Junior welterweight titlist Juan Manuel Marquez recently had the chance to review his Dec. 8 victory over Manny Pacquiao, the fourth meeting in their series and the 2012 ESPN.com fight of the year, on the ESPN Deportes boxing show "Golpe a Golpe."
Marquez, who co-hosts the program with Jorge Eduardo Sanchez, analyzed his spectacular victory round by round.
"Being able to live this great moment was unforgettable to me," Marquez said, "and doing it again feels like going back in time.
"Seeing it again and, for example, seeing and listening to Michael Buffer introduce the fight makes me feel like I was back there. This is something so memorable for me, something unforgettable, and analyzing it away from the ring is going to be important to me, to see the things we did correctly and incorrectly in this fight."
Sanchez: We saw you concentrating on the softer areas in this round, aiming at Pacquiao's midsection, going aggressively upstairs as well. The judges gave the round to Pacquiao.
Marquez: Yes, it was a round of study. Pacquiao said he was going to look for a knockout. What I did was to go in and measure him, to see what he wanted to do. In certain moments, I also exchanged some punches -- like you said, hitting the softer spots, using my waist movement and connecting with speed. But the most important thing in that first round was seeing what Manny Pacquiao was bringing with him.
Sanchez: And what did Manny Pacquiao bring?
Marquez: Pacquiao had a lot of speed; he came in aggressively, too. At certain points, he seemed to want to bring the fight to me. We hit him with right-hand counterpunches. I wanted to see the aggressiveness Manny Pacquiao had promised and what I would need to do in the following rounds.
Sanchez: Second round to Manny Pacquiao. Speed, precise punches -- some of them at the jaw -- but he took the round according to the judges.
Marquez: The second round was difficult, and he did connect with some punches -- just as I hit him. Manny was throwing his left hand. When I threw a jab, he seized the opportunity to sneak in with his left, and he connected well. There was even a left hand in there that connected on the way in. He was doing things right, I was waiting for him to explode, to be able to use my counterpunching, to use combinations with speed. I was trying to hit the softer areas in order to dominate, and logically also trying to hit him upstairs, using mixed combinations in order to get to Manny Pacquiao's face.
Sanchez: This is a clear frame in your favor. A 10-8 card evened the score, from the officials' point of view. Tell us about the right hand that dropped Pacquiao, Juan Manuel. We had been talking about it here on several episodes of "Golpe a Golpe." You've being throwing that punch [against Pacquiao] since 2004 [in your first fight], and ever since then you've been connecting with it -- with the only difference being that this time you sent him to the canvas.
Marquez: A big difference. We practiced that punch; we had practiced it since 2004, like you said. We started in those first two rounds hitting the softer spots with the right hand, connecting to the body. I knew Pacquiao understood that my hook downstairs was a key for me and that I would want to throw it. It worked because the punch came after a fake; I faked it upstairs, and right then I sent the hook back upstairs, where it was a dry punch, and this one was well connected between the jaw and the cheek. We capitalized on what we did in the first two rounds going low, using the fake move to connect the hook with the right hand.
Sanchez: Manny Pacquiao got up, but you didn't go after him for the finish. Why did you make that decision?
Marquez: Because just by looking for the KO, looking to connect on a lucky punch, I could have ended up knocked out myself. Why? Because of the hunger to score a KO. And maybe because of that, Manny Pacquiao would have become more dangerous when he was hurt. He can throw punches from all sides, even without the right angle, and he may connect with a few bombs -- so typical of Manny Pacquiao.
Sanchez: Why wasn't Pacquiao able to stop that punch if you've been throwing it since 2004?
Marquez: I believe that each fight teaches you something, and a new history is written in each fight. We knew how to work on that. The punch from 2004 was the same, but it was a little bit longer; it didn't have the same power, the same forcefulness. Now, in 2008 I connected against him with the same type of punches, but he managed to cover against those. In the third fight, we did it again, but not with the same power. We didn't work in the same way as we did [in the fourth fight], with power and speed. And this time it was a precise punch, a punch we had been working on during our training camp, and we used that fake move to connect with that punch.
Sanchez: The fourth was a close round, good exchanges. Manny Pacquiao managed to connect with a three-punch combination. You got back on track toward the end and connected with a few good right hands. A very difficult round for the judges. What was your mindset at that moment? Were you fighting? Were you enjoying yourself? Were you suffering? Working on something? What did you think about Pacquiao at that point? He seemed to have fully recovered.
Marquez: Yes, he had recovered. Dangerous. Starting in the first round, Manny had shown he was dangerous, and he continued to be dangerous in the fight. He had recovered from that fall in the third round. He was coming in with everything. He connected with a combination of three punches, as well as one or two uppercuts. He connected well. We knew how to adjust after that combination -- by moving our waist well -- because we know Manny Pacquiao doesn't throw three punches; he throws four, five and even six punches, with lots of speed. That's why we moved our waist and never fell into Manny's game plan, when he wanted to exchange short punches and turn things around in his favor because of the great speed he has.
Sanchez: What was going through your mind, and what were they telling you in the corner?
Marquez: Obviously, we had to make a change. We started to use the right hand -- straight, the right hook downstairs, then changing to the left, using the hooks also. Sometimes I did connect, other times I didn't. But we had to make some adjustments -- a few adjustments that turned out to be good. And as things went along -- for example, in the fifth round, we threw combinations that we were able to connect with. But here we had to make adjustments in order to keep Manny Pacquiao from learning the path of that right hand.
Sanchez: What a great round! First, you visit the canvas. And then you seem to have a magic moment, connecting with a very violent right hand to Pacquiao's face -- the same right hand you would later use to finish the fight. But in the second half of the round, it's all Pacquiao. You take a right hand to the nose and struggle to get out of the round.
Marquez: Yes, a right hook came in quite strong from Manny Pacquiao and landed on my nose, right where they thought I had a fracture. There was no fracture, but there was a hemorrhage. A bloody nose can make a gruesome impression. Yes, I did take a very strong hook, where Manny Pacquiao realizes I'm hurt and then goes on the attack, trying to finish the fight by KO. I move my waist calmly, waiting to connect on my punches. I connect on a few occasions, but Pacquiao becomes confident and moves forward. He thinks I'm hurt and that maybe he can end the fight, but I wasn't hurt at that time. I was simply waiting for him to throw punches in order to react to them.
Sanchez: It seemed like the referee was getting ready to stop the fight. Were you worried about the referee being so focused on that?
Marquez: I didn't notice the referee. I see the replay, of course, and Manny Pacquiao, like I told you, was trying to finish the fight. I don't know whether the referee comes over to intervene when the round ends or just to observe what was going on, but I was on the ropes moving my waist, Manny Pacquiao was throwing punches but not connecting, not being precise. Why? Because I was moving my waist and responding all the time. He hit me quite hard and landed several combinations that we took well, because we were in great condition. But the hemorrhage starts to appear from my nose, and I wasn't breathing as easily anymore.
Sanchez: We've seen you suffer in the same way in the past. Against Juan Diaz, Michael Katsidis and even [Joel] Casamayor, you always had the ability to come back, to overcome everything and win those fights. Did you have the same confidence after what you went through in this round?
Marquez: Yes, the confidence was there. In those moments, I even thought about the fact that during the first fight against Manny Pacquiao, I had that same bleeding for 12 rounds. Why wouldn't I hold on for another six rounds [this time]? I think I had that confidence; I knew we were going to come out without any problems. [Trainer] Nacho Beristain is a great expert in our corner, one who can stop any hemorrhage. We were waiting to get to the corner and let Nacho Beristain do his job. I never lost momentum. I was waiting to get to the corner and let the round end and Beristain would do his work, and then I would take on the next round to get to the same level of confidence again.
Sanchez: You were [initially] losing the sixth round. Were you still recovering? You kept throwing punches, but Manny continued to dominate until that last second came along and they stopped the fight.
Marquez: What bothered me most was my breathing from the bloody nose. In the fifth, Nacho Beristain didn't work on that hemorrhage and went straight to the cut we had on the left side of the nose. ... I came out to fight in the sixth round with the hemorrhage keeping me from breathing normally. It didn't let me do my job well in the ring and didn't let me respond to Pacquiao, which is something we were doing well. We needed speed, and this pace was going to get rough without the proper amount of oxygen. That's why I felt desperate, because I couldn't breathe.
Sanchez: You practiced that counterpunch a lot. Many people think it was a lucky punch. How did you decide that it was the right moment to throw it?
Marquez: We were waiting for the right moment. Manny Pacquiao always makes a fake move that I know too well. He fakes a charge forward and then looks like he is going to follow with a one-two. That's a common fake he has. What I do is, I wait for the moment, he fakes the punch ... that one-two. Then I go for his right hand as he throws it as a jab -- I go toward his right hand. He comes forward with all his weight, and that's why the fall becomes more forceful and spectacular -- because he is coming straight to me and I make my body twist and turn, and the right hand wasn't in a straight position. I believe that this movement made the hand even stronger. ... The clash of two body masses full-on makes the punch even stronger.
Sanchez: You didn't even have the chance to finish that punch; you were left hanging in the middle. If you had stretched out your hand, the punch would have been much more violent.
Marquez: He didn't give me the chance to stretch out my arm because he was charging forward. That's what helped me finish the fight by KO, and it helped make the punch even stronger -- because he was charging forward. I seized that opportunity, because after three fights I know that any changes made by the other fighter, however slight, are very important. That's why we worked on that, waiting for him to make that fake move that I know so well. And when he made that move right then, I wait for his jab and then I jump right into his punch, and that's how I did it. A strong punch. A very strong punch, which wasn't completely straight; it was sort of between a straight right and a hook. That made it even stronger.