Manny Pacquiao again wins suspect decision vs. Juan Manuel Marquez
LAS VEGAS — The final words from Juan Manuel Marquez the night before he faced Manny Pacquiao for a third time were: “I just hope the judges give me a fair shake.’’
A stunned and angry sold-out crowd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena hollered angrily after it was announced that Pacquiao had been handed an improbable majority decision, beating Marquez for the second time under a cloud of suspicion.
Photo by Jae C. Hong
TOE TO TOE: Manny Pacquiao, right, hits Juan Manuel Marquez during their WBO welterweight title fight last night in Las Vegas.
The crowd booed lustily as it was announced that Glenn Trowbridge had scored the bout 116-112 for Pacquiao and Dave Moretti had it 115-113 for the WBO welterweight champion. The third judge, Robert Hoyle, had it a draw, 114-114. The Herald card scored the bout 117-112 for Marquez.
Marquez refused to speak to HBO’s broadcasters after the fight, storming out of the ring as the fans cheered. When Pacquiao tried to answer HBO’s questions, the crowd booed so lustily not a word of his could be heard. When they tried a second time, the boos cascaded down even louder, no one in the crowd interested in hearing from him as even Pacquiao hung his head in sadness.
The more HBO’s Max Kellerman persisted in trying to speak with him the louder the boos grew until the crowd began to chant, “Marquez! Marquez! Marquez!’’
If anyone wonders why boxing’s reputation is in such sad disrepair they need only watch the replay next week.
Marquez (52-6-1, 39 KOs) entered the ring first to thunderous cheers and a constant refrain of “Marquez! Marquez! Marquez!’’ Marquez lifted one arm in acknowledgement, but seemed utterly focused on the task at hand.
Pacquiao, in contrast, smiled widely as he walked through a sea of swimming lights as Survivor blasted out “Eye of the Tiger.’’ He finally emerged at just before midnight East Coast time, bouncing up and down as he walked toward the ring. Waiting for him swathed in a simple white towel and oddly surrounded by a mariachi band was Marquez, bouncing up and down with barely controlled fury.
Both opened the fight cautiously, peering in for openings but finding few and taking few risks to pry one open. Marquez landed several hard shots to the body, catching Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KOs) as he tried to get inside but little damage was done in the first few rounds, although Marquez managed to get the better of it by outworking Pacquiao by what seemed to be a 2-to-1 ratio.
Pacquiao’s normally frenetic pace was not in evidence in the first third of the fight. He was not throwing freely and seemed to have trouble finding his distance. When he did get inside, Marquez peppered him several times with the right hand and then stepped away from Pacquiao’s fearsome left hook and out of harm’s way, with Pacquiao unable to figure out how to counter that approach.
As the fight wound into the middle rounds a familiar pattern began to emerge. Marquez was following the blueprint of Erik Morales, the last man to defeat Pacquiao six years ago. He was using his jab and straight right hand to stop Pacquiao’s charges and then either stepping to his left away from the champion or flurrying inside to the body and then tying him up or stepping away.
Pacquiao seemed ponderous and reluctant, odd words to describe one of boxing’s action fighters. His hands seemed glued to his head, covering up even before Marquez moved toward him. Even at that Marquez continually landed his straight right hand, stopping Pacquiao’s charges time and again.
Pacquiao’s best round was the 10th when he attacked Marquez furiously right after the bell sounded and twice landed blistering combinations that made Marquez bend low to try to avoid more punishment. But Marquez battled back in the latter half of the round.
The final round was more of the same as the crowd roared and then fell silent awaiting a decision that twice before had gone against Marquez even though he and many at ringside felt he had won.
By Ron Borges
Pacquiao wins another controversial decision over Marquez
Marquez fought masterfully in his bid to finally gain a victory over the reigning P4P king at the third attempt. But his performance didn't get the result he craved as he lost a controversial majority decision.
The bout finished level 114-114 on one scorecard, while the other two were 115-113 and 116-112 in favour of Pacquiao. Marquez was clearly disgusted and left the ring almost immediately, while the crowd in the MGM Grand Garden Arena booed the decision.
Pacquiao started brightly but Marquez gradually took control, and after taking a crashing right in the fifth, Pacquiao's corner had to give him a pep talk.
Marquez drew blood in round eight, but Pacquiao hit back in an explosive ninth round. But despite a late flurry from the Mexican, Pacquiao managed to hold on.
The Mexican clearly felt he'd done enough to get the decision, smiling and raising his arm as the final bell sounded, while Pacquiao merely trudged back to his corner.
But a few minutes later that Marquez beam had turned to disbelief as Michael Buffer revealed the numbers on the scorecards. And once again the fight billed to end all arguments had only managed to stir more debate in the rivalry of the pedigree fighters.
‘It's very clear that I won the fight. Marquez is a good fighter and he's a good counter-puncher,’ Pacquiao claimed in his post-fight interview. ‘He hurt me a couple of times but I was very careful because he was waiting for my advances to counter them.’
While Pacquiao's promoter Bob Arum said another fight with Marquez - and not the mega-fight with Floyd Mayweather that the boxing world has been clamouring for - is now firmly on the agenda.
Pacquiao escapes Vegas with a decision
LAS VEGAS - Manny Pacquiao escaped again, in a decision that left Juan Manuel Marquez fuming once again.
The Filipino sensation was taken to the limit Saturday night before winning a majority decision that infuriated his Mexican opponent and most of the sellout crowd at the MGM Grand arena. The win may have been close, but Pacquiao still managed to continue a remarkable run that has made him the most exciting fighter in the sport.
Manny Pacquiao, right, of the Philippines, hits Mexico's Juan Manuel Marquez during a WBO welterweight title fight Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) (AP)
In a bruising battle against a counterpuncher who was both accurate and fast, Pacquiao needed the final round on two scorecards to pull out the win. He got it, even though a third judge scored the round in favor of Marquez.
As boos — and cans and bottles — rang down on the ring, Pacquiao celebrated another victory and another huge payday.
"My fans are very happy because they thought I won," Pacquiao said.
He did, but by the narrowest of margins. That was perhaps to be expected considering the previous 24 rounds the two had fought were just as close.
Pacquiao won the 144-pound fight on two scorecards, while the third ringside judge had it a draw. Marquez was so upset after the decision was announced, he stormed out of the ring.
"This was the second robbery and this one was the worst," Marquez said. "We won with clearer punches."
Pacquiao won some rounds with sheer aggression, while Marquez won others with brilliant counterpunching. He picked Pacquiao apart with right hands almost every time he tried to get inside, and landed hard flurries throughout the fight.
One ringside judge had it a 114-114 draw, while two others favored Pacquiao by 115-113 and 116-112. The Associated Press had it 114-114.
"It's hard when you're fighting your rival and the three judges, too," said Marquez, who was a 7-1 underdog.
The sellout crowd threw bottles and cans toward ringside after the decision was announced, with one full can hitting a ringside writer.
It was the 15th straight win for Pacquiao, who earned a minimum of $22 million while improving his record to 54-3-2. Marquez, who earned $5 million, fell to 52-6-1.
The first bout between the two boxers seven years ago at 125 pounds was a draw, and Pacquiao won a split decision in their second bout in 2008 at 130 pounds.
Ringside punch stats showed just how evenly matched they were in this contest: Pacquiao was credited with landing 176 of 578 punches, while Marquez landed 138 of 436.
The power punches were even closer, with Pacquiao connecting on 117 and to 100 for Marquez — though the Mexican seemed to land the harder punches.
Pacquiao was behind on one scorecard and only ahead by a point on a second going into the 12th round, and the crowd was on its feet roaring for what they expected to be a classic last round. But both fighters were tentative, brawling only toward the end of the round.
"He was ready for my punches," Pacquiao said. "I thought I blocked a lot of his punches."
Pacquiao found out early he would be in for a long night, taking counter punches from Marquez in the opening rounds while looking for his own opening. He had trouble finding his range all night and when he did get inside, Marquez often moved to the side and landed a counter right hand.
It was evident that both fighters were so familiar with one another they knew what the other was going to do, and they compensated by fighting in spurts when each had the advantage. Neither ever seemed seriously hurt, though Marquez landed several right hands that snapped Pacquiao's head back and stopped him from coming forward.
The two clashed heads in the ninth round, opening a cut above Pacquiao's right eye, and he was also cut inside his mouth. Marquez wasn't cut, but his face was swollen and his eyes were closing in the later rounds.
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