In 2011 when Manny Pacquiao won a tight decision over Juan Manuel Marquez in the third fight between them, Pacquiao's zealous supporters weren't simply content to see their man get a win many experts didn't believe he deserved.
In the days following that Nov. 12, 2011, bout, Pacquiao's fans took to the Internet in droves to post photos that showed Marquez stepping on their hero's foot. It didn't matter that Pacquiao had won or that such an occurrence is common when a left-hander such as Pacquiao fights a right-hander like Marquez. They referred to it as "foot stomping" and implied it was the reason the fight was even close.
The Pacquiao fans had to bellyache about it as a way to try to explain why he didn't win more clearly. That point of view clearly disregarded the fact that each of their first two bouts were exceptionally close.
Freddie Roach (AP)I imagine they're only going to go through the roof when they hear what Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach told the Los Angeles Times' estimable sports columnist Bill Dwyre about the finish of Pacquiao's fourth fight with Marquez. That one, you may remember, ended when Pacquiao got starched by a Marquez right hand on Dec. 8, 2012, in Las Vegas and the Pacman went face first to the canvas, where he was out cold.
Roach told Dwyre that there was plenty of concern for Pacquiao's well-being immediately after the punch. Pacquiao didn't move for several anxious moments.
My girlfriend's a doctor and she thought he was dead.
What's bound to set off the Pacquiao fans, though, is Roach's explanation to Dwyre two months after the fact about why the knockout occurred. In the parlance of the Pacquiao fans, it was the old "foot stomp," Roach said.
When you have a lefty [Pacquiao] fighting a right-hander [Marquez], you have guys stepping on each other's lead foot more than righty-righty or lefty-lefty.
We were concerned enough about that happening — because it had happened a lot in their other fights, and even could be used as a strategy by Marquez — to ask the referee to come to our dressing room before the fight so we could warn him to watch for that.
But what happened was the opposite, and I didn't see it clearly until later, when I looked at overhead camera shots.
Marquez didn't step on Manny's foot. Manny stepped on Marquez's foot. And when Marquez pulled it out, it sent Manny off-balance and forward — right into the perfect right hand.
I wasn't ready for that. I had told Manny, when he steps on your foot, don't pull away. But the other way? I didn't see that coming.
Juan Manuel Marquez celebrates (Getty)So yes, Pacman fans, foot stomping was the reason that Manny was knocked out. This time, though, it was Pacman who did the foot stomping.
Pacquiao and Marquez are likely to fight for a fifth time in the fall. Roach is concerned about his friend's health, but said he believes he's now fine. But Roach told Dwyre he'll keep a sharp watch on Pacquiao.
Roach suffers from Parkinson's, which he got as a result of trauma from his own boxing career.
There are things I will be looking for in our next training camp. First, it is the footwork. I will be able to tell if he starts feeling for the canvas. I remember when I did. I'll look for any slight tremors. I remember watching Larry Holmes show a slight tremor when he was doing the mitts in training and I always thought that was a bad sign for his future. But so far, so good.
If the fifth fight happens, perhaps promoter Bob Arum can dub it "Pacquiao-Marquez V: The Return of the Foot Stomp." That should get Pacman's fans fired up to buy the pay-per-view once again.