Giving Credit To Juan Manuel Marquez

Unless you live under a rock, you have probably heard that Juan Manuel Marquez knocked out Manny Pacquiao on Saturday night. It was a tremendous fight with plenty of back and forth action. Both men took their share of punishment until Marquez landed the picture perfect right hand.

In case you missed the fight, refer to the link below for a brief replay of the brutal knockout.

Marquez Knocks Out Pacquiao

As you can see, Marquez perfectly timed an aggressive and lunging Manny Pacquiao. Marquez could not have landed a better punch.

Unfortunately, despite what was a tremendous night for boxing, it didn’t take long for the allegations against Marquez to begin. Manny Pacquiao was hardly off the canvas before critics were alleging that Marquez must have used performance enhancement drugs.

Many of the allegations against Marquez stem from the ripped physique that he displayed at the weigh-ins on Friday.

There is no denying that Juan Manuel Marquez came into this fight in great shape, but is it really a surprise? This was his fourth fight against his arch nemesis Manny Pacquiao. In the previous three contests, there was a draw and two controversial decisions. Juan Manuel strongly felt that the judges had robbed him in the previous fights. He was so upset following the third fight that he immediately exited the ring without any post-fight comments.

What was everyone expecting from a world class fighter who was clearly upset about the first three decisions? Was Marquez not expected to prepare himself properly for what was the most significant fight of his career?

Furthermore, as a professional athlete who fights for a living, is his physique really that unique? Juan Manuel isn’t a part time fighter. He is a professional boxer by trade. He is in the gym for hours on end, day after day. Do you really believe that his physique is that unattainable if all you did was train? Have you really not seen similar builds from an Average Joe in a 90 day body transformation contest?

In addition, it’s not as if Juan Manuel Marquez has never been in great shape before. Take a look at a few random images from previous fights.

Yeah, but he didn’t look like that when he fought Floyd Mayweather?

Juan Manuel Marquez fought Floyd Mayweather over three years ago. At the time, he had the appearance of an athlete who rushed the weight gain process. His approach to gaining weight was eating lots of food and drinking his own piss. I’m not joking…

Once again though, that was over three years ago. Does anyone really believe that a professional athlete cannot become stronger over three years? Not to mention an athlete who begins lifting weights properly for the first time in his life.

Following Juan’s failed attempt at 142 pounds against Floyd, he took the time to enter the weight class properly. He fought Likar Ramos at 138 pounds. He fought Pacquiao in their third fight at 142 pounds. He then continued to stay active by fighting Serhiy Fedchenko at 140 pounds.

Yeah, but Marquez landed a lucky punch?

There wasn’t anything lucky about the punch that knocked out Manny Pacquiao. Juan Manuel Marquez is one of the best counter punchers ever. When an effective counter puncher faces an overly aggressive opponent, it often leads to brutal knockouts. The counter puncher uses the aggressiveness of his opponent against him. That’s exactly what happened to Manny Pacquiao.

If you watch the knockout again, notice how all of Pacquiao’s weight was coming forward. He literally ran into the punch. Marquez timed him perfectly with all of his weight and power also coming forward to greet Pacquiao by surprise.

As for the notion that the punch was a matter of luck, take a look at Marquez in the gym. As you can see, he trained for that precise moment.

Let’s also not forget that Manny Pacquiao came very close to knocking out Marquez earlier in the fight. If Pacquiao landed a few more clean shots to win by knockout, no one would be alleging that Marquez was dirty. If anything, there would be rumors going around about Pacquiao. Marquez landed a perfect shot however so now the critics believe he must have cheated.

In summary, I wish I didn’t have to write this entry. Unfortunately, there are people out there who do not appreciate the complexity of the sweet science. Perfect counter punches don’t happen by accident. They also do not happen because of illegal drugs. Countering with the accuracy of Juan Manuel Marquez is a highly refined skill that is developed over many years.

Rather than jumping on the allegation bandwagon, why not appreciate a masterpiece when you see it. Punches like that do not land very often. Only truly gifted fighters can stand in the pocket with brutal punches coming in their direction and still find a way to land with such pinpoint accuracy.

Going into this fight, everyone knew that Manny Pacquiao was a special fighter. Well, here’s a news flash for those who didn’t know. Juan Manuel Marquez is special too.


“Don’t criticize what you can’t understand.” – Bob Dylan

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  1. I 100% agree with you, the body reacts how its trained to. This is great talent not great luck, fighters work very hard to land shots like this.

  2. Great Post Ross,

    Unfortunately I missed the fight but now I’m definitely going to have to watch it.

    It’s rather unbelievable that people are accusing Marquez of using roids just from judging his physique. I had a very similar looking physique when I was 15 years old. As well, my 16 year old brother is just as ripped as him. Oh and none of us used obviously.

    There is literally no indication that he is using. That physique is very attainable since aesthetically it’s pretty much a ripped 6 pack and low body fat with not very much muscle.

    People need to grow up and stop throwing out the steroid card.

  3. UPDATE – Since posting the article, a comment on Facebook was made regarding Juan Manuel’s work with Angel Hernandez.

    My response to the inquiry is quite simple. I believe bringing Hernandez in was a brilliant move. Not only did his shady past add a new storyline for the 24/7 promotion, he also knows what he is doing in the gym.

    If Marquez truly wanted to cheat however, why work with someone who has a publicly known shady past (and a converted government witness)? Marquez has the financial resources to bring anyone in the world to his team. If he wanted to cheat, he could have easily worked with someone under the radar.

    In Hernandez, a story line was added to a fight that originally didn’t make sense. Few people wanted a third fight, with even fewer wanting a 4th. Bringing him on board not only changed Marquez physically, it captured the attention of many who weren’t initially interested in anything related to the fight. Marquez was thought to be dead following his loss to Mayweather.

    He proved everyone wrong and completely revamped his career and legacy.

  4. You’re right. Its sad that these things have to be said. Regardless if he was on roids or not, it was a perfect counter that he obviously worked on… and Pac walked right into it.

    The conclusions that can be taken from this fight are that Marquez is great fighter and counter puncher, and that Pacquiao looked better than he has since Cotto/Hatton days, in my opinion… Though aesthetically he looked a little thin.

    Unfortunately, for some reason people think that this fight proves Marquez was just lucky or that Pacquiao is finished. I dont think either of those are true. The other thing this fight inevitably brought up, were people thinking that Pacquiao is no match for Mayweather (you included, Ross). Styles make fights, and Marquez is tailor-made to fight Pacquiao… and knows him better than any other fighter.

    If the formula for beating Pac is stepping backwards and throwing countering bombs, Mayweather def has a great chance of winning… but Mayweather =/= Marquez, and to think that this fight proves such is a mistake.

    Having said that, I doubt they’ll ever fight each other, so I hope for a Marquez v Pacquiao 5 is on the way soon…

  5. No one could have said it better, Ross.
    I was speechless, when some of the people with whom I watched the bout (who are also Pacman fanboys), started speculating about different scenarios of why Pac lost. I couldn’t be more disgusted by their comments, belittling the effort of an elite level fighter that is Juan Manuel Marquez. Unfortunately, such hatred and nonappreciation naturally translate into the world outside of the ring as well, and happens to all kinds of people. You bust your ass in the gym, and then some lunatic comes around and pisses on your hard work and dedication. Human nature is often disturbing …

  6. I sure hope that Marquez was clean, but is it such a stretch to think that he may not have been? Pacquiao has been dogged by the same rumors for years, based only on the Mayweather family saying he must be on something (who knows, maybe he is/was). Marquez, on the other hand, has been associating with a known PED specialist who turned rat on others and testified about how easy it is to mask PEDs to avoid detection. People are judged by the company they keep. This coupled with the transformation of his physique and punching power at 39 years of age is interesting. Once again, I hope he’s clean as he comes across as a decent man (24/7 also made Margarito seem like a good guy before the first Cotto fight, so who knows).

  7. That counter shot was a beauty though. He timed it perfectly. Manny was starting to overwhelm him and he was in big trouble. A big punch is a great equalizer.

  8. Ross,

    Mayweather vs Pacquiao WOULD be a great showing of style vs style. And I wont derail your blog regurgitating the same arguments as always about the two. I will say that I believe neither one has truly been tested in a manner that the other would bring to the fight. The outcome just can’t be predicted easily.

    Regardless, I hope someone like Alvarez or Martinez steps up and becomes the new attraction

  9. Also, about roiding …. I think people would be surprised at how much of it goes on across all levels of sports. I’m not going to pretend to know for certain about anyone specific, but I’m confident enough in this belief to say that that people who take PEDs in professional sports are far from rare or uncommon.

  10. I do agree with you Ross, Marquez resume’, counter punch masterpiece, and just his flat technical savvy defintely came through for the fight as he made sure to not let it be another controversy by decision. But I do believe the sport is being marred by PED’s. And it’s unfortunately a trend for the big names (Berto as of recent) to head that route. Also, I believe he suffered for the rep of his Strength & Conditioning Coach who went through his on trial due to steroids. Unfortunately it’s easy to assume guilt by association. I for one made a twitter post hoping, I say again HOPING that this does NOT come true for these two and their epic series thus far. All is good, and an awesome fight it was. Good challenge on the post Sensei, as always, you’re on top of your game!

  11. @Greg – I’m not suggesting that there aren’t dirty athletes. The fact remains however that if Marquez gets knocked out in the 5th round, you won’t hear anything about him being dirty the day after. The tide changes with a single punch and the masses automatically assume he must be dirty. I’ve even heard people suggesting that Pac was off the sauce, and that’s why he lost. If he lands a few more shots and stopped Marquez, everyone would be saying he’s on it. The nature of the haters is to hate no matter what.

    As for Hernandez, regardless of previous shady dealings, he knows how to prepare an athlete in the gym. He also added a side plot to the fight (a fight that no one wanted). No one even wanted the third fight.

    I’d also say that if Marquez wanted to go the dirty route, he could have easily done so under the radar. The fact that he boldly uses a guy like Hernandez was not without conscious thought. Marquez is an intelligent man. Bringing Hernandez on board was an intelligent move in many ways (not just from a physical prep standpoint). His boastful demeanor regarding prior involvement also made for good television/marketing with the 24/7 special.

  12. The general public thinks that anyone with a physique more muscular than a 12 year old stamp collector is on steroids. Anyone with a 15″ bicep or a V-taper has got to be on steroids. Didn’t watch the bout and haven’t paid to see a boxing match since waaaaay back in the Nineties when Jeff Fenech fought Azumah Nelson, but I’ve read that Larry Merchant said that JMM looked like a bodybuilder. A bodybuilder? Has Larry Merchant seen what bodybuilders look like today or even fifty years ago. Boxing has always had fighters with impressive physiques even long before steroids existed and when a fighter’s trainer would break his arms if he caught a his fighter anywhere near a barbell. Look at some of those antiquated fighters like Jim Jeffries, Sailor Tom Sharkey, Barbados Demon Joe Walcott who had biceps the size of a heavyweight at a height of 5’1 1/2″ and fighting as a welterweight. Jeffries and Sharkey looked like weightlifters and to the best of my knowledge they never trained with weights. Look at the physiques of Cleveland Williams, Harold Johnson, Sonny Liston, Randolph Turpin(I believe Turpin did train with weights) and Ken Norton. These men supposedly never trained with weights but probably aquired their physiques through traditional boxing workouts, calisthenics, wood chopping, etc. Steroids would no doubt make you stronger, faster, and help you aquire lean muscle mass but I’m not so sure they would increase your punching power. Personally I’ve never heard of anyone giving a definitive answer on how to increase punching power. I’ve heard some people say punchers are born and not made. Others swear by the heavy bag, but every fighter uses the heavy bag and not all fighters are punchers. Same with chopping wood, throwing punches in a pool, hitting tire with sledgehammer, etc. I wouldn’t say PEDs gave JMM a punch he was missing in the three prior bouts and he was clearly ripped off in the third bout, so I say it really stands knotted at 2-2.

  13. A great counterpunch by a great counterpuncher. As a guy who really likes Pac-Man as a fighter (& actually felt that it was MANNY who was more robbed by the draw, not JMM) I admit I was disappointed that during what was shaping up to be a very good MP outing he got caught and it was all over. But that’s boxing, and it was a great, beautifully-aimed, beautifully-timed bulls-eye of a shot.

    If there was anything ‘more’ (i.e. PED’s) to Marquez’s performance, may it come to light. If not, may unfounded rumors not detract from his rightfully earned shining moment.

  14. Well, the steriod accusations are valid. JMM hired a known dope dealer, but unlike Nonito Donaire he did not subject himself to 24/7 365 drug testing.

    This win is tainted, especially due to the signs of steroid use. Unusually large trap muscle are typical of steroid users.

    Angel Heredia helped Marion Jones pass Olympic Style Drug Tests and NEVER tested dirty. Even if the fight had drug testing, Angel is well versed in passing the most strict drug testing.

    Sorry JMM fans, at 39 yrs, new traps muscle and 20 lbs of muscle is something you do over years, not 4 months after hiring the biggest dope snitch in Olypmic history.

    Excuses? Or VALID and SOUND reasoning? Did you take a logic class? Or did you skip that class as well as your Exercise Science class.

  15. Performance enhancing drugs is part of elite sports. Period. I wouldn’t be surprised if Pacman is on it as well. Doesn’t matter. Everyone is on that stuff and people are naive to think that there’s no drugs involved just like people think everyone in the finance industry follow the rules all the time.

  16. hey ross, speaking of PEDs, I was flicking through my copy of IF and noticed that one of the very first quotes you have there (if not the first) went along the lines of “pushing your limits is the only way you can know the TRUTH about yourself” and was uttered by none other than LANCE ARMSTRONG!
    are you thinking of editing future editions of IF? 🙂

    also, devastated for pac. that was the sharpest he has looked since cotto. just got caught with a ‘lucky’ punch (for those sensitive ones out there: i’m referencing the quote that says hard work creates its own luck).

  17. I don’t know, I have been watching Marquez fight all through these years, there was something supernatural about his punches. It had an extra oomph. I have never seen anybody hurt Manny like that. Not just the knockout even the knockdown in the 3rd and also just watching the punches you can feel how strong it was and the snap was something different. I don’t know, smells something fishy. Reminds me of Pacquiao’s punches in the Ricky Hatton fight and Cotto fight, Pacman might have been using too but I give him the benefit of the doubt since he has exhibited that kind of power since he started. But Marquez suddenlt punching like Mike Tyson all of a sudden against a guy who has an incredible chin just feels weird. Maybe it is not the PEDs but just proper training which Alex Ariza said Manny has not been doing since the Cotto fight taht’s why Manny looks thin compared to his physique in teh Cotto fight and he isnt as powerful and explosive but still fast though.

  18. @Angel – Did you take a math class? JMM didn’t gain 20 pounds in 4 months. He fought Casamayor at 135 in 2008. He was 8 pounds heavier for this fight over 4 years later. His fight at jr. welter against Likar Ramos was also a year and a half ago. Putting on a few pounds of muscle on someone who has NEVER worked with any legitimate strength work is everything but uncommon. As for trap development, JMM has always been well developed throughout the superior fibers. Take a look back at pictures of him in the lightweight division. So you can ramble on all you want about Angel Heredia, it doesn’t change the fact that this fight was won based on effective counter punching against an overly aggressive opponent.

    @Alex – JMM has always been an effective puncher. This was his 40th knockout. He’s had moments where he buzzed Pacquaio in previous fights. It doesn’t come as a surprise to me that JMM is still powerful (and more powerful), considering that he’s moved up in weight properly and finally implemented a proper strength training program along with his boxing. Furthermore, the final knockout punch had as much to do with Pac lunging in overly aggressive as it did with JMM’s power. The punch became that much more devastating based on Pac’s reckless aggression.

  19. I’m as big a Pac fan as they come and I’m embarrassed at all the mud that has been thrown at the Marquez camp. Even Alex Ariza was quick to respect the knowledge that Angel Herrida brought to the table.

    He talks about it here

    Anyone who has ever touched a weight knows that gaining muscle isn’t uncommon early on. Marquez is a seasoned athlete, but not with the weights. If he didn’t gain muscle and some size after lifting for the first time in his life, I’d be shocked. Who doesn’t gain size and muscle early on with the weights?

    And did his strength really make a difference anyway? Pac was doing very good until he ate that right hand.

  20. I agree that benefit of the doubt is warranted here. It was Pacqiao’s promoter who refused the drug screen. The thing about which I don’t know what to make: Freddy Roach being an accuser. Not sure if this is something he would do if it wasn’t warranted.

  21. No doubt, it was a great shot. However, seeing JMM at age 39 in that condition is hard to fathom with a little help from PED’s. This is a guy that drank his own urine for an edge.

  22. I’m amused at the dialogue that’s broken out since Manny hit the deck. Juan Manuel’s physical abilities wouldn’t be considered extraordinary in ANY other sport. Boxing lives in the dark ages. Fans are used to seeing the result of the old school training regime (ex. jog, sit-ups, pushups, bag work). This dinosaur approach may condition a boxer, but is NOT optimal for building strength, power, and speed.

    What sticks out to me after watching this fight is that more fighters/trainers need to leave the dinosaur age behind and catch up with the times. No other professional sport continues to overlook science. Weight training will NOT make you slow. ALL professional athletes should be working with a proper strength training program.

    Only dinosaur boxing trainers continue to overlook the potential of proper strength training. As a result, when you see it for the first time (ex. JMM), the automatic assumption is that he must be cheating. No, he’s just doing what all top level fighters should be doing. He’s lifting weights, he’s focused on power and speed, he’s following a strict nutrition/supplementation plan, and he’s making time for active recovery and restoration.

    That’s not cheating. That’s what everyone should be doing. Wake up and get with the times.


  23. I completely agree all athletes including boxers should be employin a comprehensive strength and conditioning program that includes weight training, plyometrics, etc. That’s not the point. Is it just his new training that created him into this wrecking machine or did he have help from PED’s? It wasn’t just that perfect shot. He dropped Pac hard in the third round and was visibly moving him w/ his shots. He’s working with a known cheat. His strength coach is a pro at passing the drug teasts, that’s what he’s done in the past. Why did Marquez use that particular trainer? This guy says his training approach is secret. He says he’s working w/ other boxers, but will not name them. Come on. For me to believe this guy is legit, I need to see him working with many more elite fighters over the coming months. I mean, JMM should be his poster boy. “just look at what I did with this 39 year old boxer, imagine what I can do for you??”

  24. Ariza has been vocal in his respect for Herrida’s knowledge. I also see Heredia as the type to toot his own horn in hopes of getting more media coverage. It worked. Either way, he knows his way around the gym, with our without the tainted past.

    As for the 1st knockdown, I wasn’t surprised. JMM has hurt Pac before. He’s stronger now and Pac has become a part time fighter. I’m not surprised that one fighter who is stronger and hungrier is able to hurt another fighter whose focus seems to shift towards politics.

    Manny’s physique has changed as much as JMM’s, just in the opposite direction. Ariza had been mentioning for a while that he wasn’t pleased with Pac’s preparation as of late.

  25. I’ve watched all 4 PAcman vs. JMM fights several times. And in my opinion in most rounds JMM dominated Manny with poise, coolness and technique, those rounds Manny looked out of sorts, outboxed and frustrated.
    Marquez is a disciplined athlete, who felt cheated. He even considered quitting boxing after the 3rd fight with Paquiao. But his son convinced him to “go back in the ring and prove them wrong”. So he started working in the gym with new drive and desire. He wanted vindication and recognition. And he got it, regardless of all criticism. Most of us know a true champion when we see one 🙂

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