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Monday, April 6, 2009

Pacquiao or Hatton: Who’s truly tough?

MANILA, Philippines - Last week's boxing puzzle had experts wondering why the great Juan Manuel Marquez was left out in the list of Manny Pacquiao’s potential year-end foes.

Don’t ask matchmaker cum laude Bob Arum, please.

It was Arum who prepared that phony list. If you happen to be a Pacquiao diehard, you owe Uncle Bob a pat on the back.

Arum, in junking Marquez, was just making sure they would not spoil Pacquiao’s ongoing punching picnic.

* * *

At least, before the previous week could end, trainer Freddie Roach was overheard as mumbling that, yes, Marquez could be a fallback if Pacquiao doesn’t end up fighting the still retired Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Roach did not say it. But, to repeat, Marquez is not only a potential foe.

He’s every inch and every scorching blow the legit and worthiest foe for Pacquiao.

* * *

No need to wonder why.

The 35-year-old Marquez also promises to be very difficult, not only for Pacquiao but for whoever he will face this year.

OK, the mention of Marquez may not cause Pacquiao to shudder in his sleep.

But wasn’t it Marquez who last provided Pacquiao a hell of a fight?

That was in 2007 yet, when Marquez caused one of the loudest uproars in prizefighting.

* * *

For the record, Pacquiao’s previous two fights were simply outings.

He was hardly challenged by David Diaz, who just stood there like a statue.

Of course, Oscar De La Hoya would outdo Diaz, after the Golden Boy behaved like somebody suddenly hit by on-ring paralysis.

If anything, those two punching picnics against Diaz and De La Hoya had solidified Pacquiao’s claim to the pound-for-pound crown.

* * *

So, if Arum mentioned Marquez, wouldn’t that be equal to dispensing the wrong prescription to his richest and most famous prizefight property?

Wasn’t it Señor Marquez who last exposed to the world how Pacquiao could be beaten?

The Bulletin’s Nick Giongco reported it succinctly that Pacquiao was observed to teeter like a troubled sea vessel after Marquez had tagged him with a dagger to the rib cage.

Was it in the fifth or seventh round of their last battle, when Pacquiao was hit in that jackpot area that could ultimately prove to be his Achilles heel?

* * *

Now, whether Arum likes or not, this soft point in Pacquiao’s anatomy is no longer a mystery to the Hatton camp.

While Roach had been saying they would concentrate on the chin to dump Hatton inside three rounds, the British Hitman appears to have picked the easier target.

Hatton is sure to jump in and explode fireworks on Pacquiao’s body—mainly in that soft rib cage area which Marquez had exposed but failed to totally exploit.

All told, it will be the head for Pacquiao, the body for Hatton, for respective win-win targets.

But didn’t Archie Moore, an all-time greatest, say that, inside the ring, the body—more than the head—is easier to tag because the torso hasn’t got eyes?

Let’s pray the body doesn’t prove totally blind in the case of the Pacman.


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