ANOTHER brilliant Mexican, Juan Manuel Marquez, looks set to be the latest fighter to crumble beneath Manny Pacquiao’s fury in 2004.
Dropped three times in the opening round, Marquez is on the brink. But he defiantly survives and begins his comeback. Over the next 11 rounds, Pacquiao’s technique deficiencies are exposed and he’s thought fortunate to be awarded a draw by the judges.
Ten months later, it’s a defeat. Mexico’s superb Erik Morales wins a unanimous 12-round decision – cutting Manny along the way – that underlines Pacquiao’s problems. His trainer Freddie Roach constructs a plan to correct them, and the Filipino is forced to use his right hand – over and over – in the gym.
In a rematch with Morales, Pacquiao deploys lateral movement and his right hand to better effect [above]. Erik – so confident beforehand – is hammered to defeat in 10 rounds. There is a rubber match and Pacquiao’s improvement even more evident as he batters his rival into third round submission.
Manny follows that by outscoring both Marco Antonio Barrera and Marquez in returns to complete an impressive run of form against Mexican fighters.