He didn't look like no nine-to-one underdog from the start in the main event at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Saturday night, did Juan Manuel Marquez. He and Manny Pacquiao did what they did in most of the other rounds in their two prior bouts: fight remarkably tight rounds. Once again, the judges had to render a decision and tab a winner. Judge Robert Hoyle had it 114-114, Dave Moretti saw it 115-113 and Glenn Trowbridge scored it 116-112, for Pacquiao. Once again, their fanbases will burn up message boards debating the decision and defending the honor and reputation of their guy.
If Floyd Mayweather doesn't want to fight Manny, might I suggest a fourth tussle? This one was tighter than a aging starlet's facelift and the debate between Pacmaniacs and Marquezzies will continue afresh. Judges often simply go for the busier man, and CompuBox said Manny out-threw Marquez, 578-436. He outlanded him, 176-138, as well. CompuBox said Manny enjoyed a 117-110 edge in power punches, though Marquez fans would take serious issue with that contention.
As Marquez left the ring, and walked to his dressing room, Max Kellerman talked to Pacquiao. We heard Kellerman, but then his mike went dead. As Manny spoke, and the crowd booed, we couldn't hear what he said. Then Max got a new mike, and we proceeded.
Manny said his fans were happy because it was clear he won. Did he leave no doubt? He said JMM is not easy to hit and it was clear he won. Marquez, he said, is a tough counterpuncher and "he was ready for my punches and he didn't throw any punches." Do it again? "Any time, any time," he said. And what about Floyd? Maybe in May? "Let's get it on, and make the fight happen..let's give the people a good fight." He was pretty subdued for just having won the decision.
Beristain will get major heat for not telling his guy to go to the wall, as Manny Steward mentioned after. Steward said he couldn't complain if he was in either corner. Lampley agreed.
Kellerman went to Marquez' dressing room and hunted for the fighter. Marquez in Spanish said it was the second robbery of the two they had, and said this robbery was worse.
Did Beristain's judgement that he was winning, he said, didn't affect the way he fought. "We won with the clearer punches," he said, not answering the query.
Another Pacman fight? Marquez said he didn't know, said maybe he'd retire. It's hard to fight a rival and the judges, he said.
Beristain was asked if he should not have told Marquez he was ahead. In Spanish, he said it was a robbery "of the utmost." he didn't answer the question either.
Steward again said that Beristain screwed up. "It was a big, big mistake," he said, of Beristain's call that his guy was ahead.
Steward said he hopes Floyd jumps on a Manny fight, and he thinks Floyd will win. He is now probably convinced he could beat Pacquiao, though, the trainer said.
They'd met before, in 2004, which resulted in a draw, and in 2008, when Pacman won a split decision. Pacquiao (from General Santos City; age 32) entered with a 53-3-2 record, while Marquez (from Mexico; age 38) was 53-5-1. Before the bout started, a toll of ten was heard for Joe Frazier, who died Monday.
Pacquiao came out to a rendition of "Eye of the Tiger," sung by Survivor lead singer Jimi Jamison.
In the first, Manny threw the jab. He bounced, weaved and landed a sharp left after a jab at 1:45. JMM was a bit wild, and not very busy.
In the second, a right counter by JMM scored. His timing looked to be a bit better. Manny was hyper, but not overly busy. Manny landed nine shots, one more than JMM. In the third, it was another slow one. Clean, hard shots were hard to spot. A Manny right hook in the last ten seconds was the best launch of the third. Trainer Nacho Beristain told JMM to move more after the round. Both men landed ten strikes.
In the fourth, things heated up. Manny put punches together more. JMM's jab was nowhere to be found, and Manny's wasn't stellar either. A JMM lead right landed clean and mean, though. It was another tight round. In the fifth, a sharp right took the round for JMM. Then he made Manny miss badly. It was the clearest round to score, and it was for the Mexican. His right eye was a bit puffed by now.
In the sixth, it was another judge's nightmare. Marquez had luck with the right hand and maybe took the frame. Freddie Roach asked Manny to step it up.
In the seventh, Manny was again a step behind, finding himself chasing JMM, whose movement was constant and well timed. Manny's lower lip was bloody in this round. In the eighth, Manny was the busier early. But JMM countered smartly. I wouldn't want to be a judge in this one. In the ninth, JMM's combos impressed. Manny pressed hard, and landed, but also missed as JMM's defense was high grade stuff. Pacman was up 87-84 on the Lederman card.
In the 10th, they traded and Manny pointed to his head, saying he was butted. He had a cut above his right eye. Guess what, it was another tight one. The cut was on his right brow, and the commission said it was from a butt. Manny threw a couple more punches than the Mexican. In the 11th, JMM had a nice round and Beristain told him after he was winning. That could've been a fatal statement. Roach asked Manny to put his foe down. I had it 5-5-1. In the 12th, neither man went balls to the wall. Manny's mouthpiece fell out and time was called for it to be reinserted with 40 seconds left. Marquez raised his hand to the roof. We'd go to the cards.
Lederman had it 8-4 for Manny, for the record.
Follow Woods on Twitter here.
Would you pay to see Manny Pacquiao vs Saul Alvarez?