The Fog of Internet Reports
By Richard McManus
I finally got a chance to see the Juan Manuel Marquez - Chris John scrap yesterday. Now, in this space last week I was critical of the way Marquez and his manager Nacho Beristain have handled their boxing affairs but I in no way implied or meant to imply that Marquez lost the fight the John. But, the fact is, a loss is a loss, and Marquez will have to work from it if he wants to get back on top.
However, I was critical of the fact that he was even in that position, having to fight John in his home country for a purse that was reportedly in the range of $32,500. Any way you look at it, it wasn't a desirable position to be in for one of the Top 10 Pound for Pound fighters in the world. Other managerial decisions like turning down the rematch with Manny Pacquiao and the $700,000 payday that would have reportedly come along with it have also raised red flags.
In my opinion, Marquez, a great champion with proven credentials and years of ring experience at the top of the sport should only be taking big fights or at least fights that will lead to big fights. He was hardly at a point in his career where he needed to fight a guy like Chris John in his home country of Indonesia, far away from the scrutiny and spotlight of the world boxing media and far away from the boxing capital of Las Vegas.
Upon viewing the fight all of my concerns and suspicions were confirmed and the thesis of my column last week has been strengthened. He never should have taken the fight.
Don't get me wrong the fight was no blowout on the part of Marquez and was not a major robbery. But it was a bad decision. Marquez clearly won the fight and on my unofficial scorecard I had Marquez by a margin of 115-111 or maybe to be more generous to John 114-112. That is including the 2 one-point deductions that were leveled against Marquez, reportedly for low blows.
I had Marquez winning at least 8 rounds. Without the deductions a reasonable score from my point of view could have been would have been 116-112 for Marquez (with the deductions 114-112 would have been reasonable).
I saw Marquez throwing far more punches, landing effective hooks, jabs, combinations and body punches, controlling the ring and hurting John on occasion. John did effectively dictate the pace of the fight for some of the rounds with his bouncy, active style and movement but rarely landed or even threw more than one punch at a time.
Immediately after the fight and continuing in the days afterward Internet reports and message board posts gave the scores of the fight 116-110, 117-111, 116-112 followed by the note that Marquez had points deducted in the 9th and 10th rounds for low blows. The possible implication being that Marquez down on the cards to John and losing the fight resorted to dirty tactics in an effort to level the playing field and salvage some sort of moral victory.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Here's how the low blows and point deductions unfolded:
In the 6th round Marquez hit John on the cup. It was a legitimate low punch but obviously unintentional as John was bouncing in and out of Marquez?s field all night and Marquez being known for his wide body hooks was bound to land one low sooner or later. So he was warned there.
In the 8th round Marquez was warned again for another wide body hook but this time the punch appeared to land on John's arm, maybe even as high as his shoulder, if it landed at all. In Spanish, Referee Guillermo Pineda Perez told Marquez, "One more and I take a point". Fair enough, even though the second warning was for an extremely questionable low punch.
In the 9th round Marquez landed a shot on John's belt line and even though John was not given any time to recover and was in fact rushed back into action a point was deducted. Referee Perez seemed all too eager to take the point from Marquez and the look on Marquez's face as he was paraded around the ring for the official point deduction was of a man that knew the fix was in or at least he looked a little uncomfortable. The point deduction in the 11th occurred under much the same circumstances and was for a punch that landed on the belt line of John's high riding trunks.
Now, this is where the internet reports of the fight not only fail to tell the truth they actually distort the truth making the reader believe the opposite of what actually happened. Reports made it sound as if Marquez "went dirty" ala Zab Judah. Not true. If anything it is the referee whose motives should be questioned.
The fact is that Marquez fought with renewed urgency after the point deductions. And while John may have boxed well depending on your point of view he also was on his bike an awful lot, especially in those last few rounds as Marquez landed several clean shots and even had John hurt at the end of the 11th.
Internet reports are great. In fact, the Internet, as most know is just about the only thing going in boxing coverage and boxing journalism these days. But, the internet did Juan Manuel Marquez a disservice by failing to accurately and correctly expose this fight for exactly what it was: An ESPN2 "Friday Night Fights" Special, aka, a hometown decision.