IN THE RING
Boxing fans got what they wanted in epic proportions when Filipino legend Manny Pacquiao and Mexican icon Juan Manuel Marquez fought a ferocious battle at the Las Vegas MGM Grand Garden Arena last weekend.
Mexico’s Juan Manuel Marquez, right, and Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas.
Marquez's knockout of Pacquiao came as a stunning climax toward the end of the sixth round. landing a thumping right hand punch that proved once again the that best fighters in professional boxing are still kings of the ring.
Pacquiao paid the price for lacking discipline by not tempering his raw aggression early in a desperate attempt to become the dominant fighter.
It worked until halfway through the third round, when Marquez unleashed a perfectly timed over-hand right that sent Pacquiao falling to the canvas for the first time in a long time.
So much for Pacquiao's well-publicised plan to adopt a defensive counter-punch strategy that he had been practising months ahead of his all-action showdown. It was a classic case of having the right plan with the wrong execution.
On the other hand, Marquez showed absolute discipline, measuring his opponent until the opening came near the end of the sixth round, when Pacquiao was exposed to a counter-punch that spread-eagled the Filipino boxing idol face-first on the floor.
Great boxers say they know when the time comes to quit the main arena and Pacquiao would be wise to have submit to a reality check before his sterling boxing career is needlessly tarnished.
The thing is that congressman Pacquiao doesn't needs to fight again. He turns 34 this week with an ideal political career and a respected life ahead. He has loads of money, a reborn faith and a loyal wife who was visibly shocked to seeing him lying unconscious on the ring floor.
Fighting Roger Mayweather isn't going to add much more glory to Pacquiao's legacy but if he loses, it could spoil his legacy as Asia's greatest fighter.
It's Pacquiao's call as to whether boxing continues to rule his life. His choice is either to steer a course for a final megafight against Mayweather, or hang up his gloves like the great Muhammad Ali, Holyfield and Tyson could have and should have, but didn't.
They lived to regret it because few big-time boxers leave the fight game on time.
So where does the result leave Mayweather? Far ahead of the rest, on all accounts, with no challenger in sight that is capable of going the distance with the undefeated American superstar.
The 'age factor' ecventually outweighs talent in all combat sport disciplines. Somluck Kamsing, Thailand's first Olympic gold medallist and a great Muay Thai champion, suffered one of his rare losses against veteran Jomhod Kiatadisak at the Lumpinee birthday event last Friday night.
It was Somluck's much-publicised return to professional Muay Thai, after he signed a six-fight contract at Lumpinee and received half the purse up front. But in the heat of the battle the ageing warrior faded badly, as 40-year-old fighters are prone to.
The promoter's plan was for Somluck to crown his comeback with a Hollywood-style mixed rules fight against action movie star Jean Claude Van Damme for the "universal" title.
Somluck's shock loss has put the match-up on hold, despite claims his poor performance was forced by a shoulder injury he suffered early in the contest, but it's unlikely that the younger fighters on the same card _ some nearly half his age _ would have been troubled.
Singdam Kiatmoo9 impressed in the main event with an easy victory over Wanchalerm Uddonmuang _ and he's now the frontrunner for Lumpinee's fighter of the year award.
The 'Black Lion' is being pressed by Sam-A Kaiyanghadaogym, who continued his winning streak with a tight win over Pokaew Fonjangchonuri. And Saketdao Petphayathai, who's been in fine form all year, showed great persistence to come from behind to beat Mongkolchai Petsouphaphan.
About the author
- Writer: Patrick Cusick