Marquez blasts judges as Pacquiao pulls thru
LAS VEGAS—For the third time, Juan Manuel Marquez climbed the ring determined to prove his mastery over Manny Pacquiao.
In what could have been his best shot at doing so Saturday, Marquez was frustrated again.
The 38-year-old warrior walked off the ring distraught and his corner frustrated as Pacquiao eked out a majority decision at the Garden Arena at MGM in front of a sold-out crowd.
“I don’t know what I need to do to change the minds of the judges,” Marquez said after the fight.
Judge Glenn Townbridge saw it 116-112 for Pacquiao. Dave Moretti had it 115-113 for the Filipino ring icon while Robert Hoyle had it 114-114.
And for yet another time, Pacquiao might have sent another future hall-of-famer into retirement, although this one in less-flattering circumstances than when he bullied the likes of Oscar De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton into hanging up their gloves.
“I will discuss with my family if I will continue boxing,” said Marquez in Spanish. “But to be honest, this decision makes me want to retire.”
If he does, he might go out wearing a familiar but remodeled outfit. To get this third fight with Pacquiao, Marquez made appearances wearing a shirt that proclaimed he had beaten the pound-for-pound king twice in their previous bouts.
“I’m thinking of printing one,” Marquez said when asked if he would wear a shirt declaring he has beaten Pacquiao thrice now.
Marquez had his chances to seal the deal after dominating the bout early on with his pinpoint accuracy of counters and crunching right hooks that always seemed to find their target. But as the fight wore on, Pacquiao managed to work his way into the bout with his volume punching and aggressiveness, a factor that always weighs heavily with Nevada judges.
Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach said Marquez fought a magnificent fight but failed to go for the kill. “It was his for the taking, but he didn’t grab it,” said the five-time Trainer of the Year.
No room to dominate
Validation was also Pacquiao’s for the taking. But a slow start, a case of cramps and, more importantly, Marquez’s performance didn’t give the Sarangani congressman any room to dominate.
And now, the Mexican continues to sing a familiar refrain.
“I think we beat him not only in the ring but also among the audience,” said Marquez, in reference to the boos that completely drowned out the postgame ring interview.
The throng that supported Marquez also pelted the ring with debris and also threw projectile at Pacquiao as he marched out of the arena.
“I’m very frustrated,” said Marquez trainer Nacho Beristain through an interpreter. “It’s a joke for the people, for Manny and for Juan Manuel.”
In an entertaining bout that had both fighters engaging each other, Marquez managed to control the early rounds with right hooks and combinations that came as counters to every Pacquiao attack.
After the sixth round, Pacquiao started getting into the groove, using his ability to fire shots off tough angles and his work rate to chip at the Marquez defense.
By the time the bout entered the last two rounds, everything seemed touch-and-go.
In fact, even the judges varied on the rounds, with only half of the 12 rounds getting similar scores from all three judges—none after the seventh.
“Maybe I have to knock him out. But even then, [the judges] might help him up and give him the win anyway,” the three-division champ said.
Action picked up even more in the final rounds and the crowd erupted like crazy as both warriors flung themselves at each other several times with reckless abandon.
Roach felt Pacquiao made himself busy enough to nail both rounds.
“Manny won the last two rounds and I wasn’t surprised with the decision,” said Roach, who would have wanted a more definitive victory for his ward so they could move on to negotiating with the megabuck fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Marquez right hooks
“I wish Manny would have moved more to the right,” said Roach, who watched as Marquez found his target with his right hooks early.
But that’s easier said than done. Even Pacquiao admitted that he had difficulty dealing with Marquez Saturday night, despite revealing that he had spent the last two or three years studying how to break down a counterpuncher.
“It’s hard to fight Marquez because he always waits for me to create the action,” said Pacquiao. “He’s a good counterpuncher.”
Generally, the Filipino star has a tough time dealing with Marquez’s style. Roach admits it. Marquez knows it.
“My style is complicated for him,” said Marquez.
“Marquez’s style makes things difficult for Manny,” Roach said. “What can I tell you? It was close. But I think we took the last two rounds.”
It was just the second fight for Marquez at the welterweight ranks and first since getting thoroughly drubbed by Mayweather. It also gave the Mexican a perspective as to who would win should that bout get finally made.
“That would be a great fight but I think Floyd’s style would make things difficult for Manny,” said Marquez.
Marquez was knocked down four times by Pacquiao in their previous two bouts but managed to stay on his feet all night Saturday despite the barrage he received.
“He was stronger in our previous bouts. But he’s a good fighter,” Marquez said. “I was always careful and we both fought intelligently. I never got overconfident.”
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