For years, Juan Manuel Marquez would tell anyone who would listen that he was robbed of victories in both of the bouts he had against Manny Pacquiao – once in 2004, and once in 2008.
Nothing could be further from the truth. In the 2004 match that Marquez and Pacquiao fought to a draw in, it was the latter boxer who was robbed of victory by an incompetent, admittedly wrong judge. Then in 2008, although Marquez put up a spectacular display, there was a case to be made for Pacquiao ultimately emerging victorious from that one.
On Saturday November 12, when Pacquiao and Marquez met for the third and what many assumed would be the final time – Marquez legitimately got robbed.
Following the match, everyone who had scored the bout agreed that it was a close one. Most had Marquez winning by a hair, but enough folks had a draw for that to be a reasonable conclusion as well. What nobody had on their score sheets, however, was what the judges ultimately inexplicably landed on – a clear-cut Pacquiao win.
One judge even went so far as to give it to Pacquiao 116-112, a total that you could only reasonably come to if you had filled out your score sheet before the match had begun.
An understandably irritated Marquez left the ring in disgust as soon as the judges made their soon-to-be infamous, catastrophically awful decision.
For most of the evening, Pacquiao struggled to land anything of significance against his opponent, with most of his blows rarely causing Marquez any pause whatsoever. That all changed with a cut above the latter’s eye late in the fight, but by that point, even if you had Pacquiao winning the final three rounds of the bout, Marquez at the very worst had earned a draw.
Not according to the Mr. Magoo judges, though.
Saturday night’s final outcome was just another black eye for boxing – particularly unfortunate given the exciting nature of the fight that had unfolded. A match everyone expected to be a cakewalk for the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world proved to be something entirely different, and the sport could have greatly benefited had the judges not mucked up the proceedings with their inherent bias and/or blindness to what actually happened.
It’s important to note that Pacquiao does not deserve any blame for this highway robbery. He conducted himself after the fight in the classy manner we’ve come to expect from the People’s Champ, and while he maintained that he deserved the unjustified victory he got, he quickly agreed to a rematch versus Marquez.
"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.
Get ready for part four of this rivalry folks – because tonight’s show all but guaranteed a May 2012 encore.