Manny Pacquiao secured a narrow victory over underdog Juan Manuel Marquez on Saturday night in their welterweight title fight, an outcome that has been shrouded in controversy and will likely impact the likelihood of a matchup between Pacquia and Floyd Mayweather Jr.
One ringside judge had it a 114-114 draw, while two others favored Pacquiao by 115-113 and 116-112. Pacquiao and Marquez had faced each other twice before, and Saturday’s fight lacked none of the ferocity of the previous bouts. At the end of 12 rounds, to the dismay of the crowd, who booed and jeered, Pacquiao was announced the winner. Once again, Marquez had lost a close fight.
Columnist Bill Dwyre writes in the Los Angeles Times:
“The usual chat about the integrity of boxing will now begin in full volume. So much was at stake. Had Pacquiao lost, the pot of gold at the end of boxing's rainbow, the Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr. matchup, would have gone away, at least for the moment. Pacquiao would have, most likely, invoked a rematch clause with Marquez that was in the contract.
So, once again, it appears that Pacquiao-Mayweather will be put on hold. And, because since Mayweather dominated Marquez in their 2009 fight, the attraction for that mega-fight may have modified a bit.”
A subdued Marquez said to the Associated Press following the fight, “I got robbed. I don't know what else I can do to win."
In reality, it may not be the end of their long-waged rivalry, according to Pacquiao’s camp. His promoter, Bob Arum, said he spoke with Pacquiao, who said he won the fight outright and would be game for a rematch with Marquez.
"If we can get both fighters to agree, we'll put it on May 5,” Arum said, according to the Los Angeles Times report.
Last week Arum said he wouldn't consider discussing a Pacquiao-Mayweather bout until after Saturday's welterweight title fight.