MARQUEZ DOES ESCAPE ACT AGAINST PACQUIAO

LAS VEGAS, May 10, 2004
 
(MALAYA)
Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez showed what survival is all about by battling Manny Pacquiao to a majority draw in their fight Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Marquez recovered from three first round knockdowns to salvage the decision after 12 thrill-a-minute rounds that enabled him to keep his WBA and IBF featherweight titles.

Pacquiao, using a devastating straight left hand, floored Marquez three times and left him bloodied in the opening round.

But Marquez regained his composure and appeared to take control in the middle rounds, eventually gaining the somewhat surprising verdict.

The final announcement by ring announcer Michael Buffer left Pacquiao, as well as a large contingent of Filipino fans, dumbfounded with disbelief. Marquez was visibly elated after the escape.

Fight judge John Stewart of New Jersey scored it 115-110 for Pacquiao while Guy Jutras of Canada gave Marquez every round, except in the first and eighth. Nevada judge Burt Clements saw it 113-113 to complete the scoring.

While Jutras and Stewart both scored the first round 10-6, HBO analysts Larry Merchant and Emmanuel Stewart found it puzzling why Clements scored it 10-7, the crucial point in the match which could have given Pacquiao the win.

The three judges were unanimous only in five of the 12 rounds, giving Marquez the third, fifth, sixth and 12th rounds while Pacquiao handily won the eighth round 10-9.

"I think I won the fight," said Pacquiao, the "People's Champion," who had a puffy right eye.

The draw stopped Marquez's 13-match winning streak and made his win-loss draw record at 42-2-1. Pacquiao absorbed the second draw of his career. He now has a 38-2-2 record.

Pacquiao revealed in his post-fight interview with Merchant that the foot injury he suffered while in training bothered him starting in the third round. As proof, he showed big blisters on his left foot, main reason why he was less mobile as the fight wore on.

Marquez, who also has a bloodied nose and mouth, was commended for his gallant stand after the first round knockdowns.

Pacquiao looked like he was going to build on the most impressive victory of his career, a punishing 11th-round technical knockout of former champion Marco Antonio Barrera last Nov. 15.

The 25-year-old Filipino used his tremendous speed to startle Marquez in the first round. He drilled Marquez with a straight left to the chin with about 1:25 to go, sending him to the canvas for the first time.

About 20 seconds later, Marquez was dropped for a second time. He went down against the ropes with under 40 seconds left in the round before rising to his feet at the count of six.

But Marquez made it to his corner and began to establish a bit more of a slower pace in the second round, a move that proved beneficial.

Marquez began to score points by countering Pacquiao's left hand with rights to the body and head. By the end of the fifth, he had opened a small gash above Pacquiao's right eye. In the sixth, Marquez had his best round, momentarily stunning Pacquiao with a right hand.

The match adopted unified rules because of the belts at stake.

There were no three knockdown rules and only referee Joe Cortez could have stopped the fight.

Pacquiao said he is up for a rematch and Marquez's camp agreed since the Erik Morales-Carlos Hernandez fight has been given the green light.

A Pacquiao victory would have resulted in a pay-per-view match with Morales in July.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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