Boxing


Prescott vs. Alvardo overshadows Pacquiao vs Marquez

By Paul Strauss: How many times has it happened? Results don't live up to expectations. Leading up to the rubber match of the Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manual Marquez trilogy at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas, the fight was hyped to the point of nausea. Unfortunately the fight didn't come close to matching the stimulation. Fans booed and rightfully so. It didn't matter who they wanted to win, because both guys were coming up short.

Even before the action started, you wondered if it was just your imagination or if your impressions were correct when viewing the pre-fight camera shots of Manny. He just didn't look like he had that intensity you were used to seeing. There was no fire. No sense of a need to hold him back. Did he peak too soon and was explosiveness left in the Wild Card Gym?

He appeared distracted. His eyes wandered, and watching him go through his last punch mit session with Freddy Roach, there was no sizzle, no pop. The whole locker room seemed subdued as well. There was no shouting of encouragement, no back slapping, and no sweat on Manny.

Could he have peaked too soon? Eighteen days out, he and his camp said he was ready! Too soon? Who knows? But, the fact is he didn't come out with his usual fast pace. Certainly JMM had a lot to do with that, but the truth is Manny just didnít look like he was fired up. He didn't or couldn't get into his usual rhythm. His timing was off and he couldn't execute the game plan, which included a often stated desire for a decisive win and conclusion of this thorn in his side.

Meanwhile, Marquez looked sharp, fast and strong. However, he was still getting out worked. Compu box numbers favored Pacquiao, and as JMM listened to Nacho Beristain between rounds advising him he was winning the fight, he was in actuality blowing his real chance for victory. Both he and Nacho had to realize the fight was close. It's understandable they thought they might be enjoying an edge, but neither could have or should have realistically believed they were dominating the action.

As far as flow of the action was concerned, Manny managed, as expected, to be the aggressor, but he failed to land his right hook with the frequency many of anticipated. JMM also avoided most of Manny's big left hands too. There were occasions when Manny started darting in and out, and side to side, giving fans the impression he was finally going to get into rhythm and start once again demonstrating how much he had improved as a complete fighter. But, before that became a reality, he would settle back down into the pattern of attack much less fearsome than we've come to expect.

JMM was his usual self, moving well, getting out of range when needed, and countering with sharp accurate shots when available. Even though the punch stats were in Manny's favor, it would be hard to argue against the idea the JMM landed the harder, cleaner shots. But, he too was too content with sitting back, waiting and hoping for his chance to ambush Manny. Undoubtedly, he was happy with the slower pace, but he should have realized that not only was Manny's pace slower than usual, his was too. Everything is relative, and the judges were obviously looking at who was the aggressor and who was throwing the greatest number of punches.

JMM and Nacho failed to recognize that fact, and as a result were greatly disappointed and bitter when the MD in Manny's favor was announced. In post-fight interviews, they both voiced strong feelings about what they felt was a big injustice perpetrated by the commission and judges. They refused to accept any responsibility for the results, even though they went into the last round mistakenly thinking they had a comfortable lead? In the other corner, Freddy was telling Manny to go out there and knock the guy out.

One of the saddest things about the whole night was the revelation of Manny's continued difficulty with a great counter puncher. Will all of his improvement and increased confidence, he still did not make a good showing against one of the best, which obviously suggests that he will have even more trouble with the best counter puncher and defensive specialist named Floyd Mayweather, Jr. Floyd was probably drooling.

What we expected and wanted to see with Pacman vs JMM actually took place in the prelim bout between Breidis Prescott vs. undefeated Mike Alvardo. Prescott's claim to fame is his first round knockout of Amir Khan. But, many experts thought he was too wild, and threw his punches to wide, and as a result Alvardo would be able to block and then attack with his own big punch assault.

The first three rounds surprised everyone, including Alvarez, becaused Prescott unleashed a furious assault on Alvardo. His punches were straight and accurate. He pumped his hard jab right up the middle between Alvardo's gloves. He blasted through with his right too. Alvardo developed a purplish bruise under the left eye, and a cut above it. He also sustained a gash to both the inside and outside of his mouth. Blood was gushing from that wound, and it seemed like an upset was in store.
By the fourth round, Prescott was still in control, but there seemed to be a slight shift in momentum. Unbelievably, Alvardo seemed to be gaining a bit of steam, and it wasn't false bravado. He was serious and started showing the fire we were hoping for in the Pacquiao vs JMM fight. This guy didn't care what damage had been done to his head and body. He was determined to win the fight, and gradually kept stepping things up as Prescott started to wane a bit.

Prescott was still ahead, especially when judges took into consideration the visible damage done to Alvardo's face. If you just looked at that, then you'd have to assume Prescott was winning the fight, and probably in a big way. But, in Marciano like determination, Alvardo kept attacking. He gave up on the high, shell like defensive style that obviously wasn't working, and instead lowered his left, tucked his chin in behind his shoulder, and started up jabbing, and shuffling in close to land damaging inside shots. At first, Prescott was holding his own on the inside as well, and might even have had an edge for quite a while.

However, Alvardo just kept wearing him down, and surprisingly he hadnít lost any speed or power on his punches, which toward the end of the fight were starting to rip into Prescott's head and body. In the last round, Alvardo got through both right and left uppercuts that had Prescott almost out on his feet. Alvardo jumped all over him, and landed several more hard shots. It appeared Prescott would have fallen if he wasnít holding on to Alvardo. Referee Jay Nady stepped in between the two to protect serious damage to Prescott, and if Nady wasn't holding on to him, Prescott again was ready to fell to the canvas. He was totally shot. The stoppage, though tough for Prescott because he had fought so well, undoubtedly saved him from serious injury.

It was a great fight, and one of the best come from behind demonstrations any fighter ever demonstrated. Mike Alvardo proved he has one of the biggest fighting hearts around. Too often fighters spout the bravado talk about being willing to die in ring before they would ever give up. They too often mean they're willing to take a beating. Thatís not the same thing as being willing to actually fight the fight necessary to win. Alvardo certainly proved he can fight the fight.

Article posted on 14.11.2011



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