Pacquiao-Marquez II “Unfinished Business”

16 03 2008

Pacquiao-Marquez II “Unfinished Business”

March 16, 2008

Marquez, left, takes a punch from Pacquiao in the 12th round of their WBC super featherweight title match in Las Vegas. <b>AP</b>

Marquez, left, is knocked down by Manny Pacquiao in the third round of their WBC super featherweight title match in Las Vegas. <b>AP</b>

Marquez, right, lands a punch to the face of Manny Pacquiao in the 12th round of their WBC super featherweight title match in Las Vegas. <b>AP</b>

Pacquiao says ‘business is over’ after Marquez defeat

03/16/2008 | 12:48 PM
LAS VEGAS – “The business is over,” said Filipino boxing champ Manny Pacquiao after his rematch victory over Mexico’s Juan Manuel Marquez. Pacquiao won a narrow split decision to claim Marquez’s WBC 130-pound title Saturday night (Sunday morning in Manila) in a sensational fight that left two of the world’s best boxers bloody and triumphant.

Refusing defeat, Marquez told a television interview after the match: “[Pacquiao] knows that I am stronger than him, that’s why he’s not giving me that rematch.”

Pacquiao’s rematch victory over Marquez was worth every minute of the four-year wait.

Though Marquez landed more punches at a higher percentage, Pacquiao (46-3-2) knocked down Marquez (48-4-1) in the third round and persevered through a nasty cut. Marquez also was cut in the fight, but neither backed down from one scintillating exchange after another.

Their first matchup ended in a draw in May 2004. Marquez was knocked down three times in the opening round of that acclaimed bout, but improbably rallied to win most of the later rounds in a possible career-saving performance.

The rematch was just as tight — and every bit as exciting.

Judge Duane Ford favored Pacquiao 115-112 and Jerry Roth called it 115-112 for Marquez, while Tom Miller gave a 114-113 edge to Pacquiao. The Associated Press narrowly favored Marquez, 114-113.

But with outstanding action in nearly every round producing bloody injuries and heart-stopping moments, the fight was an appropriate matchup between two of the world’s most gifted boxers. Pacquiao nearly had the fight won in the third round, but Marquez kept his feet.

“I thought at that point I was in control of the fight,” Pacquiao said. “But when he cut my eye in the fourth round, he made it more difficult for me, and I couldn’t take control of the fight. … I wasn’t sure (heading into the 12th round), but I always treat the final round as the most important. I don’t take any chances.”

From the opening bell, the action was fast and frenetic at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Marquez staggered Pacquiao in the second round, but Pacquiao floored Marquez moments later with a left hook. Pacquiao then wobbled Marquez again late in what’s sure to be one of the year’s best rounds, but couldn’t finish off Marquez.

“I don’t like the decision,” Marquez said. “I still feel I am the champion. It was a bad decision. That first knockdown, he got me cold, but then I adjusted my game plan and I thought from then on, I dictated the whole fight. … The people are the best judge, and the people are booing him. I won.”

Pacquiao won a major world title in his fourth weight division, and he intends to take on a fifth when he moves up to 135 pounds for his next fight against David Diaz, the WBC lightweight champion who won on Saturday’s undercard.

“I don’t think so,” Pacquiao said of a third fight with Marquez. “This business is over.”

Pacquiao entered the ring to thousands of cheering fans and a Filipino rapper who incited the crowd with a live performance. Marquez had a white-suited mariachi band waiting for him in the ring, and his fans drowned out the sizable Filipino contingent.

After a cautious start, both fighters showed glimpses of their fearsome potential in the second round. Pacquiao won several tough exchanges, but Marquez wobbled Pacquiao with a three-punch combination in the final seconds.

The third round was nonstop action, with both fighters trading quality punches before Pacquiao put Marquez on the canvas with a left hook. Marquez was leaning against the ropes by the end, but wouldn’t go down.

Marquez cut Pacquiao with a punch in the fourth round, but Pacquiao staggered him again in the seventh, and a collision of heads opened a nasty cut near Marquez’s right eye. Marquez then split Pacquiao’s right cheek early in the eighth, but Pacquiao kept charging forward to take punishment with his obscured vision.

Referee Kenny Bayless called a timeout in the ninth round to get attention for Marquez’s bleeding cut, and Pacquiao landed a few big punches in the final seconds.

They traded quality punches until the final minute, when Marquez landed a handful of combinations to do the final damage. Both fighters’ cornermen raised them in victory.

“It was a close fight, but we came back at the end,” said Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach. “It could have gone either way, in my mind. Manny followed him around the ring too much. He didn’t cut off the ring like he should have. Marquez may have had a lot to do with that as well. Manny was more disciplined in training than he was in the fight tonight.” GMANews.TV with a report from Associated Press

 


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