LAS VEGAS — Long after his rival, Juan Manuel Marquez, had come and gone, and his chief cornerman, five-time Trainer of the Year, Freddie Roach, had addressed the media, Manny Pacquiao entered a packed, post-fight press conference to do the same on Saturday night at the MGM Grand.
Perhaps an hour earlier, in the nearby Grand Garden Arena of the hotel, the 32-year-old Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KOs) had been the beneficiary of a dubious majority decision over the 38-year-old Marquez (53-6-1, 39 KOs) in the third fight of what has been a thrilling trilogy.
Rated No. 1 pound-for-pound in THE RING, Pacquiao received the nod over the RING’s No. 5-rated pound-for-pound Marquez for his 15th consecutive victory from official ringside judges Glenn Trowbridge and Dave Moretti by scores of 116-112 and 115-113, respectively, while Robert Hoyle called it even at 114-114.
“Nevada has great judges. They’re professionals. One judge called it even. The other two gave it to us. I thought that we squeezed it out the last two rounds, but it was a very close win,” said Roach.
“This one might have been the closest of the three, but I thought that Manny pulled it out in the last two rounds. If we hadn’t won that last round I thought that it might go the other way.”
So angered was the crowd by the announced verdict, that its boos drowned out Pacquiao’s in-the-ring, post-fight interview with HBO’s Max Kellerman.
“I’m sure that a lot of Mexicans here thought that Marquez won the fight,” said Roach. “But we have professional judges and they scored the fight the way that they scored it.”
Wearing a large, white strip of bandage tape over some 28 stitches to close a gash over his right eye, Pacquiao struggled for words before the large gathering of international media.
“The expectations of the people is not…you know what I mean…the fight is not that…it’s just the fact that…,” said said Pacquiao. “But it’s very clear that I won the fight. But you know, that’s part of the game.”
Marquez had vowed to defeat Pacquiao this time, relying on the counterpunching style which had given Pacquiao so much trouble in their previous two fights.