By DAVID CASUCO
THE SIN CITY was full of abominations Saturday night on Nov. 12.
Incensed by the controversial ring decision that saw their boxing hero Juan Manual Marquez, holding the short end of the stick, Mexican boxing fans instantaneously turned menacingly loud and rowdy, chanting â€œMarquez, Marquezâ€ inside and around the MGM Garden Arena.
Unable to direct their angry protest to the people who judged the Manny Pacquiao-Marquez fight, a few highly-charged Latino fans vented their ire upon the Filipinos inside the casino. Emotions ran high with heated arguments and near-fisticuffs happening as the fans were making their way out from the Garden Arena.
Boy Vallecera of Los Angeles almost came to blows with a group of young Latinos who were hovering around him, taunting him with their thumbs down sign.Â Vallecera, who proudly wrapped himself with a Philippine flag, was with his two friends, and were about ready to respond to an instant free-for-all boxing melee.Â The timely appearance of a casino security officer promptly diffused the combustions.
â€œThey are stupid. They think that because I am holding a Philippine flag I had something to do with the judgesâ€™ decision,â€ said a visibly irked Vallecera, jestingly adding, â€œThey could have tasted my own version of the vaunted left-right-left Pacman combination.â€
And as the screaming Mexican fans, some of them tipsy or intoxicated, spilled out from the MGM Grand casino area, Marquez, the vanquished Mexican prizefighter, was inside the Media Center addressing a multitude of sportswriters from all over the world, telling them that he was robbed again of a clear victory.
Marquez delivered his post-fight thoughts thru a translator:
â€œGood night to everyone. I am happy for my performance tonight. Honestly, I do not know how to change the mind of the judges, but we (members of my camp) are very happy about my performance. What we need to do is sit down with my family and with my camp and make a decision what to do with the sports, or just retire from the sports;
â€œI would like to thank all the people who came to the arenaâ€¦we also beat him to the other ends (as) there were more Latinos than Filipinos who came to support us;
â€œI would like to tell you that, yes, it could happen. It was done. Like what the people have seen. Yes we won. Yes we won. Only the three judges did not see that we won. I think I won this fight more clearly. I just donâ€™t know what happened, why the judges did not give it to meâ€¦â€
Would you accept a fourth fight with Pacquiao?
I donâ€™t know right now. Everybody knows what happened.Â I feel very happy for this action.
Why consider retirement?
â€œHonestly, the result of the fight is the thing that makes me think this retirement. I prepared myself so hard, and what do I get? The judges saw it was not enough.â€
Will you file a protest with the WBO?
â€œI am not gonna do that. I donâ€™t think it is correct. They will get mad if I protest. I really believe that (even) if I dropped him, they will still have him win the fightâ€¦ I am very frustrated right now;
â€œFor me the best judge is the audience. I connected solid punches the last time we fought, but this night I connected more; but the judges did not respond in my favor. I was adjusting my style every single round differently. I feel so good in this weight. I feel that he was a lot stronger in the last two fights.
Pacquiao tells doubters: Not every victory lopsided
Meanwhile, Filipino boxing champ Manny Pacquiao defended Monday his controversial majority decision win, saying not every victory in the ring will be easy. â€œSiguro nasanay lang siguro ang ibang kababayan natin na laging panalo na one-sided. Siyempre hindi naman parating ganun. Mananalo tayo pero by close fight. Kailangan alam natin yun na kasama sa boxing yun. Hindi lahat ng panalo ko madadali (Maybe some of our countrymen are used to victories that are one-sided. Of course that wonâ€™t happen all the time. We will win but some are close fights. We should know that thatâ€™s part of boxing. Not all of my victories are easy.)â€ he said.
Pacquiao said he didnâ€™t expect Marquez to keep moving backwards during the bout, waiting for the attack so he could counterpunch.
Persistent leg cramps also hindered the Filipino boxerâ€™s movement during the match.
â€œIt doesnâ€™t always hurt. I am not sure if it is over training. I trained 10 weeks for this week. My foot really hurt so my balance, my footwork was really gone,â€ he said in Tagalog.
â€œI just thank God that I won,â€ he added.
Despite the difficulties, the boxing champ said he still believes he won the fight after watching a replay of the match.
He said he did not immediately raise his hand after the fight because he went to his corner to pray, as is his usual custom after every bout.
Pacquiao said he is willing to give Marquez a rematch anytime but will not challenge the Mexican after defeating him in their last 2 bouts.
â€œGusto ko pa rin makalaban kung gusto niya…Pangit naman kung ako pa ang maghamon,â€ he said.
He added that he would be willing to face undefeated boxing champ Floyd Mayweather Jr., hopefully by May 2012.
Meanwhile, the immediate prospect of a long awaited mega-fight between American Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Pacquiao seemed to recede after the Filipinoâ€™s controversial majority decision over Marquez at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Pacquiao had been widely expected to win his third fight against the Mexican in convincing style but the nail-biting outcome, ruled by one of the three judges as a draw, persuaded his trainer to consider a fourth meeting between the fighters.
Freddie Roach, a shrewd tactician who has been uncannily accurate with his fight predictions, had forecast a Pacquiao victory well inside the distance on Saturday and he was amazed to be so far off the mark.
â€œI was very surprised,â€ Pacquiaoâ€™s trainer said. â€œI had predicted my fighter would win in six rounds and I was way off. It was a very competitive fight and it could have gone either way.
â€œI thought Manny edged it out in the last two rounds. It was the kind of fight I donâ€™t want to do again but I think we have to.
â€œHe (Marquez) has given us problems three times now and he is very good at what he does. I do think he deserves a re-match first.â€
Pacquiao, who clinched his 15th successive win by beating Marquez on Saturday, was happy to take on the Mexican for a fourth time while he also laid down the gauntlet to Mayweather.
Asked if he would consider a fourth bout with Marquez, the Filipino southpaw replied: â€œAny time, any time. I am a fighter and my job is to fight in the ring.â€
As for Mayweather, he said: â€œWell, letâ€™s get it on. Make the fight happen and letâ€™s give the people a good fight.â€
A duel between the defence-minded Mayweather and the aggressive Pacquiao, the two biggest drawcards of their generation, would decide the mythical title of the worldâ€™s best pound-for-pound fighter.
Five-division world champion Mayweather had been expected to meet Pacquiao last year until negotiations collapsed over the Americanâ€™s demand for random drug testing.
American Shane Mosley then stepped in to take the Filipinoâ€™s place but he was outclassed by Mayweather in a non-title welterweight bout.
Mayweather improved his perfect professional record to 42-0 by claiming the WBC welterweight title from compatriot Victor Ortiz in September and Roach has long eyed the chance for Pacquiao to take on the unbeaten American.
â€œI hope that fight does happen,â€ the bespectacled Roach told Reuters. â€œI think it would be the best fight in the world and I would love to see it.
â€œMayweather is a very good defensive fighter and heâ€™s a very good counter puncher. Itâ€™s not an easy fight, I know that, but I look forward to challenges and he is the biggest challenge out there for us.â€ (with reports from MNS and Rod Mijares))
Marquez, who was outclassed by Mayweather over 12 rounds in a non-title welterweight bout two years ago, felt Pacquiao would struggle against the American.
â€œCommercially speaking it would be a huge fight but boxing is about styles and the style of Mayweather will get very complicated for Pacquiao,â€ the Mexican said.
Pacquiao, however, has won world titles in an unprecedented eight weight divisions to cement his status in the eyes of many as the best pound-for-pound boxer.