Manny Pacquiao Edges out Marquez in Thriller

Pacquiao Exposed! Marquez Robbed?

Daoud Nawaz

The stage was set, two warriors entered battle on the grandest stage of them all, the MGM Grand in Las Vegas Nevada. A battle to settle a score and draw a line under a rivalry that will forever be echoed through the ages. The eight division world champion Manny ‘Pacman’ Pacquiao stepped into war with his bitterest of rivals, Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez.


The third fight in a trilogy that stemmed seven years. A draw in 2004 and a split decision victory for Pacquiao in 2008. Both fighters justifiably claim victory in the two previous bouts. Bad blood was stirring between the two future hall of famers but a professional rivalry none the less. Both had a point to prove, especially the Mexican. The careers of both fighters have gone down two very different paths since they first met at the MGM Grand in 2004. Pacquiao found fortune and fame while Marquez was left in his shadow. Now was the time to settle it and the night conjured up everything but a settled rivalry.


After 36 long, powerful and bloody rounds, nothing can split these two fighters. However the history books will record that it was Pacquiao who had the edge in this fabulous trilogy.

Pacquiao was declared the winner on the night via a split decision to retain his WBO Welterweight title. Most of the press and commentators had Marquez winning the fight, as with the previous two, so to see the Philipino have his hand raised came as a shock. He was not at his best and was exposed on a number of occasions by the flawless Marquez. The 16,368 at attendance showed there outrage at the decision by throwing drinks bottles at ringside after a superb fight.


Pacquiao now leads the Mexican 2-0-1 however it could easily stand at 0-3. Many observers see it this way and Marquez clearly agrees. His anger at the decision was seen as he stormed out of the ring and into the locker room without giving an interview.


The fight started off with an equally matched first round however a good combination in the  second by Marquez and a back and forth third round soon made it clear that this fight was going to be a cracker. Marquez was written off by many boxing critics for fighting at a weight that was unnatural, meaning his speed would be lost. However he produced a flawless display of counter punching and a perfect execution of his trainer, Ignacio Beristáin’s, game plan. ‘El Dinamita’ soon took control of the fight and began to neutralise Pacquiao’s straight left hand frustrating the little man in the process.


At the close of the eighth round, Pacquiao sat in his corner with trainer Freddie Roach and was told ‘Champ, your falling behind, step it up’. He did exactly that. Both fighters went blow for blow and caught each other with crushing shots. With the courage of lions, their pride on the line and showing everything that is good about the sport, both men left it all in the ring once again. As the twelfth round ended, Marquez raised his hands as Pacquaio walked to his corner to conduct his post fight rituals. The commentators, one of which was Britain’s Amir Khan, resounded unanimously that the victor of this epic battle was Marquez. Pacquiao was not at his best and Marquez was at a level that few had seen him reach.


Michael Buffer read out the judges’ cards. The three judges scored the bout, 114-114,115-113 and 116-112 to the winner, and still WBO Welterweight Champion Manny Pacquiao. The crowd, along with myself, were left shocked and adamant that Marquez had done enough. However the punch stats told a different story. Pacquaio threw an astonishing 578 landing 176. Whereas Marquez threw 436 punches landing 138.


They say the judges tend to favour the aggressor and it certainly seemed the case here. Marquez was the challenger, and did not show the ruthless aggression he did in the first two fights in which he was knocked down a total of 4 times. Pacquaio however seemed to be fighting at Marquez’s pace and not his usual blistering speed. More of a reason to believe that Pacquiao was a shadow of himself whilst Marquez seemed to show that age was merely a number not a factor.


As Marquez left the ring, Max Kellerman entered to interview the victor, only for the interview to be cut short due to a chorus of boos from the crowd. A few minutes later Kellerman returned to ask Pacquiao about the crowed reaction, Pacman responded, ‘’The fans of Marquez, of course they are not happy. But my fans are happy.’’ He added, “I clearly won the fight. He is a good fighter but I do my best. It is very clear I won the fight.’’


Marquez on the other hand was left heartbroken. Something of a regular occurrence when facing his most respected rival Pacquiao. “This is the second robbery of the two that we had, and I think this was even more clear than the first.” He continued, “We won with the clearer punches. The audience protested because they saw us win again. I thought I got robbed. It happens again and again. I don’t know what else I can do to win.’’ His trainer Beristáin was outraged by the decision, “I’ve always confided in this commission here, but this has been a robbery in the utmost.’’


Two of the judges had given Pacquiao the hard fought twelfth round which was ragged but not definitive. Had Marquez, who was told by Beristáin that he was ahead, won it on those cards, the fight would have been a draw. Pacquiao has yet to beat the Mexican definitively in the 36 rounds they have conflicted over the past seven years at three different weight classes. Pacquiao has always struggled when facing the style of Marquez. He stated. “He is a counter puncher, waiting for my punches.’’ After the fight, Freddie Roach explained, “It was a close fight, it could have gone either way.’’


The question now is whether we will see a fourth fight. Bob Arum, the CEO of Top Rank promotions certainly is up for it, stating, “There are a lot of angry Mexicans out there…I want a fourth fight. My advice to all parties involved is an immediate rematch…it was a great fight.’’ However, Pacquiao’s trainer Roach doesn’t seem to be as keen to see a rematch any time soon. In the 36 rounds that the two have fought, only seven rounds separates the two fighters with Pacquiao winning two of the match ups. Roach said, ‘‘It’s the kind of fight I don’t want to do again. But we may have to.’’ He admitted.


The fighters themselves however had conflicting views on a possible fourth showdown. Pacquiao seems to be open to the idea. “Anytime, anytime.’’ He said. “I am a fighter. My job Is to fight.” But Marquez on the other hand isn’t necessarily interested. “It would be difficult to decide. Maybe I retire, maybe I don’t.” Marquez said. “It is hard when your fighting against a rival and also against three judges.”


The fight ended marred in controversy. It is difficult to see past a Marquez victory, or at a push a draw. Marquez had the patience to pick off Pacquiao’s aggression however it looks like that may have been his downfall. The more aggressive fighter got the nod from two judges and we were left with a bittersweet after taste. Everything was put on the line by thee two fighters and they certainly produced a classic. However many feel that the real victor left the ring early. Holding his head high, wearing his sombrero.


What next for Pacquiao? If the Marquez fight does not materialise and the two camps of the top two pound for pound fighters can agree on a deal. May 2012 could finally be when The Pacman takes on Money Mayweather. Mayweather’s camp recently came out to state that Mayweather will be returning to the ring in May and the desired opponent is Pacquiao. Bob Arum however is not to keen on the idea and avoided any questions. Whereas Pacquiao answered with authority. “Lets get it on.” He Added, “Lets make the fight happen and give the people a good fight.”


Now is the time for the fight that we all want to see. The fight to break all records. The one obstacle however is Bob Arum. The world of boxing needs this fight to reignite the sport. With Mixed Martial Arts making ground with events such as the UFC, boxing could soon be a thing of the past. We have witnessed many bad decisions in 2011 and controversial endings. The big fights have not happened and everyone seems to be more than happy to keep it that way. So let us look forward to May 2012, the date when the two best fighter in boxing could finally step into the ring.




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