Pacquiao Wins !!!!
LAS VEGAS — It was close.
That much everyone can agree on.
Manny Pacquiao beat back an improbable, heroic effort from an aging champion to retain his WBO welterweight championship on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, eking out a majority decision over the magnificent Juan Manuel Marquez in a fight that was just as close as their previous two ring wars. In doing so, he narrowly avoided a seismic upset.
One ringside judge scored it 114-114, with the other two giving it to Pacquiao at 115-113 and 116-114. SI.com had it 114-114.
Call it a lot of things, but don’t call it a robbery.
A heavily pro-Marquez crowd rained boos on the floor after Michael Buffer’s announcement of the outcome, hurling bottles and cans toward the ring — a far more vehement reaction than Floyd Mayweather experienced after his ungentlemanly knockout of Victor Ortiz in the same room just two months ago.
But the outcry was not commensurate to the injustice.
Yes, most of the media at ringside scored it a draw or a narrow victory for Marquez. But most of the rounds were very close. How close? Not once after the sixth did all three judges score a single round the same way.
Fact is, Saturday’s fight could have gone either way. There have been far more egregious iniquities in boxing — this year alone.
Marquez (53-6-1, 39 KOs), a 7-to-1 underdog who’d appeared vastly out of his depth in his only previous fight above lightweight, looked better than anyone expected from the opening bell, staying away from Pacquiao’s power in the early rounds and peppering him with well-timed counterpunches. The Filipino champion had trouble getting inside and landing shots, finding his hyperkinetic flurries thwarted regardless of his tack or pace. Marquez even managed to rock Pacquiao several times, most notably by gigantic right hands in the fourth, fifth and seventh.
During those the middle rounds Pacquiao was as apprehensive as he’s looked in years, wary of the counters, as confounded by the Marquez riddle as he was when they met at featherweight in 2004 and super featherweight in ’08. (They fought Saturday at a catchweight of 144, or 14 pounds above their most recent fight.) He was doing enough to bank a few rounds and keep the Mexican challenger from running out too far ahead, but it was clear the more disciplined Marquez was in control of the fight. After nine rounds, the fight was there for Marquez to take.
And then he took his foot off the gas.
Read more: SI.com
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