Originally created 05/10/04

Marquex, Pacquiao may do it all over again



LAS VEGAS -- Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao gave themselves a tough act to follow with a thrilling featherweight title fight that had multiple knockdowns, lots of blood and even a little bit of controversy.

Assuming promoter Bob Arum gets his way, they'll soon be doing it again.

"After a fight like that you have to have a rematch," Arum said.

Marquez kept his WBA and IBF 126-pound titles Saturday night, escaping with a draw after being knocked down three times in an opening round it didn't appear he would make it out of.

He did, though, then dominated Pacquiao much of the rest of the way to get an improbable draw in a bout that figures to be a candidate for the fight of the year.

"I don't need a rematch, but if everybody wants it let's go," Marquez said.

Both fighters claimed victory after the fight, and both were angry that the judges didn't see it their way. Pacquiao, his face swollen, battered and blue, even cried during a television interview with a Filipino station just after the fight.

Pacquiao's camp threatened to file a protest over the decision, after one of the three judges said he erred in giving Pacquiao the first round by a 10-7 margin instead of the 10-6 score the other two judges had.

Nevada Athletic Commission executive director Marc Ratner, though, said it was a judgment call and that the round could have been scored either way.

Judge Burt Clements scored the fight 113-113. If he would have given Pacquiao the first round by the wider margin, Pacquiao would have won a split decision.

Clements later told the Las Vegas Review-Journal he was under the impression he couldn't give a 10-6 round, an impression Ratner said was in error.

Controversy aside, the fight was so good that the crowd at the MGM Grand hotel didn't boo the draw after 12 hard-fought rounds that left both fighters bloodied and marked around their faces.

Judge John Stewart scored it 115-110 for Pacquiao, while Guy Jutras had it 114-110 in favor of Marquez. The Associated Press scored it 113-113, the same as Clements.

"I should have won the fight. I'm disappointed," Pacquiao said.

Marquez looked as if he wasn't going to get off the canvas after the third knockdown in the first round, but got on his feet at the count of eight and lasted the final few seconds of the round.

From then on, he was a different fighter, counter punching effectively and piling up the rounds even as blood poured from his nose.

"In the first round I got careless and got hit with a right hand," Marquez said. "I was disoriented after the first round, but once I got over that I thought I controlled the fight."

Pacquiao, cheered on by a large Filipino contingent, said he thought he would knock Marquez out in the first round "but there wasn't enough time." Pacquiao was cut over his left eye in the sixth round, and his face was swollen and his eye closed after the fight.

"I thought I won, I didn't think it was close," Pacquiao said. "I thought I took his fight away from him."

By the final round, the three knockdowns were but a distant memory as Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach, told him he had to win the final round.

The fighters then put on a show to end the fight before hugging each other as the final bell sounded.

Ringside punch stats showed Marquez landed 158 of 547 punches to 148 of 639 for Pacquiao.