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Pacquiao wins disputed decision

Manny Pacquiao
Maria Aragon
Thia Megia
Young Manny at the beginning of his boxing career, 106 pounds

LAS VEGAS ­– Manny Pacquiao successfully defended his WBO welterweight title against Juan Manuel Marquez of Mexico in a hotly disputed majority decision at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday, November 12.

In the final rounds, Marquez fought conservatively as his trainer, Nacho Beristain regularly assured him he was winning. And while Marquez matched the champion almost punch for punch, Pacquiao was more often the aggressor and this might have been the factor that tipped the scale in his favour with the judges. Judge Robert Hoyle scored the fight a draw at 114 while judge Glen Trowbridge ruled it 116-112 and judge Dave Moretti had it 115-113, both in favour of Pacquiao.

Upon learning the judge’s decisions, Marquez left the ring in disgust before the results were announced to the audience.

“I was robbed. They robbed me. I don’t know what I need to do to convince the judges. I am very frustrated,” said Marquez afterwards.

Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum cited the CompuBox statistics, which showed his man ahead in punches thrown, 578 to 436 and in punches landed, 176 to 138.

“Not only was this fight not definitive, none of the rounds were definitive. I realized throughout that this was close and when every round is close people have a tendency to give it in favour of their guy,” said Arum.

Filipino politicians and fans feared “a lynching”

The Marquez fans at the MGM did indeed agree with their hero, pelting the ring with cans, bottles and other garbage after the verdict. Even members of the Philippine House of Representatives who attended the match were not exempt from the wrath of the angry fans. Samar Representative Ben Evardone said he thought he and his companions were going to be lynched before former Negros Oriental Representative Jacinto Paras stepped in to calm things down Evardone and one Mexican fan.

According to Manila Representative Amado Bagatsing, Paras intervened when he saw a burly man trying to get something from the bag of a female companion.

“It could be a knife or any weapon but it was clear that he was infuriated at Congressman Evardone cheering Pacquiao,” Bagatsing said.

The three solons reported that many Filipinos they talked to, including fellow officials, felt intimidated by the Mexicans who yelled and cursed at the Pacquiao team after the fight.

“We have to accept the disappointment of the Mexican fans but that is part of the game. It was close but it was clear to me that I won the fight,” said Pacquiao.

Maria Aragon sings anthem

Wearing a pink terno, Winnipeg’s own YouTube phenomenon, Maria Aragon, opened the main card event with her performance of the Lupang Hinirang before the crowd of over 15,000 at the MGM Grand and millions more on pay-per-view television. Manny Pacquiao himself chose Aragon to sing the Philippine national anthem. Before going to Las Vegas, Aragon said she visited the National Historical Commission during her recent visit to the Philippines to make sure that she followed the anthem’s original lyric and march tempo.

Former American Idol finalist Thia Megia sang the American national anthem.

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