by David P. Greisman
BoxingScene.com: Did Marquez’s performance against Pacquiao surprise you?
“It surprised me, but by the same token, nothing really surprises me in boxing. At that level, these guys are champions. Marquez, he basically proved that he’s a real problem for Pacquiao. I just thought the weight difference would be an issue with him. But apparently it wasn’t. He just seems to have his number. They could probably fight 10 times, and Pacquiao would probably never beat him decisively.”
Eddie Mustafa Muhammad:
“I’m not surprised at Marquez. Marquez is a great fighter. He’s not the typical Mexican fighter. He mixes his punches up well. He counter-punches beautifully. He does everything great. He has the style to beat Pacquiao.”
“I’m not really surprised, because if you’ve watched 24 rounds, it was a pretty good indicator of what was going to happen before that. I think people were grossly, grossly underestimating Marquez because of the way he fought at a higher weight, and that Pacquiao had adjusted more than Marquez at a higher weight. I would give those 24 rounds much more validity as to what was going to happen than the weight.
“I thought Marquez won the fight. I thought he dictated the pace of the fight. I thought he landed the cleaner punches. People were saying Pacquaio was active, but I really didn’t see Manny Pacquiao all that active, to be honest. I thought Marquez won 7 to 4, 1 even, maybe even 7-5. I clearly thought he won the fight.”
“I thought it would be competitive for seven, eight rounds. I thought Manny would take over and overpower him and eventually stop him. How it turned out is just one of those things, I think, where every fighter runs into some guy that has their number. And I kind of see this the same as Ali-Norton. Marquez is to Pacquiao what Norton was to Ali.
“He just has the style to just give Pacquiao fits. I think the fights are going to look the same no matter how many times they fight. Under no circumstances would I want to see a fourth fight. For what? We’ve seen them fight three times. Basically all three fights kind of look the same. I don’t wanna see anybody fight four times. We’re not going to get anything any different.
“I thought Marquez was winning the fight. I thought he let the fight slip away in the last three rounds. He kind of took his foot off the gas instead of continuing to win rounds and distance himself in a big way. He kind of let up in the last three rounds. I had the fight pretty much a draw.”
“Marquez is one of the best counter-punchers in boxing. And I think it was his timing more so that really negated Pacquiao’s speed and busy-ness. His counters were perfectly timed. And that negated everything Pacquiao tried to do. Pacquiao basically jumps in with combinations and Marquez would basically time him and counter him.
“He just negated everything else Pacquiao did. I think Pacquiao lost confidence in that fight, too. When he saw things weren’t going his way, I didn’t see a Plan B or C coming from Pacquiao’s corner. They basically couldn’t adjust to what Marquez was doing.
“I was wrong, and a lot of other people were wrong, because Pacquiao was fighting at welterweight and even moved up to junior middleweight. I saw where Marquez went up the one time with Floyd was just too small, and I just couldn’t see him handling Pacquiao’s strength and power up there at welterweight.
“But Pacquiao didn’t look as explosive and as powerful as he once did. I don’t know what that’s all about. He didn’t look like the guy that destroyed De La Hoya, that dominated Ricky Hatton and knocked him out cold, the guy who just beat the crap out of Cotto and Margarito. And Margarito, as big and strong as he is, he couldn’t even beat Pacquiao.
“Every time little Marquez hit Pacquiao, he knocked him off balance. I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t know what to say. It didn’t look like the same Pacquiao in the ring the other night as opposed to the Pacquiao we saw in the last three or four fights.”
BoxingScene.com: What does the result of Pacquiao-Marquez III mean for a potential fight between Mayweather and Pacquiao?
“I would stay with Mayweather, but you can’t count Manny Pacquiao out. He might’ve had an off night or whatever it was. Maybe Marquez just had his number. With all that being said, bring that fight on. Let these two fighters determine it rather than everybody analyzing and overanalyzing. I hope the fight happens.”
“This puts a damper on Mayweather and Pacquiao. There’s a lot of people who were on the fence. They didn’t know who they were going to go for, which made it good. Now so many people have switched over to Mayweather’s side, that it kinda takes a little bit of anticipation off of that fight. It wouldn’t feel the same as if Pacquiao had won really decisively the other day.”
“I’ve always thought Mayweather would beat Pacquiao. I’ve always thought Mayweather would beat him relatively easy. Pacquiao has done some tremendous things in this sport. But he’s not fighting Floyd Mayweather.
“I think Floyd Mayweather is the best in the business. He’s the most skilled fighter in the business. Any time a guy is off 18 months and comes back and fights a young, strong lion like Victor Ortiz, and Floyd showed no ring rust. That’s what I was impressed with.
He took two years off and came in and just totally dominated Marquez. It wasn’t even a contest. When Floyd fought Marquez, that fight wasn’t even competitive.
“This is easy work for Floyd. And I hope Team Mayweather and Bob Arum find a way to get it done. The fight needs to happen. This is what the whole world wants to see. Pacquiao-Marquez IV makes no sense to me, because all three fights looked the same. I don’t see anything different in the fourth fight. I think Mayweather-Pacquiao just has to happen. It’s the best thing that could happen to our sport.”
BoxingScene.com: There’s been criticism of trainer Nacho Beristain, who told Marquez that he was winning the fight going into the final rounds, possibly costing Marquez the decision. As a trainer, would you ever tell your fighter, in a close fight, that he was winning?
“Not under those circumstances. You’re fighting Manny Pacquiao. You’ve fought him twice and you felt that you got robbed in those two fights. Why in the world would you tell your guy that he’s winning and it’s like everything’s under control? There was no sense of urgency there. I didn’t understand that.
“But then again, I felt like he’s probably playing it safe. This fight is getting close. I guess the trainer didn’t want him to take any unnecessary risks and mess around and get clipped. But if you’re in it to win it and you’re trying to pull it off, you gotta go for it. He didn’t get that advice from Nacho in this fight.”
“Not at all, because I want to make sure that we close the show the way we opened it.”
David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter at twitter.com/fightingwords2 or on Facebook at facebook.com/fightingwordsboxing, or send questions and comments to [email protected]