Last night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, boxing icon Manny Pacquiao put his WBO Welterweight title on the line against Juan Manuel Marquez and he came away with a majority decision. The judges scored the bout 114-114, 115-113 and 116-114 for the champion, however Pacquiao was not impressive and there will be a wide contigent of people that will insist Marquez was robbed.
I watched the fight on the Mexican TV channel that aired it hear in Costa Rica. The call there was obviously extremely pro-Marquez. As the production was adding up the judges scorecards, the whole tone of the broadcast was that Marquez was a clear winner. Combine that with the general reaction on Spanish language boxing forums, and I think it is safe to say that NOBODY in Mexico thinks Pacquiao won this fight.
This was not a rock em sock em Gatti-Ward type of fight, this was more chess-like strategy. Both guys are clearly the elite of the elite in boxing today, and that made the match compelling, if not thrilling.
Marquez was content in letting Pacquiao come to him. He got off first as Pacquiao came in, and he counterpunched effectively. Pacquiao stated he started being affected by leg cramps in the 4th round, and it was in those middle rounds that Marquez had his best moments. Several times he snapped Pacquiao’s head back, and he opened up Pacquiao’s lip.
To give the judges the benefit of the doubt, Marquez did appear to slow down the last 3 rounds, while Pacquiao picked up the pace. Was it enough to win? The judges thought so, as Pacquiao won the last 3 rounds on the scorecards.
After the fight, Marquez had the look of a man that has fallen for the same joke again, a look of disbelief.
For their part, Pacquiao, Bob Arum and the normally coolly arrogant Freddie Roach all had the look of having dodged a bullet. There is already talk of a forth bout between the two because nothing is settled.
Yesterday, I blogged that Marquez was a bettor’s dream – at 8 to 1, we had a real live underdog. I must admit waiting on the decision, I was already planning my ‘I called it’ followup blog. I thought Marquez won the fight.
One thing is for sure – Pacquiao has crossed over to be more than just a boxer. People took it for granted that he would win this fight. However this is the second bout in a row that he has not finished and that he has not looked as impressive as he did during his rise to the top.
It will be interesting to see if the much talked about bout with Floyd Mayweather materializes. I’m afraid that with all this waiting, we are going to get a fight between two guys that have started their declines rather than two fighters in their primes. Let’s make it happen ASAP. If Bob Arum tries to sell us Timothy Bradley against Manny Pacquiao, someone make him eat his colostomy bag, please.