Manny Pacquiao beats Juan Manuel Marquez, still the champ

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pacmanwinsSan Jose Mercury News, Nov. 12, 2011

LAS VEGAS -- Manny Pacquiao escaped again, in a decision that left Juan Manuel Marquez fuming once again.

The Filipino sensation was taken to the limit Saturday night before winning a majority decision that infuriated Marquez and most of the sellout crowd at the MGM Grand arena. While close, the win helped Pacquiao continue a remarkable run that has made him the most exciting fighter in the sport.

In a bruising battle against a counterpuncher who was both accurate and fast, Pacquiao needed the final round on two score cards to pull out the win. He got it, even though a third judge scored the round in favor of Marquez.

As boos -- and cans and bottles -- rang down on the ring, Pacquiao celebrated another victory and another huge payday.

"My fans are very happy because they thought I won," Pacquiao said.

He did, but on the narrowest margin. That, perhaps, was to be expected considering the previous 24 rounds the two had fought were just as close.

Pacquiao won on two score cards, while the third ringside judge had it a draw. It was a narrow escape for the Filipino congressman, who took as much punishment as he gave over 12 rounds, and Marquez was so upset he stormed from the ring.

"This was the second robbery and this one was the worst," Marquez said. "We won with clearer punches."

 

The third fight between the two was as close as the previous two, and by the time they finished 12 rounds the outcome was still in doubt. Pacquiao won some rounds with sheer aggression, while Marquez won others with brilliant counterpunching, keeping Pacquiao from getting inside.

Marquez was a 7-1 underdog, but it was clear early he would be in this fight. He picked Pacquiao apart with right hands almost every time he tried to get inside, and landed good hard flurries throughout the fight.

Pacquiao was the aggressor throughout, and landed some sharp punches of his own. But when the decision was announced, the crowd booed and, once again Marquez had lost a close fight.

One ringside judge had it a 114-114 draw, while two others favored Pacquiao by 115-113 and 116-112. The Associated Press had it 114-114. The crowd threw bottles and cans toward ringside after the decision was announced, with one full can hitting a ringside writer.

Pacquiao found out early he would be in for a long night, taking counter punches from Marquez in the opening rounds while looking for his own opening. He had trouble all night finding his range and, when he did get inside, Marquez often moved to the side and landed a counter right hand.

It was the 15th straight win for Pacquiao, who earned a minimum of $22 million while improving his record to 54-3-2. Marquez, who earned $5 million, fell to 52-6-1.

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