Saturday, November 12, 2011

Pacquiao-Marquez: Four Scenarios

This piece provides the most likely outcomes for the Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez fight. Next to each Scenario will be a percentage, which represents the probability of each particular outcome occurring. My final prediction will be at the end of the article.

Scenario #1. Pacquiao defeats Marquez by late-round stoppage. 40%.

Since he last faced Marquez in 2008, Pacquiao has become a stronger, more physical fighter. Also, with the improvement of his right hook, he has matured into a much more versatile boxer than he was when he fought Marquez in their earlier bouts.

Pacquiao and Marquez were evenly matched at featherweight and junior lightweight, but as the two fighters moved up in weight classes, Pacquiao's strength, power and, perhaps most importantly, chin have translated much better in the higher weights than Marquez's have. Pacquiao dominated big punchers at welterweight and junior middleweight (Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito), while Marquez struggled at lightweight against Juan Diaz and Joel Casamayor. Marquez was also dropped by Michael Katsidis.

In Marquez's one fight above lightweight against Floyd Mayweather, he wasn't able to land anything of significance. In that match, Mayweather carried Marquez during the last few rounds of the fight. Mayweather could have scored a knockout had he been more aggressive; Marquez only made it to the final bell because Mayweather let him.

In this Scenario, Pacquiao's power is too much for Marquez to handle. Marquez's defense has already slipped against lesser fighters (specifically Katsidis); it's tough to imagine that he will suddenly avoid the shots that he has been getting hit with over the last few years. Furthermore, Pacquiao has already proven that he can knock Marquez down, dropping him four times in their first two fights. In this Scenario, Pacquiao bludgeons Marquez throughout the fight, forcing Tony Weeks, the referee, or Nacho Beristain, Marquez's trainer, to stop the fight in the late rounds.

Scenario #2. Pacquiao defeats Marquez by wide decision. 35%.

This outcome would unfold similarly to Scenario #1, except Marquez is able to survive without a stoppage. Pacquiao would build an early lead and keep his foot on the gas pedal, winning almost every round. Similar to the Mayweather fight, Marquez would lack the power or speed to be competitive.

Scenario #3. Pacquiao defeats Marquez by close decision. 10%.

This Scenario would represent a continuation of their first two fights, whereby Pacquiao lands fast combinations but Marquez scores with effective right hand counters and left hooks. If this outcome occurs, it would demonstrate that Marquez has indeed mastered Pacquiao's style. Even though Marquez has size and speed disadvantages, his expertise in countering and punch placement would thwart Pacquiao's aggression and score points.

Similar to their first two fights, the outcome in this Scenario would most likely be determined by any knockdowns that Pacquiao is able to score. If the fight is close, Marquez must stay on his feet to give himself the best chance of winning. However, because Marquez needs the fight to be waged at close range, he most likely will get hit with something that will send him to the canvas, providing Pacquiao with the margin he needs to secure the victory.

Scenario #4. Other. 15%.

1. Pacquiao defeats Marquez by early KO. It's possible that with Pacquiao's increased strength that Marquez won't be able to get up from an early-round knockdown, as he did in their previous two fights. Perhaps his legs won't recover fast enough to survive Pacquiao's opening onslaught. 2. Marquez wins by close decision. Here, Marquez is able to secure enough rounds with his clean punching to pick up the victory. Many of the rounds could be very tight, but the judges are swayed by Marquez's pinpoint shots. 3. Pacquiao defeats Marquez by TKO caused by cuts. Marquez does cut fairly easily and perhaps, with his reflexes slowing down, he will have a difficult time in avoiding Pacquiao's odd-angled shots, leading to the opening of a significant cut that ends the fight. 4. Fight stopped because of a cut due to an accidental head butt. In this case, Marquez's cut occurrs because of a head butt. With Pacquiao a southpaw who features odd movements, and Marquez, a conventional fighter who wants the action at close range, the chance of a serious clash of heads is highly likely. The round in which the fight is halted would determine whether there would be a winner, or if the match would be ruled a no-contest. 5. Pacquiao and Marquez draw. Even though the first fight resulted in a draw, it shouldn't have – a judge didn't score the three knockdowns in the first round correctly. Most likely, there will be a knockdown in the fight, which would make a draw less likely.

Prediction:

Both fighters come out aggressively at the opening bell with Pacquiao trying to land his power shots and Marquez looking to counter. By the third round (if not even earlier), Pacquiao establishes his dominance and lands hard, flush shots, especially with his right hook-straight left hand combination.  As the fight progresses, Pacquiao continues to inflict serious damage with his power punches and fast combinations. Seeing his fighter absorb an inordinate amount of punishment, Beristain stops the bout in the late rounds.

Pacquiao defeats Marquez by 11th-round TKO.






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