Patton, it was “a good plan violently executed……”
For Marquez, it was a vindication of what he has been thinking all along: that he was the better fighter. Of course, that is a subject of debate, and these two knockdowns he scored in this bout were the first two he registered in this series, though he had actually won more clear rounds than Pacquiao over the three fights, as was indicated by the graphic from HBO PPV.
What happens now is that Bob Arum exercises an option on Marquez and goes after the fifth meeting between these two. At this point, there isn’t any makeable fight where either guy can make more money. Think about it: if Pacquiao’s rematch with Timothy Bradley wasn’t viable before, what would it be worth now? Marquez would be cashing in on about a $20 million guarantee for Part 5, up from the $6 million he was guaranteed for this one (through we had also heard a figure of $9 million).
Who knows how that fifth fight would go, but Pacquiao will now proceed without the same kind of mystique that had followed him around before. Being knocked out so badly that you lay on your face for a few minutes will do that to you. No more “pound-for-pound” talk. Now he’s just another guy who is trying to get back a win. And unlike the Bradley loss, there aren’t any judges to blame for this one.
Bob Arum had been looking at an April 20 date for a fight between Pacquiao and Brandon Rios. That is, if Pacquiao won. That date would still be available, but it is highly doubtful that Pacquiao-Marquez V would take place on that time. he tested negative in a CT scan, but inasmuch as there is going to be a recovery period, Pacquiao may not even be seen in a gym for the next three months or more.
Some people figure Floyd Mayweather must be relieved. Bob Arum might be relieved in a sense, in that he doesn’t have to deal with questions about that much-talked-about matchup. He’s got 27.5% of the gross in his deal, and he will control the promotion of the next fight, and between some newfound enthusiasm for Marquez, along with the “payback” angle for Pacquiao, the fifth chapter actually could draw more than any Pacquiao fight before. It better, because he’ll be paying a higher price for it.
From Marquez’s perspective, being 1-2-1 with one KO in this series is a whole lot better than being 0-2-1. And a heck of a lot more lucrative.