Pacquiao a world champion, finally !!

16 03 2008


By Francis Ochoa
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 12:54:00 03/16/2008


MANILA, Philippines — Michael Buffer was still halfway through announcing the final judge’s score when suddenly, the crowd erupted in a huge roar.

The popular announcer was then saying “new.”

In case you didn’t catch it, Buffer said: “The new super featherweight champion of the world!”

He was, of course, referring to Manny Pacquiao.

The Filipino ring sensation finally won a world championship, becoming the first Asian to win world titles in three different weight classes after outpointing Juan Manuel Marquez on the way to claiming the Mexican’s belt in Las Vegas.

Four years ago, Pacquiao failed to grab Marquez’s featherweight belts despite knocking the Mexican thrice in the first round.

Marquez fought back to force a controversial draw, setting this long-awaited rematch dubbed “Unfinished Business.”

And by the end of this bout, Pacquiao finally tied up all the loose ends.

“Our business is finished,” the Gen. Santos City native told a television reporter.

And contrary to oddsmakers’ prediction, business did not end with a knockout. Pacquiao, this time proving that he had the finishing kick that he woefully lacked in their first meeting, floored Marquez in the third round before flaunting disciplined boxing skills that led to the split decision victory.

“After that knockdown, I felt I controlled the match,” said the 29-year-old southpaw, who nearly finished off Marquez with a flurry there. The Mexican was dangerously pinned against the ropes in the final 10 seconds but was rescued by the bell.

Pacquiao led off with a right jab that barely grazed Marquez’s face but caught the Mexican with a left hook for the knockdown at the 21-second mark of the third round.

And just like the first bout, Marquez did not stay glued to the canvas after falling.

Marquez fought back and even had Pacquiao in trouble in the middle rounds. Both fighters sported cuts near the eye area but it was Marquez who took advantage, landing combinations in the eighth round as Pacquiao couldn’t see where the Mexican was attacking from.

“I couldn’t see from my left eye so I could not hit him,” said Pacquiao, who admitted that he was hurt as Marquez effectively landed body shots in the eighth.

But Pacquiao woke up from the ninth round onwards to overhaul Marquez’ lead in the scorecards.

Dwayne Ford scored it 115-112, while Tom Miller had it 114-113 both in favor of the Filipino. Jerry Roth scored it 115-112 for the Mexican.

The Inquirer actually had it 114-113 for Marquez, but only after giving the 34-year-old fighter the first and last rounds, which could have gone Pacquiao’s way.

“I’m still thinking I won the fight,” Marquez said through an interpreter. The Mexican was more aggressive than his usual counter-punching ways but clearly lacked the zing in his punches.

Pacquiao’s power was more evident as the Filipino rocked Marquez every time he managed to land his pet left.



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