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Manny Pacquiao and the Bitterness of Opponents

What do you do if you’re an elite-level fighter– even a Hall of Famer– and you get beaten and/or dominated by a peer? Well, if that peer is Manny Pacquiao, history seems to suggest that you get real defensive and bitter about it, carrying a grudge for years.

“For what [reason would I fight him again]?” Juan Manuel Marquez responded when asked about a fifth bout with Pacquiao. “Right now we’ve won all four [fights]. The first was close, the second was close, I felt the third was wide [in my favor] and then we knocked him out. [If we’d fight again], we’d go in there like we did in the third fight, where we won wide, and they’d give him the decision. I don’t want to make the mistake of wondering afterwards why I accepted that fight. This is not about money, it’s a matter of honor and pride for my country.”

Officially, Marquez is 1-2-1 against Pacquiao.

Erik Morales, who was 1-2 in three tries against the Filipino icon, recently showed a similar bitterness (and showed some bitterness toward Mexican countryman Marquez, as well).

“For the second Pacquiao fight, I had trouble making weight, and for Pacquiao I’d rather have died than miss weight,” Morales said in an interview for Jessie Vargas’ Peleamundo. “I took the fight when I should have just told him to go hell.”

“Look at the fact that these days a lot of people give Marquez a lot of credit, that Marquez knocked out Pacquiao. But think about this. Imagine, [Pacquiao] fought me at 130 pounds. And for the second one he didn’t want it to be 130.5 or 131 or 132 pounds. On the contrary, every pound I was over would cost me $50,000. So he pressured me in such a way that I couldn’t go over at all, because if I went over and recovered — could one say that’s synonymous with fear?”

“How scared could he have been of Marquez if he fought him at 126, 135, [144], and 147? How scared could he have been of him that he said, ‘Let’s fight at 147, no problem. Let’s fight at [144], no problem’? He wouldn’t even fight Erik Morales at 131 or 132. At 130, otherwise no. Because he knew that’s the only way he could beat me.”

Timothy Bradley who holds a similar 1-2 record against Pacquiao has been accused of sour grapes when it comes to Manny. Most of that bitterness is directed at those who doubt that his win over Manny Pacquiao was a win at all.

A case could be made that, maybe, Marquez and Morales have a point in expressing their discontent. But even some opponents who beat Manny are bitter about either the man or the experience of facing him.

Notably, Floyd Mayweather’s grudge towards Pacquiao appears to be ongoing and never-ending, despite holding a unanimous decision victory over him.

So, why the bitterness and animosity?

Pacquiao fans may point to jealousy over his popularity or his ability. That’s the simplest answer.

The real answer, however, may be that all of these guys griping over Manny are fierce competitors. By nature, fierce competitors have a tough time accepting defeat and/or having their own dominance challenged. It’s human nature among alpha dogs in life.

Winners and warriors have a tough time going down, even when they’ve been beaten down.


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Paul Magno
Paul Magno has over forty years of experience in and around the sport of boxing and has had his hand in everything, from officiating to training. As a writer, his work has appeared in several online publications, including Yahoo Sports, Fox Sports, FightHype, Max Boxing, Boxing.com, Inside Fights, The Boxing Tribune, The Queensberry Rules, and Premier Boxing Champions. You can reach him at: [email protected]
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