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Manny Pacquiao was robbed legally

11:27 PM July 04, 2012

Manny Pacquiao. AP Photo/Reed Saxon

They’ve refused to call it by its assigned name, but you’ve definitely heard of this unsinkable sports world anomaly called legal robbery.

When Manny Pacquiao could only eke out a shaky draw against Juan Manuel Marquez in their first encounter in May 2002, the manager of the Filipino boxing superhero sulked and swore.

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“I’ll never have Manny fight again here in Las Vegas, if I could have my way,” groaned the late Rod Nazario, the godfather who enrolled Pacquiao at the Wild Card Gym, from where trainer Freddie Roach polished the brave, stone-fisted phenomenon all the way to superstardom.

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In that bout at the MGM Grand, Pacquiao floored Marquez a total of three times in the first round. One judge, a Canadian-based Greek, later admitted having scored the first round wrong, thus depriving Pacquiao of what could’ve been a decisive winning point.

If that was odd enough, nothing could be gorier than the sight of Marquez later crying and claiming he had also been robbed.

Nazario never had his way and, as fate would have it, Pacquiao catapulted to undreamt of greatness from glitz capital Las Vegas itself.

* * *

Through it all, there came a second meeting with Marquez who, after being floored in the middle round, countered well and finished dynamically against the visibly fading Pacquiao.

Pacquiao won by split decision and, as expected, Marquez cried robbery.

The Mexican sharpshooter next overdid himself and flew directly to Manila to challenge Pacquiao to a third meeting.

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Pacquiao did not only give Marquez a cold shoulder.

The Pacman in fact soared beyond Marquez’s reach, humbling a slew of big names that counted Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, to name only three.

* * *

So when their third meeting—Pacquiao-Marquez III—was finally set, there were those who readily cried mismatch, with good reason.

But Pacquiao, mighty, luminous and pegged a 10-1 favorite, could only steal a majority decision in that explosive but controversial third fight.

Pacquiao had a sensational start but, after the third round, when Marquez pushed his head inches tighter to Pacquiao’s left punch, the Pinoy superhero started missing wide while getting pummeled repeatedly inside.

He could not ably move to the right, a flaw later blamed on faulty, cramping legs.

Roach would also confide about a very troubled camp, topped by a serious Pacquiao spat with his wife on the eve of the bout.

* * *

Count those as excuses for a losing Pacquiao stand that was mysteriously rewarded with a split decision win by the judges.

Sorry, but after Pacquiao’s last bout with Tim Bradley, not a few boxing fans have started crying karma.

Did Pacquiao feel as badly as Marquez did after the Mexican had to again cry robbery in their third meeting?

It’s like this: It will henceforth be known by a few other names, like allowable anomaly or permissible perjury.

Something indeed went wrong during that one-sided bout clearly won by Pacquiao but was judged as a split decision victory for Bradley.

For the record, Pacquiao did not lose although his crown had been taken away.

* * *

Yes, there was clearly an anomaly but it was no surprise that authorities assigned to investigate had conveniently brushed the heist as legit.

The Nevada State Attorney General has ruled there was nothing wrong with the bout and that they did not see anything illegal.

“There do not appear to be any facts or evidence to indicate that a criminal violation occurred,” said Catherine Cortez Masto, Nevada attorney general.

Dale Liebherr, the attorney general’s chief of investigators, said they spent a lot of time interviewing the referee Robert Byrd who testified that nothing untoward went inside the ring.

Of course, there was nothing visibly wrong with the fight proper.

The truth: the anomaly did not happen within the referee’s reach, it was perpetuated cozily at ringside through the hidden scorecards of the judges, away from the view of jaded authorities.

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TAGS: Manny Pacquiao, Marquez, Pacquiao, robbery
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