BOXING FANS SUPPORT MANNY AT WEIGH-IN / PH SHOCKED BY PACQUIAO K.O.
[PHOTO -Boxing fans support boxer Manny Pacquiao during the official weigh-in for his welterweight bout against Juan Manuel Marquez at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Friday in Las Vegas, Nevada. AFP PHOTO]
LAS VEGAS, DECEMBER 10, 2012 (MANILA TIMES) Hundreds of screaming Filipino boxing fans tried unsuccessfully to shout down their Mexican rivals at the weigh-in for Saturday’s welterweight fight between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez.
Chants of “Manny, Manny” were answered with even more boisterous calls of “Marquez, Marquez” from the dominant flag-waving Mexican supporters as a crowd of about 5,000 people squeezed into the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Friday.
“I am happy to give honor to my country in boxing,” the 33-year-old Pacquiao told the crowd.
Pacquiao, 54-4-2 with 38 knockouts, weighed in at the division’s 147-pound limit, while Marquez, 54-6-1 with 39 knockouts, came in at 143 pounds.
Pacquiao’s huge following in the Philippines was on display at the arena, with many of his supporters flying in from his home country and other parts of the United States.
With the 16,000-capacity arena sold out for Saturday’s fight, this is as close as many will get to the fighters in person. One eager Filipino couple, who flew in from Hawaii, started lining up in the wee hours of the morning 11.5 hours before the doors were scheduled to open.
The majority of the crowd was supporting Marquez, who walked to the scales first. He stood up there wearing nothing but a pair of boxer shorts, a thick gold chain around his neck and an orange paper bracelet. He still came in four pounds under the limit for the non-title fight.
“It is going to be a war,” Marquez told the crowd.
Pacquiao followed Marquez onto the scale and then stepped off and posed like a body builder as his fans cheered and Marquez’s supporters booed.
Marquez’s fans successfully drowned out Pacquiao with a chorus of boos as he talked about trying to help the victims of a typhoon that devastated the southern Philippines this week, killing hundreds and displacing tens of thousands.
“This fight is dedicated to those fans,” Pacquiao said, adding that he would try to be better focused on Saturday.
When southpaw Pacquiao and Marquez enter the ring on Saturday for their non-title bout, it will be the fourth time in eight years they have fought.
Pacquiao, who is eager to redeem himself after suffering a defeat in his most recent fight to Tim Bradley, is tired of Marquez blaming his failure to win in their three previous fights on biased judging.
Marquez claims he won all three fights—although two were scored in favour of Pacquiao and one ended in a draw.
“It is most important to show people who the best man is,” Marquez said on Friday.
The boxers were joined in the podium on Friday by former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, promoter Bob Arum and their trainers, Freddie Roach for Pacquiao and Ignacio Beristain for Marquez.
Organizers announced on Friday that more than $10 million worth of tickets have been sold for the fight, which is also being carried on both closed-circuit television at venues around Las Vegas and pay-per-view in private homes.
Pacquiao and Marquez joined an elite list of boxers who have met four times, including Sugar Ray Robinson-Gene Fullmer (1957-1961); Jersey Joe Walcott-Ezzard Charles (1949-1952) and Sandy Saddler-Willie Pep (1948-1951).
Pacquiao said earlier in the week that there won’t be a fifth fight, which would put them in the class of Gene Tunney-Harry Greb, who had five bouts between 1922-1925.
The undercard will feature one title fight, a 12-round IBF lightweight bout between Mercito Gesta of the Philippines and Mexican Miguel Vazquez.
Gesta, who has 26 wins and no losses, is fighting for his first championship belt.
Gesta’s father, Anecito, 49, is a former Muay Thai champion in the Philippines and also serves as a sparring partner for his son.
Former world featherweight champ Yuriorkis Gamboa is also on the undercard, fighting Filipino Michael Farenas in a junior lightweight bout.
Philippines shocked by Pacquiao knock-out Published on 09 December 2012 Hits: 99 Written by AFP
MANILA: The Philippines reacted with shock and sadness Sunday after national boxing hero Manny Pacquiao was knocked out by Mexican Juan Miguel Marquez in a fight in Las Vegas.
From the highest corners of government to the man on the street, Pacquiao's defeat dampened spirits already weighed down in a country dealing with a killer typhoon that left 1,300 dead or missing this week.
In the fighter's hometown of General Santos City, in the southern Philippines, where the fight was broadcast live in several public stadiums, shocked viewers reacted with stunned silence after Pacquiao fell in the sixth round before a raucous 16,000-strong crowd at the MGM Grand Garden arena.
"We were all silent because we were unsure what happened. He was unconscious for so long," said businessman Jun Bayonico, 51, who watched the fight live with friends and relatives.
"For so many years, he was our idol. We were saddened by what happened but maybe this is a sign he should retire. It would have been better if he retired as a winner," he added.
The 39-year-old Marquez sent down Pacquiao, 33, face first to the canvas with a right hand with one second left of the round to win their welterweight fight -- their fourth meeting -- late Saturday in the US city.
President Benigno Aquino's spokesman Edwin Lacierda said despite the defeat, the country would not turn its back on the superstar fighter who has won world titles in an unprecedented eight weight divisions.
"Nothing will change. The people of the Philippines will continue to support Manny. We join them in praying for the return of his strength and determination," Lacierda said in a statement.
Vice President Jejomar Binay also quickly declared his confidence that Pacquiao, who has parlayed his boxing championships into a showbiz career and election to parliament, would surely make a comeback.
"I am certain that Manny will rise from this adversity a better and stronger person," he said in a statement.
Boxing analyst Ronnie Nathanielz, in an interview with DZMM radio station, said Pacquiao's strategy to abandon his usual strength and conditioning training was to blame for the loss.
He also said Pacquiao giving up his usual pre-fight ritual-- wearing a rosary to the ring-- may have also had an effect on the fighter, a devout Christian.
Pacquiao had hoped to win a definitive victory over Marquez after three previous encounters that resulted in one draw and close victories for Pacquiao.
In his previous fight, Pacquiao lost the World Boxing Organization welterweight title in June to Tim Bradley in a controversial split decision.
There have been questions about Pacquiao's focus on his boxing in recent years as he had to deal with his duties as a congressman, host of a TV game show, a bible preacher and pitchman for various products.
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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