Paquiao's Victory is Boxing's Defeat

by John Wight - The way in which Mexico's Juan Manuel Marquez was denied the victory that his outstanding performance against Manny Pacquiao at the MGM in Las Vegas merited last weekend has shamed the sport and insulted the intelligence of the fans that are its lifeblood.

Over 12 rounds of boxing Marquez at the age of 38 proved again that he has the Filipino legend's number. An exemplary display of counterpunching at times left Pacquaio bereft of ideas as he continued pressing hoping to land his most potent weapon, his left hand. However, utilising superb footwork to continually change the distance while moving off to his left, Marquez succeeded in nullifying both his opponent's much vaunted handspeed and power. Time after time Pacquiao's head was snapped back as he ate right hand after right hand, which combined with his inability to land clean shots on an opponent who'd clearly done his homework.

Britain's Amir Khan, Pacquaio's friend, sparring partner and stablemate, was commentating ringside. By the championship rounds even he was lamenting the Filipino's inability to get to grips with his opponent's counterpunching. Freddie Roach in Pacquaio's corner was forced into exhorting his fighter by the ninth to dig deeper as he was trailing behind..

At the final bell, Pacquaio immediately dropped and shook his head as he returned to his corner in an unequivocal admission of defeat, while Marquez rightly raised his arms aloft in celebration as the crowd voiced its appreciation of an outstanding and historic victory.

Minutes later it was Pacquaio's arm raised by the referee after the judges' scores were read out. Manny Pacquiao was declared the winner.

Rarely has such an injustice been witnessed in the ring. Pacquaio's promoter, Bob Arum, almost immediately trailed the desirability of a rematch. Pacquaio himself appeared stunned, like an actor onstage who's suddenly forgotten his lines. He knew and still knows in his heart that he lost this fight, as does his trainer Freddie Roach.

Both have deserved reputations for honesty and straight shooting in a sport notable for the lack of both. Yet at the post fight press conference, Manny stood up in front of the mic and declared that he'd clearly won the fight. He did so in a voice that was laced with doubt, as if speaking words that were chosen for him rather than by him. Coming from a man whose humility and desire to inspire and help the impoverished back in his own country had leant him a nobility rarely seen in professional sports, it was a crushing disappointment. He could have come clean and given Marquez his rightful place as the winner. Doing so would have endeared him not only to his legion of fans but to a world starved of heroes with the courage to be just.

In life every man is tested. There comes a time when he arrives at a fork in the road and is forced to choose between the difficult path of honour and integrity and the easy path of short term advantage. Sadly, Manny Pacquiao along with his camp and promoter chose the latter last Saturday night. Such moral turpitude diminishes all who love boxing and all who believe in justice.

Juan Manuel Marquez defeated Manny Pacquiao at the MGM in Las Vegas last Saturday night. Regardless of the stats that have been rolled out, it is a truth that cannot be denied.

Those judges who scored the fight otherwise should hang their heads in shame.

Article posted on 17.11.2011

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