Pacquiao defeats Marquez in controversial decision

Manny Pacquiao retained his WBO world welterweight title courtesy of a hotly-disputed points victory over his great rival Juan Manuel Marquez in Las Vegas on Saturday night.

13 November 2011, 12:00am
Manny Pacquiao, right, landed some sharp punches on Marquez
Manny Pacquiao, right, landed some sharp punches on Marquez
Marquez fought masterfully in his bid to finally gain a victory over the reigning pound for pound king at the third attempt.

But his performance didn't get the result he craved as he lost a controversial majority decision.

The bout finished level 114-114 on one scorecard, while the other two were 115-113 and 116-112 in favour of Pacquiao.

Marquez was clearly disgusted and left the ring almost immediately, while the crowd in the MGM Grand Garden Arena booed the decision.

The bout was an eagerly-awaited one after the two epic previous showdowns between Pacquiao and Marquez.

The first had ended in a draw with Marquez recovering brilliantly from being down three times in the opening round in 2004. Pacquiao took the second on a wafer-thin decision in 2008. Marquez felt he'd won both.

Juan Manuel, now 38, started a big underdog here against a Pacquiao who had destroyed most of the sport's big names since that 2008 meeting.

But he belied those odds with a superb performance, proving once again that he has the perfect style and approach to nullify Manny's brilliance.

He once again played counter-puncher, staying just out of range of Pacquiao's lethal left hand but always close enough to move in and land his own shots when the Filipino missed the target.

Pacquiao started brightly enough but Marquez gradually took control, establishing a worrying pattern for Freddie Roach in Manny's corner.

Marquez continued to hold sway as Pacquiao grew more and more desperate, and even Roach was telling his man he was behind in the corner between rounds.

Pacquiao's bid to come on strong paid off in rounds 9 and 10 but Marquez hit recovered well in the 11th and appeared to hold his own in the 12th.

The Mexican clearly felt he'd done enough to get the decision, smiling and raising his arm as the final bell sounded, while Pacquiao merely trudged back to his corner.

But a few minutes later that Marquez beam turned to disbelief as Michael Buffer revealed the numbers on the scorecards.

This fight was billed as the one to end all doubt as to which of these two fighters reigns supreme in their epic personal rivalry.

But in the end it did little to end the arguments, with Pacquiao's promoter Bob Arum already talking about a fourth fight between the two next year.