Nick Foxx checks in this evening with his report card from last night's Pacquiao vs Marquez III card.
First of all, let me point out I thought Manny won the fight, seven rounds to five. I won't make an argument here for the decision, because I know I'm not going to persuade anyone who thinks otherwise. But Manny did what he had to do for the "W," realizing he could not outbox Marquez nor hurt him consistently enough to finish him, and relying instead on outworking his older rival and playing the role of the aggressor.
Having said that, I feel Manny clearly overtrained for this fight. In previous camps, we all heard about how he was mailing it in until the last two weeks at the Wildcard, and then he would turn it on and by fight night would be a lean, hungry thoroughbred just chomping at the bit to run. In comparison, the lead-up to this fight indicated that Manny was peaking way too early, with Alex Ariza saying on the second episode of 24/7 that "he wished the fight were tomorrow," a full eighteen days before fight night. That comment raised a serious red flag in my mind, and it was borne out last night when Manny looked drained entering the ring, unhealthily sweating, and during the fight, when he was constantly beaten to the punch by a man over whom he had all the physical advantages. But Manny won, so he passes this most difficult of tests. I don't think anyone can say with a serious face-Skip Bayless, are you listening?-that Floyd is scared of fighting Manny. That concept has always been ridiculous to me, and now looks even moreso. Grade: B-
JUAN MANUEL MARQUEZ
Marquez elevated his legacy with his performance, proving that he should be considered not just a Hall of Fame-level fighter, but perhaps deserves mention among the all-time greats, at least the Mexican ones. If you don't think he belongs with Chavez, Morales, and Barrera now, then you never will. But in my mind, he's proven that he's a very special, very serious fighter that embodies the height of professionalism both in and out of the ring. No one adapts better mid-fight than Marquez -- not Floyd Mayweather, not Sugar Ray Leonard. In addition to the Pacquiao fights, consider his wins against Casamayor, Barrera, Juan Diaz, and Katsidis. Marquez had trouble early in every one of those fights, and he was able to make adjustments such that he had the upper hand by the end. But do I want to see a fourth fight against Pacquiao? No. Grade: A
The last few major PPV undercards have all produced at least one hellacious war (Vazquez-Arce on Pacquiao-Mosley, Morales-Cano on Mayweather-Ortiz, and Linares-DeMarco on Hopkins-Dawson) and last night was no exception, with Alvarado and Prescott engaging in an engrossing slugfest that was all Prescott early on, and all Alvarado late. I think many boxing fans considered Alvarado a product of Top Rank hype given his uninspiring competition and sordid background entering the contest, but he proved all his doubters wrong, showing tremendous courage in the face of a physically superior opponent who was punching ferociously in the first half of the fight, weathering the storm and eventually turning the tables when Prescott's stamina failed him, taking the Colombian to "uppercut city," as Max Kellerman put it. That's a place Prescott won't ever want to revisit, as he ended the fight out on his feet, in the arms of Jay Nady. Alvarado deserves a title shot, and Bradley-Alvarado seems like the obvious fight to make. Or maybe Rios-Alvarado. Grade: A+
For the same reasons Angulo failed last week, Prescott failed last night. He gassed himself trying to KO Alvarado, even when it was apparent that Alvarado wasn't going to go that easily. Then he engaged in a phonebooth war despite having most of his success jabbing and throwing rights from range. Finally, when he was hurt, he clearly had no idea how to grab and slow down the fight. It's back to the drawing board for Prescott, who has now lost to Miguel Vazquez, Alvarado, Kevin Mitchell, and Paul McCloskey. The KO win against Amir Khan recedes even further into the past. Grade: D
He got an easy assignment and he did what he was supposed to do. The assignment was crappy and proved nothing, but you can't blame the student for the quality of the test. Bradley looked fresh and powerful next to Casamayor, but Casamyor looked only a little better than James Toney did against Denis Lebedev, an old man who had no business being in a professional prize ring at the top level anymore. Grade: B+
I admit I have been a fan of "El Cepillo" for a long time now, since his wars with Diego Corrales, Acelino Freitas and Jose Luis Castillo way back when. I made a bundle on his "upset" of Michael Katsidis a few years ago, which was probably his last legitimate victory. He looked decent losing his lineal lightweight crown to Marquez in 2008. Since then, his performances have ranged from desultory to just plain awful. Last night was no exception. It was like the worst moments of B-Hop-Jones II all rolled into one performance. He grabbed whenever there was a chance he was going to be hit, used his head as often as his once great straight left, and hit low with obvious malicious intent. Hang ‘em up, Cepillo. You were once a proud champion and that is how I will remember you. Grade: F