Sports

May 2012: Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez

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It lands on Bob Arum, Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez to make right what two out of three incompetent judges got very wrong on Saturday night.

Heading into Pacquiao vs. Marquez III, few expected to see what would ultimately ended up happening. Pacquiao was regarded as a heavy favorite by every odds maker, pundit and fan in the land, and most conversations revolved around when not if the Filipino champion would be able to knock out his opponent.

That’s why matches aren’t fought on paper.

Showing the heart of a lion, Marquez legitimately dominated for large portions of his third match-up against Pacquiao, easily making the case for himself having potentially won nearly every round up until the 10th. At that point, as he typically has throughout his career, Pacquiao dug deep and found a way to close out the fight strong.

Pacquiao clearly won both the 10th and 11th rounds, and the case could be made that he also won the 12th, even thought that one is sort of open to debate.

No matter how you scored the end of that bout, though, it was clear that -- by virtue of his strong beginning -- Marquez had earned at the very least a draw. At the very least.

Except, that's not what happened.

When it was all said and done, Glenn Trowbridge had it 116-112. Dave Moretti had it 115-113 and Robert Hoyle had it 114-114.

Two out of three judges deemed Pacquiao the winner.

Understandably, Marquez left the ring in disgust upon the announcement, and fans responded angrily by throwing various foods and drinks towards the ring. The reaction was not lost on Pacquiao and Arum.

“It was a great, great fight. I had Manny, but it was close, so why not bring them together again in May? It makes a lot of sense to do that,” Arum told Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports after the match.

Pacquiao was similarly agreeable to the prospect of a rematch.

“I feel I won the fight. It was close but I won. The headbutts hurt me. Yes I want to give him a rematch,” he said afterward.

During his post-fight news conference, Marquez seemed oddly detached from what had transpired. Even though the opportunity to avenge what was clearly a horribly-called loss was seemingly within grasp, he admitted that he was mulling retirement. He seemed crushed that after such a lengthy and storied career, he still couldn’t command enough respect from the judges to garner a fair call.

You have to chalk that up to emotions going haywire following a big match, though. Marquez is a warrior, always has been, always will be. It’s hard to envision him walking away from a big pay day and the opportunity to prove, once and for all, that he is better than his biggest rival.

Sorry, Floyd Mayweather – you’ll have to wait your turn for a ticket to the big dance. Marquez earned his big money fight.

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