The contentious win of Manny Pacquiao over Juan Manuel Márquez on Saturday has sparked a heated debate in Latino and Filipino media, where reporters, bloggers, and fans are arguing over who really won the fight.
Manny Pacquiao was declared the winner by majority decision, with two judges scoring the fight 115-113 and 116-112. The third judge had it tied at 114-114.
The decision drew boos from the crowd, and the post-fight press conference was unlike any other, reports Jairo Giraldo for Spanish-language newspaper La Opinión: “In the air there floated a morbid sense of theft. The smell of a rigged decision. Because it was clear to everyone that either Marquez had barely won the fight or it was a draw, but that Pacquiao did not win.”
A reporter for Filipino newspaper Asian Journal even had Márquez beating Pacquaio at the end of the fight, writing, “My unofficial score has Márquez winning 7 rounds to 5 of Pacquiao.”
The judges’ controversial decision once again put professional boxing in the “eye of the hurricane,” Mexico City’s El Economista newspaper reports from Las Vegas.
“In boxing, as in all professional sports, there are millionaire, commercial and sporting interests that converge at some point in an event and this weekend that happened in the third fight between Márquez and Pacquiao,” El Economista reports, adding that the sport is entrenched with the interests of promoters, trainers, managers, representatives and pay-per-view television – and no more so than in the figure of Manny Pacquiao.
The Filipino pound-for-pound champion is an international sensation, delving in everything from politics (he was elected to Congress in the Philippines last year) to music (his shows continue to fill arenas). But even in the Philippines—where the entire country literally comes to a standstill every time Pacquiao fights—the celebration was restrained. In Filipino communities across the globe, the match drew mixed reviews.
“I'm happy but I feel it's not deserved,” Arthur Sanchez, a Filipino nurse based in London, told ABS-CBN News. "It seemed as if Manny was the one chasing after the points."
In Glendale, Calif., more than 300 Filipinos watched the fight in the Filipino restaurant Noypitz, and were convinced that Pacquiao had won. "Marquez was good, but Pacquiao is a great fighter," said John Boy Ramos.
But one Univision blogger wonders if his star may be fading.
“Manny Pacquiao isn’t the ‘Filipino Cyclone’ that we saw fight Antonio Margarito or Miguel Cotto,” Angel Rodríguez-Valdes wrote in a Spanish-language blog on Univision. “Maybe his political and social activities have kept him from staying in shape, or maybe his foot cramps have affected him, or his career has started to decline after being at the top. What’s certain is that the Pacquiao who beat Mosley and Márquez can’t beat Floyd Mayweather, Jr.”
Univision users posted comments online in response to the blog, with some saying the fight on Saturday was “stolen,” and calling the judges “corrupt.” Others wrote in to voice their support for Pacquiao: One user going by the name mzmoda, posted a comment arguing, “All of you know that Manny won… (but) since you’re Mexican, you can’t say that Pacquiao won.”
Mexican José Sulaimán, president of the World Boxing Council, told Mexico City’s La Jornada that the judges’ decision was “an injustice.”
Márquez’s manager, Fernando Beltran, told ABS-CBN, that the controversial decision hurts the entire sport of boxing.
"I think it was very close," Beltran said. "I think they should fire these judges. I think the judges were very partial and this really hurt the sport."
But ABS-CBN reports that, according to Michael Koncz, Pacquiao's adviser, a Pacquiao-Marquez fight will always be controversial: "We can have this fight 10 times,” he said, “and I think it's gonna end up in controversy every time, because of Manny and Marquez's styles."
Since there was still no decisive winner in the fight, ABS-CBN reports, Bob Arum, CEO of the boxing promotions company Top Rank, proposed a fourth match in the series.
Ricardo Jimenez, a Top Rank publicist, told Filipino media that after the fight, "While Pacquiao is amenable to another fight, Marquez is no longer as keen."
“What for?” Marquez reportedly asked Jimenez. “There’s no way I can beat him.”
Marquez earlier joked with journalists that even if he had knocked Pacquiao down, the judges would only “help him up and give him the win, anyway.”
Meanwhile, Pacquiao gave new hope to boxing fans for the mega-fight they have been waiting for the past two years: Manny Pacquiao versus Floyd Mayweather, Jr. for the pound-for-pound title.
“Let’s make it happen on May 5,” Pacquiao said after the Marquez bout in a story published by Inquirer.net. It was the first time the boxer had called out his greatest rival. “Let’s give the people a good fight.”
Additional reporting by Rene Ciria-Cruz.
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