KO blow not a lucky punch, says Beristain
MANILA, Philippines – Hall-of-Fame trainer Ignacio “Nacho” Beristain bristles at the suggestion that Juan Manuel Marquez landed a “lucky punch” on Filipino ring icon Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao when they fought last Saturday.
Marquez floored Pacquiao for the first time in their saga with an overhand right in the third round, although he was forced to take a knee in the fifth after eating a left hook from the Filipino.
But in the sixth round, “Dinamita” landed the biggest punch of his career when he connected on a counter-right flush on Pacquiao, sending the Filipino face first to the canvas.
Marquez got the decisive victory he desperately wanted against Pacquiao, but some have tabbed his knockout blow a “lucky punch,” something that Beristain takes offense at.
“Lucky? It was a punch that we practiced many times in the gym, and that this time, it worked,” Beristain said in an interview with Boxing Scene.
“For some time, Juan has been testing various combinations, different punches. He was waiting for his opponent’s attack, and then make a move to the left side and release the full power of the right hook,” he explained.
“The fight was hard because Juan and Pacquiao know each other so well, but the moment came and the knockout came.”
Beristain believes there is a faction who “do not like us” and “want to downgrade Juan Manuel’s achievements.”
“We closed a lot of mouths with this victory,” he said.
It was the first time that the two rivals had fought to a decisive end, as their three previous encounters all ended in controversial decisions. They battled to a draw in 2004, then Pacquiao won the rematches in 2008 and 2011.
Marquez finally got his vindication last Saturday. While Beristain celebrated his ward’s victory, he admits he was concerned for Pacquiao’s welfare.
“I was also thinking about the Filipino’s health,” he said. “He was not moving. His head hit the canvas, there was thump, and he was unconscious.”
“It’s a good thing that he recovered,” Beristain added. “Pacquiao is very strong.”