Larry Merchant's Take on Pacquiao vs. Marquez Outcome

By Chris Robinson

Although veteran HBO color analyst Larry Merchant wasn’t in Las Vegas for the third go-round between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez, he still had a deep interest in the fight from his ringside experiences during their first two encounters. Speaking on the result of Pacquiao’s recent majority-decision victory, a fight that was again razor-close and could have gone either way, Merchant had much to share during our recent conversation for our ongoing column.
While there are several observers, myself included, who came away with the feeling that Marquez’s precise counterpunching and dictation of the fight had warranted enough for a victory, Merchant wasn’t as quick to jump on the wagon. Pacquiao has been on such a tremendous run of success lately that people simply had grown accustomed to dominating performances from him in the ring, according to Merchant, and anything less could easily be looked at with slight disappointment. 

In the first part of my interview with Merchant we discussed what ultimately may have swayed the judging in Pacquiao’s favor, what the future holds for both fighters, what Pacquiao's promoter Bob Arum is feeling after this weekend’s action, and how people’s expectations can affect their overall judgment.
Candid as he always is, this is what Merchant had to say…
The ultimate difference in Pacquiao-Marquez III…
“My thought was it was a very close fight. For about a third of it I thought ‘They know each other too well’ but once they got into it, it was a pretty good fight. And it was very close. I heard that an unusual number of media had it a draw. I think the difference ultimately is that Pacquiao threw an average of twelve more punches a round than Marquez did. That’s a kind of marker of the difference in the aggressor and the counter-puncher and in some very-close rounds, most judges will give it to the fighter who has been more active.”
The respective future of each man…
“Marquez has shown that when he’s as highly-motivated as he is for Pacquiao, training three or four months, that he can still fight at the highest level. He’s still the lightweight champion. I mean, wouldn’t you want to see him fight a Rios? Wouldn’t you want to see him fight a Morales? As for Pacquiao, he can choose to fight Marquez again. He could choose to fight Bradley. And there might be some other options if he and Mayweather continue to get out of each other’s way.”
The enigma that is Pacquiao-Mayweather…
“I think the fact that either time either one of them fights it’s disappointing to people that it’s not against each other. I believe that Mayweather has been the obstacle up to now and if he wants the fight now, then Pacquiao may say ‘Well, I’m not going to let you dictate when the fight happens. I have a big fight out here and I’m going to take another shot at it’.”
What Bob Arum is thinking after Pacquiao’s latest performance…
“I don’t know. He himself has admitted that he can’t go back to Mexico unless he makes a fourth fight. He promotes a lot of fight in Mexico or with Mexicans. And if the Mexican fans want to support a fourth fight, then I get it. I think that Pacquiao, long ago, agreed to virtually all of the terms of Mayweather and Mayweather elected to fight Ortiz. One of the things I’ve pointed out to others is that both of these guys are making so much money fighting opponents who don’t appear to be as threatening as each of them would be to each other, that that becomes somewhat of a disincentive to fight each other. If Manny made 20 to 30 million dollars on Saturday night and Mayweather made upwards of 30 million dollars for fighting Ortiz, it’s not like they need to fight each other to ensure that their grandchildren will have trust funds.”
The expectations towards greatness…
“Look, I think in general, expectations affect how we see fights and fighters. Manny’s had a great run since his last fight with Marquez, which he’s dominated every opponent, all of whom where naturally bigger guys than him. And here he is, still in his prime or close to his prime and he’s fighting Marquez, who’s never been really successful above the lightweight limit and is now 38, so there were a lot of expectations that Pacquiao would beat Marquez decisively. And sometimes that plays into how you see the fight. Because Marquez won what I call the ‘drama’ of the fight by doing better than people expected and making Pacquiao look not as good as people expected.”
The reality of the situation…
“The reality is the fight was similar to the first two fights expect there were no knockdowns. People just didn’t think Marquez could stay with Pacquiao at this stage of their careers and at this weight. And there was a surprise and Marquez showed that he could. Sometimes in those situations, where a fighter wins the drama of the fight because he’s doing better than expected, he may get a little bit more credit for what he does. All of it led up to a very close decision and if people want to pay for it again and if Arum’s got his finger to the wind and that’s where they want to go then they can have that fight and then fight Mayweather a year from now if they’re both still standing.”

Stay tuned for the second part of my interview with Larry Merchant where he discusses how Amir Khan and Floyd Mayweather Jr. factor into the recent Pacquiao-Marquez drama...
[ Reader's note: For more in-depth interviews with Larry Merchant on several other characters from the boxing world please visit our ongoing column at The Ultimate Larry Merchant Directory ]

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Bad Boy Dazza on 11-17-2011

[QUOTE=Check_hooks;11433205]the truth is that Merchant has watched more boxing than you ever will and is vastly more knowledgeable about the sport than you [/QUOTE] Yep but these experts that post here know better than Merchant. After all they got their…

Comment by Picazo on 11-17-2011

Larry works for ****n hbo.....

Comment by TracianWarrior on 11-17-2011

Larry knows Manny won.

Comment by Ring Leader on 11-17-2011

Larry Merchant to Pacquiao - If I was 50 years old and the judges were being fair I would kick your ass!

Comment by Ringlife on 11-17-2011

Larry right on the money.

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (58)
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