MANILA, MARCH 19, 2008
(STAR) Dethroned World Boxing Council superfeatherweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez came home to Mexico Sunday, insisting he won the rematch and feeling he was cheated in his fight against Filipino boxing hero Manny Pacquiao at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

“I won the fight because I did the better things in the ring but the judges saw another fight and they gave the win to the Filipino who did not deserve it,” said Marquez through Mexican boxing website

Although he ruled out that the overwhelming odds that favored Pacquiao before the fight had anything to do with the decision of the jury, Marquez felt there was an unseen hand that might have had influenced the judges’ verdict.

“Yes there was a black hand. I do not know if the World Boxing Council was fed up with my brother Rafael and of me,” said Marquez. “The public saw that I won the fight.”

He particularly pointed out the first round of the classic 12-round duel where Pacquiao won on all judges’ card despite Marquez solid showing that saw him land the best punch – a right straight that shook Pacquiao’s head.

“You saw it. Marquez was the better boxer. This is not good for the sport,” said Marquez manager Ignacio Beristain after the fight.

Team Marquez, in fact, dared Pacquiao for a third match with the Golden Boy Promotions immediately offering $6 million for Pacquiao to face Marquez for the last time.

“My fighter is ready for a third fight,” said Beristain. – Abac Cordero

Former WBC exec keen on another showdown By Joaquin Henson Wednesday, March 19, 2008

LAS VEGAS – Former WBC secretary-general Eduardo Lamazon of Argentina said the other day he saw Juan Manuel Marquez the winner by a slim margin over Manny Pacquiao in his personal scorecard but had no qualms accepting the split decision that made the Filipino icon the first Asian to capture three world titles in different divisions.

Lamazon, who served WBC president Jose Sulaiman for 24 years, was on the Mexican TV broadcast panel with legendary fighter Julio Cesar Chavez to provide analysis of the WBC superfeatherweight championship bout.

“I thought Marquez won by two points but I’m not complaining,” he said. “That’s boxing. Judges look at fights differently. What I’d like to happen is a third fight but Marquez can’t wait too long. He’s now 34 (he turns 35 in August). They should fight again before the year is over so Marquez doesn’t get too old for Pacquiao.”

Lamazon said Pacquiao and Marquez were made for each other because they are a contrast in styles. Pacquiao is the ultimate puncher while Marquez is the consummate boxer.

Golden Boy matchmaker Sampson Lewkowicz said whenever fighters like Pacquiao and Marquez face off, there’s bound to be a controversy if the bout goes the distance because some judges credit aggressiveness more than ring generalship while others don’t.

In last Saturday’s match, Marquez played the matador’s role in trying to tame the raging bull that was Pacquiao. The Mexican displayed poise and used a tactical approach in neutralizing the Filipino’s rampaging style but in the end, fell short because of a knockdown he suffered in the third round.

Judge Jerry Roth, 66, awarded eight rounds to Marquez and only four to Pacquiao to score it 115-112 for the defending champion. Judge Duane Ford, 70, gave seven rounds to Pacquiao and had it 115-112. Judge Tom Miller, 48, saw it 114-113 for Pacquiao with both fighters claiming six rounds apiece but the 10-8 count in the third because of the knockdown made the difference.

Although Marquez’ camp has vehemently cried foul over the decision, Lewkowicz admitted Pacquiao deserved to win. Marquez’ manager Jaime Quintana said he was disgusted by the verdict, insisted his boy was robbed and even accused Top Rank chairman Bob Arum of hanky-panky by putting in Miller as a late replacement for original judge Bill Flaherty.

Golden Boy chief executive officer Richard Schaefer demanded a third meeting right away. Little did Shaefer know that his own matchmaker disagreed with him on how he viewed the outcome.

Arum, however, put his foot down as Marquez’ camp raved and ranted in the post-fight press conference. He told the sourgrapers to accept the decision like men.

The HBO TV panel also agreed with the verdict. So did WBC lightweight titlist David Diaz who’s lined up next against Pacquiao. Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Review-Journal said Pacquiao was bloodied but unbowed, adding that “Marquez was the more effective fighter, landing a higher percentage of punches, but Pacquiao withstood the barrage and landed enough to sway the judges.” Carp said Pacquiao’s late surge sealed the deal.

“Pacquiao came out firing in the ninth round and nailed Marquez with a big left,” wrote Carp. “It was more of the same in the 10th as Pacquiao was unloading from all angles but Marquez hung tough.”

Carp quoted Pacquiao as saying, “He moved around a lot more this time and he jabbed a lot more … I thought I was in control but when he cut my eye in the fourth, it made it more difficult for me to see.”

Trainer Freddie Roach conceded that the fight could’ve gone either way.

“It was a close fight but we came back in the end,” said Roach, quoted by Carp. “Manny didn’t cut off the ring the way he should have but Marquez may have had something to do with that.”

A sellout crowd of 11,061 shelled out $3.3 million in gate receipts to set a new record for a Pacquiao fight in an Arum show.

Lamazon said he is now semi-retired, appearing on TV as a boxing analyst and operating an Argentinian restaurant he owns in Mexico City.

Third fight worth more than $6M By Abac Cordero Wednesday, March 19, 2008

LOS ANGELES – Freddie Roach said the Golden Boy Promotions $6 million offer for Manny Pacquiao to do a third fight with Juan Manuel Marquez is not a perfect bait, stressing it’s too small compared to the purse the Filipino champion earned in winning the WBC (World Boxing Council) crown via split decision in Las Vegas Saturday.

“We already got $5.5 million for this fight. So, it should be a little higher than that,” Roach said of Pacquiao’s guaranteed purse, which does not include his share on the pay-per-view sales, ticket sales, closed-circuit and merchandise.

And even if both camps come to terms to complete a trilogy, Roach said Marquez will have to wait a little longer because the cut Pacquiao sustained will not heal easily.

“It’s a large cut,” said Roach Monday afternoon as he attended to his business at the Wild Card Gym where Pacquiao trained for eight full weeks in preparation for the classic rematch with Marquez.

Roach said the cut, which needed stitches in two different layers, inside and out, should heal after six to eight weeks. And this might just eliminate the possibility of Pacquiao fighting for three times this year or returning to the ring in June.

Regardless of who the opponent would be.

Then Pacquiao drove in, driving his all-black convertible, a 2007 Mercedes SL550, and paid Roach, and everyone else at the gym, a visit. It’s been customary for Pacquiao to visit the gym a day or two after a fight.

There, without the usual deluge of fans, Pacquiao and Roach had a few moments together. They must have pondered on their next move, whether to accept a third fight with Marquez or face someone else.

Pacquiao can choose to defend his WBC super-featherweight title against Marquez, and once and for all finish their unfinished business, or challenge WBC lightweight champion David Diaz at a heavier weight of 135 lbs.

Pacquiao and Roach are both open to the idea of a third fight with Marquez.

They even had their picture taken, with both of them flashing three fingers. They may be referring to a third fight with Marquez, or the third world title Pacquiao had won.

Or it’s both.

“Basta kami ni Marquez, kahit sampung beses maglaban payag ako (If it’s me and Marquez, we can fight even 10 times),” said Pacquiao, who came in sneakers, jeans, blue shirt and dark shades.

He was trying to hide the nasty cut over his right eye, sustained in the eighth round when the Mexican caught him with a perfect right straight. It was the best punch landed by Marquez in the brutal, 12-round encounter.

Pacquiao won it by the slimmest of margins, with one judge going for him, another for Marquez, and the third, last-minute replacement Tom Miller, winning it for the Filipino by a single point, 114-113.

The knockdown scored by Pacquiao very late in the third round might have decided the outcome of the very close fight that could’ve gone either way.

Roach was asked if he was ready for a third fight with Marquez.

“I think so. But we may have to wait until July. We may have to wait a little longer for Manny’s cut to heal,” said Roach, who thought Marquez suffered an even deeper cut than Pacquiao’s.

“Yeah, I think he sported a bigger cut,” said Roach, meaning Marquez should also need six to eight weeks for it to heal, before thinking of facing Pacquiao, and start training for a third fight with the Filipino champion.

Pacquiao said it’s up to his promoter, Bob Arum of Top Rank, to work out his next fight, whether it’s Marquez, Diaz or even WBA super-featherweight champion Edwin Valero of Venezuela.

“I’ve never ran away from a fight,” said Pacquiao.

Yes, he never did. And he never will.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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