Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez put on two of the greatest fights in recent boxing history.
In 2004, Marquez survived three first-round knockdowns to battle Pacquiao to a stirring draw at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas. On Saturday, the rematch equaled or exceeded the first fight, with Pacquiao pulling out a split decision in another riveting battle.
At the post-fight news conference on Saturday, too many people made fools of themselves to note all of them, but some of the most prominent include Golden Boy chief executive officer Richard Schaefer, Marquez trainer Nacho Beristain, Romanza Boxing promoter Jaime Quintana and Top Rank's Bob Arum.
They whined about the decision and battled over insignificant issues that not only took away from the superb event that had just concluded, but which also cast a pall on the sport.
Schaefer alluded to a late change in judges, as if something nefarious had occurred, when he had to have known all along why the Nevada Athletic Commission 10 days before the bout had pulled out Dick Flaherty and replaced him with Tom Miller.
It turned out that Flaherty was a family friend of Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach. Roach alerted Arum, who informed the commission. The commission then moved Miller from a featherweight title fight he was set to judge into the Pacquiao-Marquez fight and dropped Flaherty down to the featherweight bout in order to avoid even an appearance of impropriety.
But when Schaefer brought up the change, he said it in a conspiratorial manner with the suggestion that it demanded investigation.
Schaefer also came off as a poor loser when he whined about the scoring of HBO's unofficial judge, Harold Lederman, who scored the bout 115-112 for Pacquiao. Schaefer said Lederman never scores a round for a Golden Boy fighter, as if that were the reason Lederman had the fight for Pacquiao.
Schaefer, of course, wasn't apologetic when Golden Boy's Demetrius Hopkins was given a gift decision over Steve Forbes last year, a bout nearly everyone not affiliated with Golden Boy believed Forbes had won handily.
Beristain and Quintana made themselves look like ignorant fools for the second time in three weeks with their rants about the outcome. They each complained about the scoring and the refereeing after the March 1 super bantamweight fight in Carson, Calif., when Marquez' younger brother, Rafael, lost a decision to Israel Vazquez in an outstanding bout.
On Saturday, they alluded to problems between the Marquez brothers and the WBC, as if that had something to do with the scoring. But the judges are not appointed by the WBC and were appointed by the California Athletic Commission and the Nevada Athletic Commission, respectively.
Two of the judges' on Saturday, Las Vegans Duane Ford and Jerry Roth, have been among the world's elite officials for more than two decades. Roth, in my opinion, has been and remains the world's top judge, while Ford is not far behind them.
Ford had the bout 115-112 for Pacquiao. Roth had it 115-112 for Marquez. Though I had Marquez winning by the same score as Roth, this was such a close bout that it was easy to understand how it could have been scored the other way.
The actions of Schaefer, Arum, Beristain and Quintana simply served to denigrate the magnificent event they had promoted.
With that, let's get on to the boxing mailbag, where the questions are nearly all about the result of the Pacquiao-Marquez fight. My answers are, as always, in italics below the questions.
IOLE THE IDIOT
Hey, Iole! Are you an idiot? I dare you to watch a replay of the Pacquiao-Marquez fight from Saturday and see who really won. There was no controversy. Pacquiao showed he is better than Marquez. Pacquiao finished the business clearly. Iole, I hope you can judge fairly again in the future, because this was not controversial.
Zamboanga City, Philippines
I think I must be an idiot for spending a couple of hours or my life wading through emails from gloating Pacquiao fans not commenting intelligently on what happened in the ring but showing their narrow view of the world.
FIGHT AT LIGHTWEIGHT
In a post-fight interview with a Filipino reporter, Pacquiao said he would gladly fight Marquez again, even in the streets. But he said it would have to be at lightweight. Pacquiao's attention is really set on fighting WBC lightweight champion David Diaz in June, so I think another rematch with Marquez would be great if it is scheduled by the end of the year. Pacquiao cannot maintain his current weight, which is why he would rather fight at lightweight. Do you think Marquez will accept Pacquiao's terms?
Marquez would fight Pacquiao at lightweight in a heartbeat, but it's not his call to make. Arum is fixated on putting the rematch off, so it doesn't matter what Marquez thinks. Diaz is a likeable guy and a hard-working fighter, but he's not in Pacquiao's class. The public clearly wants to see Pacquiao-Marquez III. Arum used the eight years between the two Sugar Ray Leonard-Thomas Hearns fights as an example of correctly spacing fights out. But that was one of the injustices of Hearns' great career, that he had to wait eight years to face Leonard again. When they did meet, both men were greatly diminished and not only not near their peaks, but also were less than average fighters. Marquez is 34 and isn't going to be around a lot longer. While Arum's point makes sense in a lot of cases, it doesn't here.
IOLE THE MARQUEZ FAN
Mr. Iole, your scorecard for rounds 5, 6, 7, 8, 11 and 12 seems you favored Marquez over Pacman. Where did you get those scores since Marquez didn't punch with power. You're not a fan of Pacquiao's, obviously.
Well, all three judges scored Rounds 5, 7, 8 and 11 for Marquez, as I did. Two of the three had Round 12 for Marquez, like me. And one of the three had Round 6 for Marquez, like I did. The three judges had the same score in nine of the 12 rounds (Rounds 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10 and 11). I had the same score as the three in eight of those nine rounds, missing only the first. And I was the same as at least two of the three judges in 10 of the 12 rounds. I have no qualms about my score. I scored it as I saw it. And no, to the hundreds of Pacquiao fans who asked, I don't have anything against Pacquiao nor am I a particularly big fan of Marquez.
115-112 for Marquez? Hey, Kevin what fight were you watching? Are you trying to justify your stupid pre-fight prediction of a Marquez victory? That fraud Marquez lost fair and square. In two fights, he was knocked down four times. He can bring his overhyped counter-punching behind back to Indonesia for all I care!
My only regret about any of the rounds I scored was the first. I thought Pacquiao won most of the round, but I gave it to Marquez on the basis of a hard right hand he landed in the final 20 seconds of the round. There were no punches of consequence in Round 1. Given that so much emphasis in pro boxing is on the power of the punches, I switched and give Marquez the round instead of Pacquiao. In hindsight, it was probably a mistake. But even with that switch, my score would have been 114-113. And as I detailed above, I think my card holds up fairly well.
MAKE IT A TRILOGY
I saw the Marquez-Pacquiao rematch and think Marquez should have won. Do you think they should fight again?
From your lips to Bob Arum's ears. I absolutely hope there is an immediate rematch. If there is enough public demand, it can still occur.
Please present the judge's scores so that we can see how they saw it. I am a big boxing fan and I love your articles on them, but I really hope objectivity can be highlighted more by enlightening us with the scores via the official scorecards.
N. Hollywood, Calif.
You can find the judges' cards, as well as my unofficial scorecard, here.
If Manny Pacquiao did fight David Diaz for the WBC lightweight belt, would that mean he has to surrender his recently won WBC super featherweight belt?
Unfortunately, yes. The organizations won't let a man hold both belts simultaneously. If he were to win the lightweight title, he'd have to surrender one of the two belts.
BIASED AGAINST MARQUEZ
It is clear that Juan Manuel Marquez won each of the two fights against Pacquiao. Why don't the judges want him to win?
The judges were not biased against Marquez in either fight. They were extremely close fights and could have gone either way. Bias, on either side, had nothing to do with the result in either fight.
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- Manny Pacquiao
- Juan Manuel Marquez