The potential $200 million fight was saved by a very slim judges’ call.
Manny Pacquiao defeated Juan Manuel Marquez in yet another excruciatingly close fight, winning a majority decision Saturday before a sellout crowd of 16,368 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena to keep hopes alive for a 2012 match between Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Judge Robert Hoyle had it a draw, 114-114, as did Yahoo! Sports. But judge Dave Moretti favored Pacquiao 115-113 and Glenn Trowbridge had Pacquiao winning 116-112. Thus, Pacquiao retained his World Boxing Organization welterweight title and kept alive a mega-bout against Mayweather.
Upon hearing the decision, Marquez and his team stormed out of the ring.
Mayweather, who routed Marquez by winning every round of a 2009 fight, is the only fighter in the world other than the Filipino congressman with a legitimate claim to boxing’s mythical pound-for-pound top spot.
And after Saturday’s performance, Mayweather may move up regardless.
Pacquiao has had difficulty in three fights with Marquez’s counter-punching style and Saturday was no different. Marquez, who bulked up to 142 pounds, was able to consistently land a straight right hand and keep Pacquiao off-balance.
Pacquiao, who had been on a 14-fight winning streak going into the match, was only able to get his offense untracked in spurts. And unlike the first two bouts, in which he had four knockdowns, Pacquiao was unable to get Marquez onto the floor.