THE BLUEPRINT : How to Beat Manny Pacquiao

This is a look back at some of Manny's career defining fights in the lead up to his blockbuster bout vs Tim Bradley coming up on the 12th April..... 

Manny Pacquiao vs Juan Manuel Marquez III and IV

Juan Manuel Marquez moved up in weight and gave Manny his
toughest fight since his dominant move to the welterweight division. 
After the Cotto fight Manny continued to destroy all comers 
at the welterweight division until.......... 

Juan Manuel Marquez was a long time nemesis of Manny's. Just before his rise to stardom Manny fought Marquez two times albeit at a much lower weight class. By the time of the third fight Marquez had to move up in weight to accommodate Manny who was now comfortable in his new territory at welterweight. But what happened next is a great example of where styles make fights.
Manny dominated the bigger fighters but looked much less in control against the smaller evasive fighters being Marquez and Bradley.

Manny's rise to stardom through the higher weight division saw him fighting opponents who were naturally bigger and supposedly stronger. This meant that they used a strategy to try to pressure and overpower Manny. However this played into Manny's hands as what was seen as his weakness was actually his strength. That is, Manny would be able to handle their power and return fire even harder resulting in him knocking out his larger opponent and/or turn the tables and force them to be the ones retreating. They were flat wrong in thinking they would win the exchanges and consequently used the wrong strategy. In trying to pressure Manny they were not evasive and presented Manny a stationary target for him to unload his power and speed on.

Marquez on the other hand used an entirely different strategy. Being the naturally smaller man with a preference for counter punching Marquez obviously would not try to pressure Manny but rather let him do the attacking and seek to counter punch. And this is where we saw Manny struggle to adapt. This style was not complementary to how Manny likes to fight and so we saw a rather counter intuitive narrative play out. Manny would dominate the bigger fighters but look much less in control against the smaller evasive fighters being Marquez and Bradley.

Manny was able to get the decision against Marquez in their third encounter in 2011 but it was a very controversial result and so a fourth fight was required. In the 2011 fight Marquez landed many good shots against Manny but could not hurt the stronger man. He was able to avoid Manny's power shots enough to last the 12 rounds but with Manny being the aggressor the judges decided to give the result to Manny. The fourth fight in 2012 was a continuation of their previous battle but Marquez realised something had to change. So he deliberately added more muscle and entered the ring bigger than ever with a newly sculptured physique that could deliver more power to his punches.
Marquez deliberately added more muscle and entered the ring bigger than ever with a newly sculptured physique that could deliver more power to his punches.

This strength adjustment seemed to work for Marquez as can be seen in the video clip below. In both clips we see Marquez fake a jab to distract Manny then get low while throwing a right hand power shot from his hip. He disguises the punch making it look like a body shot but changing mid punch to land to Manny's head. While he used this identical move in both fights, the 2011 version barely drew a flinch from Manny while the 2012 version knocked him down for the first time in years shocking everyone in the process.

Fight four of course in what will be one of the most memorable moments in boxing history with Marquez knocking out the then invincible Manny Pacquiao in the 6th round. Regardless of weather this was a lucky punch or not Marquez is the only challenger able to trouble Manny since his rise to super stardom in the welterweight division. The following analysis of Marquez's basic strategy will reveal some of the blueprint on how he beat Manny Pacquiao.


Feints / Fakes 

Pacquiao Strength : Anticipating opponents attacks and counter punching with great timing and precision

Marquez's strategy to neutralise strength : Constant fake punches only occasionally throwing with power. By faking, Pacquiao becomes confused as to when and how to defend against actual attacks. Marquez often throws a punch just to draw Pacquiao into an attempted counter then counters himself. Marquez would also 'mistime' his punches so Pacquiao cannot anticipate when it is going to land.

Pacquiao's straight left punch

Pacquiao's strength : His favourite weapon which he uses frequently. A very powerful and fast straight left hand punch. Most devastatingly used against De La Hoya and Hatton.

How to neutralise strength:

Move left

Marquez constantly moved left. Therefore to land his left hand cross Manny has to reach across his body making him stretch and lose balance. Even if the shot lands a lot of the sting is taken off as Marquez is moving away from the trajectory of the shot.

Marquez moving left, away from Pacquiao's dangerous left cross.
Counter punch

Marquez would be very patient in waiting for Pacquiao to throw the straight left. This is a power punch so if thrown with commitment, it will often leave the boxer off balance and out of position if he misses. When Pacquiao throws this punch he commits to it meaning he is more open to counter punches so Marquez would just wait for it and then step back slightly or slip the punch to make Pacquiao miss. He would then counter punch in a variety of ways making Pacquiao retreat. The concentration Marquez displayed in staying with this strategy throughout the fights was particularly impressive. 

The unthinkable happened. Marquez's devastating knockout of the indestructible Manny Pacquiao  shook the boxing world to its core.

All these strategies Marquez used added up to confuse and frustrate Manny. No other fighter before him had caused him such difficulties and as Manny tried harder and harder to impose his will on Marquez he would eventually lose patience leading to the unthinkable. The devastating knockout of the indestructible Manny Pacquiao that shook the boxing world to its core. And now we find Manny's career at a crossroad in the form of Tim Bradley. Will Manny recover past glories and win spectacularly or will he lose and fade into relative obscurity. We will find out April 12.

No comments:

Post a Comment