Manny Paquiao (46-3-2, 34 KOs), of General Santos City, Philippines, and his country’s No. 1 boxing hero, battled it out with Manuel Marquez (48-4-1, 35 KOs) from Mexico City, Mexico. They fought a 12-round WBC and Ring magazine featherweight title bout. The fight, held on Sat. March 15, before a crowd of over 11,000 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on the Las Vegas Strip, had boxing fans on their feet.
It was a true battle between two champion fighters and resulted in a much closely scored fight than the prior one in 2004. The crowd favorite, Paquiao, won in a surprise split decision following a solid performance by both contenders.
Pacquiao scored a third-round knockdown with a right jab and a left to Marquez’s chin.
This was a major point of Paquiao winning the championship away from defender Marquez.
Marquez, on the other hand, scored effective punches, especially in the fifth and sixth rounds.
In round 7, Paquiao then scored a powerful left hook to Marquez, who had a cut over his left eye from an earlier head butt. Marquez came back in the eighth round, reopening the cut over Paquiao’s right eye from the fourth round. Marquez also delivered some hard body blows hurting his opponent in the same round.
But in the ninth and 10th rounds, Pacquiao regrouped scoring a strong left to Marquez, continuing the action through the end of the 10th round.
Judge Duane Ford scored it 115-112, while Tom Miller had it 114-113 both for Paquiao. Jerry Roth, however scored it 115-112 for Marquez.
A humble Paquiao stated, “It was a tough fight. I wasn’t sure I was ahead, but I always treat the final round as the most important.”
Marquez did not see the scoring that way. “I feel I am still champion,” he said. “It’s not about one round. I connected with more punches, more jabs, and I feel like I won.”
When Paquiao was asked if he would fight Marquez for a third time, he said exhaustedly, “I don’t think so. This business is over.”
And over it is, as Pacquiao will now move up a weight class to fight David Diaz for the WBC lightweight title, yet unscheduled, but anticipated for later this year.
The promoters, Top Rank and Golden Boy, provided yet again another stupendous night of sports broadcast on HBO for fans worldwide.