The official scores were 114-114, 116-112, 115-113 for Manny Pacquiao over Juan Manuel Marquez but the sellout crowd in Las Vegas disagreed. According to the twitter accounts of many boxing writers at ringside - the fight was basically split down the middle. Those in attendance booed the decision loudly and Pacquiao's body language after the fight was not one of a winner. Pac Man, the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, never seemed to get into a groove. It was a very close fight -- and at times a brilliant one -- but this blog scored it 115-113 for Marquez.
Pacquiao has dominated Oscar de la Hoya, Miguel Cotto, Antonio Margarito, Shane Mosley and others over recent years. But this is the third time he has fought Marquez and for the third time the decision was disputed. The first fight ended in a draw and Pac Man won a split decision in the second bout.
It would be very difficult to convince most observers that Pacquiao won eight rounds of that fight, as one judge had it. Marquez demonstrated a superior technical skill. Pac Man, to his credit, never stopped moving forward, never stopped pressing the fight. But it appeared Marquez's style was more effective than Pacquiao's substance.
Jim Lampley and Emanuel Steward have missed the point by saying that Marquez was conservative in the final round. That's if you believed Marquez needed that round to win. Many did not. Marquez fought the same even and sharp fight for the entire 12 rounds.
Live blog, below:
The main event is about to start. A very nice tribute to Joe Frazier going on right now. Up next, Manny Pacquiao defends his WBO welterweight title against Juan Manuel Marquez.
Here's our live blog:
Three national anthems and a highlight reel of the first two Pacquiao-Marquez fights. We are finally ready for the main event.
Round 1: A very close round. Not a whole lot happened. Pac Man lands a few clean left hands to take the round. JMM looks a little tentative. 10-9 Pac Man.
Round 2: A good round for JMM. He landed some nice combinations. He's feeling his way into the fight. 10-9 JMM. 19-19.
Round 3: They fought 24 great rounds, and three so-so rounds thus far. Still very close. Both fighters are cautious. JMM lands the sharper punches. Pac Man using a lot of energy and movement, but not landing much. 10-9 JMM. 29-28, JMM.
Round 4: I still like the way JMM is fighting. He's cleaner. Landing crisper punches. Pac Man is herky, jerky, which is nothing new. Still JMM looks better. 10-9 JMM. 39-37, JMM.
Round 5: Best round of the fight. Great exchanges at the close of the round. Pac Man lands some hard shots, but JMM answers well. 10-9, JMM. 49-46, JMM.
Round 6: Another fantastic round. Marquez is the technically superior fighter right now. Pac Man is sheer aggression. I give that to Pac Man slightly. 10-9, Pac Man. 58-56 JMM.
Round 7: These are difficult rounds to score. Marquez super sharp. Nailing Pac Man with right hands. Pac Man always moving forward but JMM landing cleaner punches. 10-9 JMM, 68-65, JMM
Round 8: Tough rounds to score. Pac Man gets that rounds just on pressure. 10-9, Pac Man, 77-75 JMM
Round 9: Great round. Incredible exchanges. JMM is technically proficient but Pac Man just outhustled him. 10-9 Pac Man. 86-85, JMM.
Round 10: Pac Man cut over right eye. Seems like it's bothering him. JMM gets the round. 10-9, JMM. 96-94, JMM.
Round 11: JMM tiring. Still round very close. 10-9, Pac Man. 105-104, JMM
Round 12: Neither fighter does much in round 12. Despite HBO showing a replay of a Pac Man left hand as the only significant punch of the round, JMM lands at least 2 clean right hands. I give it to JMM. 10-9, JMM. 115-113, JMM.