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Pacquiao-Marquez III: Behind the numbers

12/2/2012

After his split decision victory over Juan Manuel Marquez in 2008, Manny Pacquiao would win his next seven fights. Many of those victories came against big-name opponents, including stoppages against Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto in a span of 11 months during 2008 and 2009. He followed that up with lopsided decision victories over Antonio Margarito and Shane Mosley. The one fight that eluded Pacquiao was a showdown with Floyd Mayweather Jr. for the mythical pound-for-pound title.

Unable to land a Mayweather fight, Pacquiao elected to face Marquez for the third time. They met on Nov. 12, 2011 in Las Vegas.

Just as in their two previous encounters, Marquez turned in the higher connect percentage (32 to 30 percent). Pacquiao not only threw more overall (578-436), but also attempted more punches in every single round. He outlanded Marquez in 9 of 12 rounds. Marquez won the eighth (12-10), and each fighter landed the as often as the other in Rounds 3 and 9. If you judged the fight solely based on punch stats, Pacquiao won going away.

The ringside judges who actually scored the fight (Dave Moretti, Robert Hoyle and Glenn Trowbridge) saw things differently, however. In the official round-by-round scoring, the judges unanimously agreed to award Rounds 1, 3 and 6 to Pacquiao. They also saw eye to eye in giving Rounds 4, 5 and 7 to Marquez (despite his being outlanded in each of those rounds). Remember, judges look at clean and effective punching, not just sum totals.

Pacquiao won each of the final five rounds, although not unanimously. That's why the scorecards were so close when the final decision was read. Both Moretti (115-113) and Trowbridge (116-112) gave the fight to Pacquiao. Robert Hoyle scored the fight even (114-114), resulting in a majority decision. Pacquiao had to win the final two rounds on his card just to earn that verdict.

After 36 rounds of action between the two fighters, here is how the numbers stacked up: 3,330 total punches were thrown, with 949 landing (28 percent). Only three rounds in 36 saw one fighter land 10 or more punches than his opponent. Ironically, two of those frames belonged to Marquez (Round 6 in the first fight, Round 8 in the second).