|Pacquiao Squeaks out a Split Decision Over Marquez
By Gabriel Montoya Reporting from Ringside, Doghouse Boxing (March 15, 2008) Photo © German Villasenor
Las Vegas, NV - Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino the crowd was oiled and ready for the showdown between Filipino sensation Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao and Mexican technician Juan Manuel Marquez. As Pacquiao entered the arena on the big screen above the audience, the Filipino contingent went wild but was ultimately drowned out by the Mexican fans chant of “Marquez! Marquez! Marquez!”
By the main event, it was a star studded, sold out crowd that featured Zab Judah, Winky Wright, Mike Tyson, Marco
Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Shane Mosley, Edwin Valero, and Oscar De la Hoya. Also in attendance was a Filipino Bob Dylan circa mid sixties look alike and a guy who looked like Jake “The Snake” from the WWF.
The lovely Sierra Soto gave a fiery rendition of the filipino anthem. Teo Gonzalez gave a rousing version of Mexico’s. Then it was time to get it on.
Pacquiao came into hip hop strains and the crowd lit up like Manny’s smile. Even the flag waver for Pacquiao got caught up in the beat despite being about 20 years past listening to hip hop. Nice entrance.
Marquez came in to traditional mariachi music. Again the Mexican contingent ate it up.
You couldn’t ask for a more loyal, more electric crowd. The only thing left was a world class “LET’S GET READY TO RUUUMMMBBLLLEE!!!!” from ring announcer Michael Buffer.
It was a boxer’s pace to start. both men looking to jab and counter. Waiting on the other. Pacman tried out his jab to the body and double jab but didn’t land. Marquez got off a right to start and Pac came back with a right down stairs. Marquez made him pay with a great right upstairs. Pretty close round.
Still a boxing pace in the second but it would heat up as they both began to exchange more. Marquez would receive his first warning for a low blow by Kenny Bayless. They went back and forth center ring with Pacman getting in the bets shot of the exchange. Marquez would wave him in and right before the bell, would land a 1two that hurt Pacquiao and wobbled him.
Round three was explosive. A straight right down the pipe seemed to hurt Pacquiao but the Filipino shook it off. Pac was the busier man and it paid off as he got Marquez into an exchange and unleashed a left hook/uppercut hybrid that dropped Marquez who never say it coming and it hurt him badly. He would rise quickly but take a few more hard shots for his effort. The bell would mercifully ring before he could be dropped again.
Marquez came out shaky in the next round, taking a 1-2 from Pacquiao to start. A right by Marquez would be answered by another right left from Pacman. Pacquiao stalking now, fading in and out of range. Left by Pacquiao would set off a flurry that Pacquiao would dodge.
By the middle rounds, Marquez seemed to have his legs under him and appeared to be taking the fight back to a boxing match. Pacquiao would miss a 1-2 and seemed to kind of contort a bit. It looked almost like he hurt his back. After this, his punch output dropped and Marquez took over, winning the fifth and the sixth.
Down the stretch of rounds 7,8,9, and 10 however, they would swing back and forth between them. It was a brutal seesaw battle. After a third clash of heads, Marquez would get cut on his right eye. Soon after, Pacquiao would be cut very badly. It was an injury that seemed to take a lot out of him. In the eighth, Pacquiao seemed hurt badly as Marquez stung him to the body. “The cut on my eye made it hard to fight,” said Pacquiao afterwards. Marquez was aware of it as he teed off with jab after jab.
Coming into the championship rounds it was anybody’s fight. Both men fought with urgency and guts. Pacquiao looking for the big shot and Marquez getting off with hard counter rights and lefts inside. They traded at the bell as the crowd leapt to their feet. It was hard fight to score but a great fight to watch.
Judges had it 115-112 Marquez, 115-112 Pacquiao and 114-113 for Pacquiao. DHB scored it 114-113 Marquez.
Manny was more disciplined in the gym than he was in the ring tonight,” said Freddie Roach. He followed Marquez around a bit too much instead of cutting off the ring. It could have gone either way.”
Next up for Pacquiao? A move to the 135 lb division. What fans at ringside were clamoring for most of all however, was a third fight between the wonderfully evenly matched fighters.
Gabriel at: Coyotefeather@gmail.com
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