Pacquiao edges Marquez, retains WBO crown
MANILA, Philippines—Pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao mustered enough strength to edge Juan Manuel Marquez anew and retain the WBO Welterweight crown via majority decision Saturday night (Sunday in Manila) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
One judge had it even at 114 while the other judges scored it for Pacquiao 115-113 and 116-112 for another controversial ending.
Pacquiao and Marquez picked up where they left off four years ago as the two engaged in a pulsating duel from start to finish. It was a narrow escape for the Filipino congressman, who took as much punishment as he got over 12 rounds.
The third fight between the two was as close as the previous two, and by the time they finished 12 rounds, the outcome was still in doubt. Pacquiao won some rounds with sheer aggression, while his Mexican opponent won others with brilliant counterpunching, keeping Pacquiao from getting inside.
Marquez, who claims he won the last two meetings, looked determined to back up his case as he set the tone and consistently landed right-hand punches that troubled Pacquiao all throughout the fight.
In stark contrast to their previous encounters, Pacquiao failed to knock down Marquez and this time it was the eight-division champion who would rally.
Pacquiao, who raised his record to 54 wins, 38 of which by knockouts, against three losses with two draws, gained momentum in the latter rounds as he was able to hit Marquez with combinations that seemed to have gotten the judges’ nod.
It was a tentative Pacquiao who showed up in the early rounds with Marquez able to keep him at bay with his effective counter-punching.
Marquez was a heavy underdog coming in but defied the odds once again and pushed Pacquiao to the limit.
In the eighth and ninth rounds, both fighters exchanged flurries in a too-close-to-call moment that could’ve gone either way.
Pacquiao was in his usual relentless form but Marquez didn’t budge and held his guard.
The first match in 2004 saw Marquez rally from three knockdowns in the first round to forge a controversial draw.
In the second meeting, Pacquiao chalked up a narrow split decision in 2008 highlighted by a third-round knockdown of Marquez.
With how the third bout, which was supposed to be tipped as the decisive fight, ended, a fourth meeting between Pacquiao and Marquez is likely to happen.—With Associated Press
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Originally posted at 01:58 pm | Sunday, November 13, 2011