Pacquiao – Marquez IV is on!!!

September 15, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Boxing News 

According to Dan Rafael of espn.com, Manny Pacquiao will take on Juan Manuel Marquez for a fourth battle on December 8th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

“Because the economics for the Marquez fight were so much greater than for a Bradley rematch, that is what Manny decided to do,” said promoter Bob Arum. “It’s so much greater because of the support Marquez has from the Hispanic community. Look at the past numbers. When Pacquiao fought Marquez (in November), it sold close to 1.3 million pay-per-view. Bradley was about 900,000. That’s a big difference. Plus, the gate goes from probably $8 million to $12 million.”

“Manny knew I would prefer Bradley,” said Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach. “I think the money was a huge factor. Bradley doesn’t bring the people Marquez does. But I would have rather had revenge for that bad decision in June.”

Roach said because of the controversial nature of the three previous fights between Pacquiao and Marquez, especially their fight in November, that Pacquiao would start out “down three rounds on the scorecards. Judges are human. They know what happened before. Maybe the judges will be thinking Marquez was robbed last time and they’re human, and they will give Marquez the benefit of the doubt.

“But Manny picked Marquez, and that’s who we will get ready for. It’s about time we have a good knockout anyway.”

“We had to work it out, work out the money and then (Marquez promoter) Fernando (Beltran) had to close with Marquez because he had only talked generally with Marquez about the deal,” Arum said. “But we couldn’t close anything until Marquez got here (Thursday).”

“There is no sanctioning organization title involved,” Arum said. “We’re going to give that money to charity.”

Judah eyeing Marquez fight for July 14

May 6, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Boxing News 


According to Dan Rafael of espn.com former Jr. Welterweight & welterweight champion Zab Judah is in the running to secure a July 14 showdown with Juan Manuel Marquez at Cowboys Stadium.

“It’s a fight I have campaigned for,” said Judah, who is from Brooklyn, N.Y., but lives in Las Vegas and has been around the media center this week. “This is a fight I wanted a couple of years ago and I still want it. I want him. He fought Floyd Mayweather and never touched him and he got dropped. I can do that, too.”

Main Events promoter Kathy Duva, who promotes Judah, told ESPN.com that Top Rank chief Bob Arum has contacted her about Judah.

“I’ve been having discussions with Bob for the past 24 hours,” she said Friday. “But the deal is not done. Obviously, we’d love to do it. I think it’s a saleable fight, a terrific fight. These guys are both big names, so we would love to do it and it’s not a complicated deal to make.”

“He really wants the fight,” she said. “But Bob hasn’t made us an offer yet. He’s exploring what it would take to make the fight, but I know we can make it if this is the fight they want to do. Bob knows that Zab is available, so we are talking about it.”

“It’s a fight that makes sense,” Judah said. “Marquez wants a fourth fight with Manny Pacquiao. I want a fight with Manny Pacquiao, too. The winner should get Pacquiao.”

QUOTES FROM JUNIOR WELTERWEIGHT MAURICIO “EL MAESTRO” HERRERA

April 11, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Boxing News 

Los Angeles (April 11) – This Saturday, April 14, from the Mandalay Casino in Las
Vegas a junior welterweight collision will erupt between Mauricio Herrera and Mike
Alvarado LIVE on HBO Pay-Per-View, beginning at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT. (SRP $44.95)
as part of the telecast that will feature Juan Manuel Marquez versus Sergey Fedchenko
for the interim WBO Jr. welterweight championship, and Brandon Rios versus Richard
Abril for the interim WBA lightweight championship.

QUOTES

Mauricio Herrera:

A lot of people didn’t expect me to be where I’m at today but I put in a lot of
hard work. I fought tough guys in the past, put in a hard 8 weeks of training and
this is it for me. I was a late bloomer.
This is it for me. I’m ready for a big fight like this. A lot of hard work went
into my preparation and I have waited a long time to finally face one of the best
to prove myself and to show the world who Mauricio Herrera is. I am ready and I
will perform.
Alvarado is a tough challenger and he showed it on all his fights but I am more
than ready for him.Mike Alvarado has a lot of heart and that’s going to make for
a good fight on Saturday April 14th.

This is it for me, I’m ready and I hope he’s ready.

Mike Alvarado:

This is going to be a great card, There’s a lot of great talent on this card. I
trained hard for this fight and it’s one of the best camps I’ve ever had so I’m
ready.

I’m ready to put on a good show like I always do and I hope Mauricio can swim because
I’m taking him to deep waters.

Thompson Boxing Promotions’ General Manager and Matchmaker
Alex Camponovo introduces Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera

Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera makes his final comments about his upcoming fight
against Mike Alvarado

Mike “Mile High” Alvarado poses with Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera one final time
before Friday’s official weigh in.

A pensive Mauricio pauses before answering questions from the media.

The Mike Alvarado vs. Mauricio Herrera bout is promoted by Top Rank in association
with Thompson Boxing Promotions. The Marquez/Rios world championship event is promoted
by Top Rank, in association with Zanfer Promotions, Tecate and AT&T, remaining tickets
priced at $250, $150, $100, $50 and $25, not including applicable service charges,
are available at all Ticketmaster locations (select Smith’s Food and Drug Centers
and Ritmo Latino). To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Mandalay Bay
at (877) 632-7400 or Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. Tickets also will be available

Marquez fights for a deserved rematch that looks unlikely

April 6, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Boxing News 


By Norm Frauenheim
The good news is that Juan Manuel Marquez will forego retirement. His tactical skill is an ongoing example of how a master craftsman never lets his attention stray from detail. He counters chaos with smarts. Marquez is a lesson for young prospects, old writers and just about anybody else with a job to do.

The bad news is that Marquez’ decision to fight on is more perilous than promising in his quest for a fourth fight with Manny Pacquiao.

“The main reason for me to continue is that I want a rematch with Manny,’’ Marquez said Wednesday in conference call for his April 14 fight with Sergey Fedchenko in Mexico City. “…I think I won the last fight.’’

So do a lot of other people, including the one seated in this corner. Marquez was a 115-113 winner here and on many other unofficial scorecards last November at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand. But the crowd that argued for Marquez and against Pacquiao’s escape with a majority decision has moved on, or back to where it has been all along.

Talk about Pacquiao-versus-Floyd Mayweather Jr. covers the sport like perpetual smog. It just won’t clear. Leave it to someone else to condemn the speculative pollution or decide whether the fight will ever happen. While you’re at it, leave me some nausea medicine. It’s sickening, but it’s there, nonetheless. It was there all over again Wednesday.

“I have to be realistic about this,’’ said Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum, who has the Filipino Congressman in tough on June 9 against Tim Bradley. “I don’t think that Mayweather will be available in the fall to fight Manny. He certainly doesn’t indicate that he wants to fight Manny. I think everyone would be better off if we thought about that fight for next year. But everything is open. First of all, Manny has a really tough fight with Bradley and secondly, everybody would certainly agree that Juan Manuel deserves a rematch.’’

But it is a rematch that Marquez deserves now, not at some speculated date that hinges on him overcoming a presumed tune-up against Fedchenko in his hometown and then a very dangerous Brandon Rios, who faces Yuriorkis Gamboa stand-in Richard Abril at Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay, also on April 14, in a pay-per-view doubleheader produced by Top Rank and distributed by HBO.

“Everybody knows I was looking for the rematch with Manny but I don’t know what happened,’’ Marquez said. “The most important thing is I like to fight and I will fight on April 14. I am very happy about that. But I don’t know what happened with the rematch.’’

What happened is this: The public and media interest in Pacquiao-Mayweather suffered, yet remained at the top of the agenda despite a second rematch in which Marquez again showed he can beat Pacquiao. Despite a very good argument that Marquez beat the Filipino twice after a draw in the first bout, there is still a bigger market for Pacquiao-Mayweather than there is for Marquez-Pacquiao IV.

Now, here’s what could happen: As expected Marquez beats Fedchenko and Rios overwhelms Abril, an unknown Cuban. Then, Marquez and Rios fight.

“We are holding Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, for the match if we make it,’’ Arum said. “But one step at a time. July 14 is the date we are holding it for.’’

Manager Cameron Dunkin looks at Rios and thinks of Johnny Tapia.

“I love what I do,’’ Rios said. “A lot of fighters do it for a job. I do it because I love it. It’s my high. It’s like my Ritalin. I am very hyper and it calms me down a lot. If I didn’t do this I don’t know where I would be right now. I think I’d be locked up.’’

Translation: Beware.

The 25-year-old Rios has dangerous energy and enough larceny in his heart to end the Marquez pursuit of a rematch. Marquez, 38, could go the way Erik Morales, 35, did on March 24 against 24-year-old Danny Garcia in Houston.

Despite being three years younger, Morales has suffered more wear, tear and scarring in his career than Marquez ever did. Also, Rios, who is poised to move up in weight to 140 pounds after losing his lightweight title for failing to make the 135-pound limit in December, possesses more explosive skill than Garcia. But Garcia-Morales serves as a road sign, a warning for Marquez, if he were to face Rios in another bout between the best of an aging generation and the cutting edge of a new one.

AZ NOTES
· Junior-welterweight prospect Jose Benavidez Jr. plans to test his right hand in limited work Monday at Central Boxing in downtown Phoenix. Benavidez underwent surgery on his right wrist, which was injured in November on the undercard of Pacquiao’s victory over Marquez. The cast was removed about two weeks ago. He has been undergoing rehab. “We’ll just do some light stuff to see how the right hand feels,’’ dad-and-trainer Jose Benavidez Sr. said.

· Antonio Margarito’s comeback at Tucson’s Casino del Sol on May 26 is close to a formal announcement. An opponent has yet to be found, but the casino and Margarito’s manager, Showdown Promotions, have agreed to the date and terms. TV Azteca also plans to televise. The bout, Margarito’s first since a rematch loss to Miguel Cotto in December, is scheduled for Casino del Sol’s outdoor arena. A Margarito bout at the southern Arizona venue promises to be the biggest draw there since Fernando Vargas attracted an overflow crowd of more than 5,000 in 2003 for a seventh-round stoppage of Tony Marshall.

· The Margarito bout figures to cap off a busy Arizona spring, including two cards in Phoenix and two in southern Arizona. On April 12, Phoenix super-bantamweight Alexis Santiago will be featured at El Zaribah Shrine on 40th Street in east Phoenix on a card (7:30 p.m. first bell) put together by Alma Canez of Estrella Promotions. Iron Boy Promotions follows on April 21 at Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix with a hybrid card that will include an amateur bout featuring 15-year-old David Benavidez, who – yes — has sparred with his older brother, Jose Jr. On May 4, boxing is back at Desert Diamond Casino south of Tucson on a card put together by Michelle Rosado of Face II Face Promotions. Who said boxing was dead in Arizona?

Photo by Chris Farina /Top Rank

JUAN MANUEL MÁRQUEZ / BRANDON RIOS CONFERENCE CALL TRANSCRIPT

April 5, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Boxing News 

Méxican legend and three-division world champion JUAN MANUEL MÁRQUEZ and undefeated former World Lightweight Champion BRANDON “Bam Bam” RIOS will headline a world championship pay-per-view event that’s so big its main events are originating from two different countries!

Márquez will go for an historic fourth world title in as many different weight divisions when he takes on World Boxing Organization (WBO) European junior welterweight champion SERGEY FEDCHENKO for the vacant WBO interim 140-pound world title. Márquez-Fedchenko will take place in México City’s brand new Arena México. Rios will attempt to reclaim his old title when he rumbles with Cuban gladiator and World Boxing Association (WBA) interim lightweight champion RICHARD ABRIL in a battle for the vacant WBA lightweight title, Saturday, April 14, at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

The Márquez/Rios world championship event will be produced by Top Rank and distributed Live by HBO Pay-Per-View®, beginning at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT.

The live pay-per-view telecast (SRP $44.95) will also feature a 10-round junior welterweight collision of top-10 contenders — “Mile High” MIKE ALVARADO and MAURICIO HERRERA — and open with undefeated Top-10 contender MERCITO “No Mercy” GESTA of the Philippines, risking his record and world rating in a 10-round lightweight fight against OSCAR CUERO. Boxing fans at Mandalay Bay will also see the Márquez-Fedchenko world title fight live, via closed-circuit, on a jumbo screen.

These warriors boast a combined record of 188-16-4 (122 KOs) – a winning percentage of 90%.

BOB ARUM: I am here in New York now and I am very excited about this card that will take place in both México City and Las Vegas. Juan Manuel Márquez is one of the finest fighters in the world and many people felt that the account the he gave fighting Manny Pacquiao would have won the fight but that is boxing. Hopefully Juan Manuel is on the path right now so he can again fight Manny Pacquiao later in the year. So a lot of fights could happen. This is a great card. Brandon Rios, one of the most popular fighters, fighting Richard Abril. The popular Mike Alvarado from Denver is in with Mauricio Herrera in a battle of Top-10 junior welterweight contenders and Mercito Gesta from the Philippines is fighting Oscar Cuero of Colombia to round out the card. So I am very pleased. Fans will be able to see great boxing headlined by the great champion Juan Manuel Márquez.

JUAN MANUEL MÁRQUEZ: I feel very happy because I fought for 18 years and now I am finally fighting again in México City. I have been training very hard because everyone knows that Fedchenko is a very good fighter.

Most lighter weight fighters do not last until they are 38, but JMM is still at the top of his game?

BOB ARUM: You have to understand that Juan Manuel is a serious man and boxing is his profession and he takes it seriously so he keeps himself in great shape, he doesn’t get out of shape. He is always prepared with his trainer and somebody who lives with that discipline, fights for longer than a person that doesn’t and I think that is the key to his longevity in this sport.

Some boxers may just retire after losing like he did to Pacquiao…

BOB ARUM: It impresses me because he is a professional. A true professional. He is a smart man and he knows what it’s all about and he knows that complaining, once the judges render the decision, doesn’t change the result. So you pick yourself up and continue your career. I sort of suspect that the best is yet to come in Juan Manuel’s career.

Why do you think you are still at the top of the sport at your age?

JUAN MANUEL MÁRQUEZ: The training and the conditioning are very important. I feel very well at 38-years-old. I like to fight smart. I like everything about my sport.

How tough was it for you to not get the decision against Manny in your last fight?

JUAN MANUEL MÁRQUEZ: I trained very hard for 18 years. When I fight with Manny, I train very different. I felt great because I changed my training for him.

When we last heard from you, it seemed you wanted a Pacquiao rematch or retire. What has changed?

JUAN MANUEL MÁRQUEZ: Everybody knows I was looking for the rematch with Manny but I don’t know what happened. The most important thing is I like to fight and I will fight on April 14 and I am very happy about that but I don’t know what happened with the rematch.

Did you consider retiring after that last fight?

JUAN MANUEL MÁRQUEZ: I considered retiring because everybody knows I want to fight Manny again and that I won the last fight and I feel very angry about that decision.

Is a fight against Rios something that you are interested in?

JUAN MANUEL MÁRQUEZ: The person that I fight next…the most important thing about that person is that he is in the 140’s, above 140.

What was the No. 1 reason for you to continue boxing?

JUAN MANUEL MÁRQUEZ: The main reason for me to continue is that I want a rematch with Manny and that is the main factor for me to come back. I have the fight on April 14, but I train very hard again. I think I won the last fight and I am looking for the rematch.

What is the contribution Angel Heredia has made?

JUAN MANUEL MÁRQUEZ: I felt very healthy for the [Pacquiao III] fight. He is great for conditioning and training. I felt very happy for the Pacquiao fight because I felt great and I felt great because of him. Now I am training with him again and I am very happy again.

Bob, are you surprised he wants to fight even thought he doesn’t have the rematch?

BOB ARUM: All the great fighters are like that. Great fighters concentrate on the task at hand even though they have aspirations of fighting someone else. This is boxing, it is business. You can’t always get the opponent you want. So you have to adjust and get yourself into the best shape. It is no joke, this boxing. You have to get yourself into the best shape for the fight that is before you. You cannot pine for another opponent. This is not a romance novel where you fall in love with a girl then you go off and he sees another woman while he is still seeing the first girl. It is not like that. Boxing is not a romance, it is a business.

Juan Manuel’s wanting to continue is a sign of being a great fighter. Look at Duran the second time he lost to Leonard – he didn’t just pack his bags and go away. It took him time to get himself together but then he had this unbelievable win at Madison Square Garden, then he fought Hagler virtually to a standstill and just lost in the last couple of rounds and he didn’t let that deter him. Later on he fought Iran Barkley in one of the great fights of all time and won that fight and won the middleweight championship. And all the while he was pining to fight Sugar Ray Leonard and he finally did at the opening of The Mirage hotel in Las Vegas. The great fighters are professional and they deal with the task at hand.

What will it are like to fight for the first time since 1994 in México City in a new arena in your hometown?

JUAN MANUEL MÁRQUEZ: I feel very happy because I get to give back to my country and people want to see this fight. I started my career here in México City with my first eight fights. Then I fought in Los Angeles and in many other places. Now I am back in México and I have a great opponent.

What do you know about your opponent?

JUAN MANUEL MÁRQUEZ: Fedchenko has a difficult style. I will try to do my job in the ring because Fedchenko is a dangerous fighter. I have trained very hard for this fight. I train very hard because in the ring, anything can happen. Fedchenko is coming to México wanting to win this fight.

Bob, what do you think about Márquez fighting Rios?

BOB ARUM: We are focused on April 14 as well. Juan Manuel has his hands full with this Fedchenko. Brandon Rios has a tough fight with the Cuban and I promise you that within a couple of days after the fights, if each are successful – this is a business – and let’s see if we can put a fight between the two of them together. First they have to win, and then they have to agree to the fight. We haven’t talked to either of them yet about terms and so forth. We are holding Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, for the match if we make it, but one step at a time. July 14 is the date we are holding it for.

Bob, you spoke about Juan Manuel possible fight Pacquiao in the fall. Does that preclude any talk of a Mayweather fight?

BOB ARUM: I have to be realistic about this. I don’t think that Mayweather will be available in the fall to fight Manny. He certainly doesn’t indicate that he wants to fight Manny. I think everyone would be better off if we thought about that fight for next year. But everything is open. First of all, Manny has a really tough fight with Bradley and secondly, everybody would certainly agree that Juan Manuel deserves a rematch. Manny could chase the wild rabbit in the television commercial but as a promoter, I can’t chase a wild rabbit. I am concentrating on that if Manny can fight through to next year, we are hoping that the Mayweather fight could take place next year.

If you got to fight Pacquiao again, would that be a career-ender for you?

JUAN MANUEL MÁRQUEZ: I have a tough fight with Fedchenko on April 14 and Manny has a tough fight with Bradley.

Were there negotiations for a 4th fight?

BOB ARUM: No, because I got a sense from Manny that he would do a rematch with Juan Manuel but not as his next fight.

JUAN MANUEL MÁRQUEZ: I am looking forward to putting on a great show in México City and I invite everyone to buy the show because Fedchenko is a tough fighter and it is another tough fight for me.

BOB ARUM: This is great. You are going to have the opportunity to see one of the great fighters of our time performing in the new arena – Arena Ciudad de México – which is supposed to be one of the great arenas in the world. The people in the United States and Puerto Rico can watch it live on HBO Pay-Per-View television.

BRANDON RIOS: Training camp has been going well. This is the first time I have felt this good in camp. Richard Abril – I don’t know too much about him and I haven’t seen much video. It’s kind of hard. I know [trainer] Robert [Garcia] has seen film on him but I haven’t. I am just going to be ready for a tough fight. He is a top contender and in the position to fight me so I am ready for him and I hope he is ready for me.

Tell us about the first encounter you had with Richard Abril at the Miami press conference.

BRANDON RIOS: I went there because the press conference was supposed to be with Gamboa. All the sudden this guy came in…I guess he was a friend of Gamboa and he didn’t show up so I was already heated up and everything. Abril started talking smack so I assumed it was his friend. He came up to me and said, “I want to fight you.” I said, “Who are you? You look like an average guy on the street with a tuxedo on.” He kept running his mouth saying, “I am the champion and you are nothing.” I said, “You are the champion and you want to fight me? There is my manager right there, Cameron Dunkin.” Then he told me to talk to him in Spanish because he didn’t know what I was saying. I said, “If you don’t know what I’m saying then get the F_ _ _ out of here.” Then we got face to face and he pushed me. I will never forget that he pushed me.

How is it to have to change from a fight against Gamboa to Abril?

BRANDON RIOS: It’s not too hard. I am a fighter, I’m a warrior. It’s my job and I love my job. I love to fight. Whoever they put in front of me in the ring – I don’t care who it is – I’ll be ready. That is what I train for. If anything changes, I am ready. It doesn’t matter to me. If it is Gamboa, Abril, or Mike Tyson, it doesn’t matter. I’ll fight them. I have had a tremendous training camp and I can say nothing bad about it.

Do you feel it is unfinished business and would you like to fight Gamboa in the future?

BRANDON RIOS: It is not unfinished business because we never fought. He called my name out. I showed up in Miami. I have nothing to prove. He didn’t show up. I have nothing to prove to this guy. I didn’t mention his name once. He said he wanted to fight me, Manny Pacquiao, this guy, that guy, and when it came down to it, he was nowhere to be found. If I called him out he would say “yes,” then no show up to anything. He is a coward.

Have you changed training to have an easier time making the weight that you have been having trouble with?

BRANDON RIOS: First of all, we hired a nutritionist, Cecilio Flores and he is helping out well, the weight is coming off well. Cecilio is helping out a lot. I feel good and strong. I am ready to rock and roll on April 14 to show the world I haven’t gone anywhere. And I think I train better when I am at home. I am with my family and my wife and friends. When I went to México, don’t get me wrong – it was great experience training beside Margarito and the altitude. Honestly, I feel better when I am at home in my own gym. It’s nice weather here – it’s not too cold, I get a good sweat in. Robert is mainly focusing on me right now.

Following the Murray fight, Gerry Cooney said that if American heavyweight’s had Rios’ balls, we’d have an American heavyweight champion.

BRANDON RIOS: What drives me is I love my sport and I love what I do. A lot of fighters do it for a job – I do it because I love it. It’s my high. It’s like my Ritalin. I am very hyper and it calms me down a lot. If I didn’t do this I don’t know where I would be right now. I think I’d be locked up. And maybe I will go up to heavyweight now so we can have an American champion.

Who is your idol?

BRANDON RIOS: I always looked up to Julio César Chaávez Sr. and Diego Corrales. I looked up to them because I had the same style as them. I take a little off them and try to do it my way.

CAMERON DUNKIN: He doesn’t remind me of anyone really. He has is own style. But what he said about he would know what he was doing if he wasn’t boxing, Johnny Tapia used to say that a lot also – the passion and the love. Johnny went undefeated for so long and beat so many great fighters. Johnny was very hyper and just wanted to fight, just like Brandon. He is a pleasure to work with – he doesn’t talk about money, they just want to fight and you want to make them money. I talked to Todd [duBoef] about that and he said he does want to make him money because it is a passion. He draws all of that out of us and we love to watch him fight and we all want to root for him because he is a great guy.

What did you think about Brandon after he couldn’t make weight having to fight the next day?

ROBERT GARCIA: I have been with Brandon for many years – through the amateurs – so I have gone through many things like that with him. Not just the weight – personal problems and we fight through them. That was just another thing that happened. He weighed in a pound over then we went to sweat it off at a hot spot we found and we came back 1 pound more. There were people and cameras all over. The scale was moved. There is no way he came back a pound heavier. I can’t say that he lost the .6 he needed to but there was no way he gained another pound. So we just said forget it and moved on and now we are fighting for the title again. I think he will get his title then look for bigger things. Brandon is very strong mentally and physically and that’s what gets him to the top. He will look good and strong and knock this guy out in the 10th or 11th round I believe.

How hard was it to lose your title on the scale?

BRANDON RIOS: It was horrible because nobody beat me. I lost it myself. I was down for a while because I lost my title. I had to get over it and my wife helped me a lot. She talked to me and told me not to mess up my career. So I thank Cameron Dunkin, Top Rank and the WBA for letting me fight for my title again. I want to get my title back again to show the world what happened in New York was a fluke.

Do you look at Juan Manuel and see that he had so many disappointments and is still a great fighter at 38?

BRANDON RIOS: There are very few fighters that can do what Márquez does. He is one of the best out there. He’s a great counter-puncher and a great technician. He’s still got it and that’s why he is still fighting. He is nice, polite and very likable and gives the fans what they want. He’s a young 38. He’ll be ready and it’s going to be great. I’m happy he’s on the same card. It’s going to be a great card because there are exciting fights on there.

In what area has the nutritionist helped the most?

BRANDON RIOS: He is cooking great. I am eating great. I feel strong and training hard as usual. Now I have the power and the force to train even harder. Before I was eating chicken, fish and rice but now, two weeks out, now we are cutting back and he is doing a great job. This is the smartest move I have made in my career. And it’s paying off very well right now.

What about the future?

BRANDON RIOS: We talk about it but right now our concern is Abril. The guy is an unknown and they are the most dangerous guys because they want to prove a point. So we have to be ready and be calm. So that’s what we are focused on.

ROBERT GARCIA: I want to thank the media for their support and we have the best manager in Cameron Dunkin that will manage the rest of Brandon’s career and we have one of the best training camps in the world.

BRANDON RIOS: I want to thank Top Rank and the best manager out there for being on my side through the rough times. I want to also thank the fans and my wife for giving me another beautiful child.

BOB ARUM: This is a great card. We talked about the top two fights on the card but there are also the other two great fights. I think fans are going to be entertained whether they watch it on PPV or at the Mandalay Bay.

**************************************************

Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Zanfer Promotions, Tecate and AT&T, remaining tickets priced at $250, $150, $100, $50 and $25, not including applicable service charges, are available at all Ticketmaster locations (select Smith’s Food and Drug Centers and Ritmo Latino). To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Mandalay Bay at (877) 632-7400 or Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. Tickets are also available for purchase at www.mandalaybay.com or www.ticketmaster.com.

El Terrible, finalmente

March 19, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Boxing News 

By Bart Barry

I started to write about boxing because of Erik “El Terrible” Morales, whose face, along with those of Israel Vazquez and Juan Manuel Marquez, is the first my mind associates with the word “prizefighter.” Morales was not my first favorite fighter. He wasn’t even my favorite fighter in his first two matches with fellow Mexican Marco Antonio Barrera. Morales’ charms were not immediate or obvious as other prizefighters’. But they were lasting.

Morales’ third match with Barrera was the first time I wrote about prizefighting – in an email exhaustive enough for a friend to post on his website. Columns followed. My seventh treated El Terrible’s victory over Manny Pacquiao. Morales UD-12 Pacquiao induced a euphoria, even through television’s bastardizing lens, that I innocently assumed would be a regular compensation for journalizing the sport. How naïve. I’ve revisited that euphoria scarcely more often since March 2005 than Morales has visited the indomitable form he showed against Pacquiao seven years ago.

And yet. Saturday I will cover El Terrible from ringside for the first time. It is an honor I did not believe would happen, a privilege for which, had you presented me a contract 380,000 words ago, I would have gladly written volumes about prizefighting. Morales will fight undefeated Philadelphian Danny Garcia for something called the WBC light welterweight title, in Houston’s Reliant Arena in a fight HBO will televise, though the fight itself is mostly beside the point. That point, championship-level violence, will be lent support by a 10-round undercard scrap between Texan James Kirkland and Mexican Carlos Molina. The main event needs help because nobody should follow any sport in which a 35-year-old Erik Morales is the greatest 140-pound practitioner.

We didn’t grow up together though we’re close in age. The first time I wrote seriously about El Terrible, he was at the apogee of his prime, already the bloated, dehydrated/rehydrated victim of a fair and unfavorable decision in his rubber match with Barrera. What Morales presented was an initial catalyst, a first promise that struggling to describe boxing holds a private reward of its own, independent of others’ affirmation. That late-prime Morales remains a standard against which I judge prizefighters and find most deeply wanting.

Morales was an unlikely standard. He was not eloquent as Barrera. He was not thrilling or durable as Pacquiao. He was steered wide of Marquez. He didn’t throw the hook like a Mexican but used instead a deceptive and jarring right uppercut triggered by the touch of a glove on his elbow, a punch to dissuade his countrymen’s voracious, liver-feeding left hands. He was awkwardly skinny, too, a gawky, rib-tallied Tijuananense with a big nose.

Good God, but he made the masculine choice every time.

Masculine, macho, entertaining – Morales was all of these words, not one a synonym for “prudent.” His finest moment was imprudent as hell. Ahead on official scorecards after 11 rounds against Manny Pacquiao, Morales fought the 12th as a southpaw, several times realizing his folly before willing himself back in an awkward stance that assured Pacquiao every chance to hurt him. This, just after his father pleaded with him not to do anything crazy – y nada estupido. Before you compare your favorite fighter to Morales, ask first: Would my guy offer his head to Pacquiao for three minutes of a fight he is winning, just to entertain someone like me?

Six months after such unforgettable boldness, Morales moved up to lightweight to fight Zahir Raheem and proved, definitively, that a man who cannot make super featherweight is by no means a lightweight. Then Pacquiao blew him out, twice, and the David Diaz match came nine months after Pacquiao KO-3 Morales. By then I’d published enough to be credentialed for Chicago, but see, El Terrible had said goodbye thrice against Pacquiao – once when he winked at his dad from the canvas and twice in an interview bungled by HBO’s former interpreter – and I took him at his word.

Morales’ comeback, after 2 1/2 years of retirement, has a whiff of boredom to it, as if El Terrible were sitting at home one night, tired of domesticity and grown fluffy, and saw Amir Khan hightailing from Marcos Maidana while being called great, and said “¡Ya basta!” to his television set. Morales has a Twitter account for combating boredom, too, one he uses to retweet wife jokes and regularly post, of his training regimen, “The mouse likes cheese.” There has been no reason to board a plane for a Morales fight since 2007, as any aficionado knows, but Houston is within driving distance.

Morales’ comeback also feels a little like Julio Cesar Chavez’s “Adios” tour. Chavez was 12 years and pounds beyond his prime, at age 42, further beyond his prime, by far, than Morales is at 35, and came back in pursuit of money. A few tilts in, Chavez found himself a patron to pay for the tour and promote his son. In a fine show of incremental audacity, Chavez’s one “Adios” fight became “Adios Los Angeles” then “Adios Arizona” then “Adios Phoenix” – with “Adios Tucson” and “Adios Flagstaff” lurking – before someone named Grover Wiley put an end to the silliness in America West Arena.

Danny Garcia should decision Morales, Saturday – and what ever happened to Grover Wiley, anyway? So long as Morales acquits himself nobly, though, he’ll be presented a WBC silver or diamond belt before April Fools’ Day, and his comeback will go on till he tires of training or being beaten on. Or maybe Morales will win Saturday like he did in September, in a fight you probably watched, even if you can’t now remember Morales’ opponent or its official outcome.

It will be an honor to sit ringside at a Morales fight, regardless. A feeling of pride, a certain personal indulgence, will wash over me when the name “El Terrible” rings through Reliant Arena. We made it, kid.

Bart Barry can be reached at bart.barrys.email (at) gmail.com

JUAN MÁNUEL MÁRQUEZ AND BRANDON RIOS HEADLINE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP PPV EVENT ORIGINATING FROM MÉXICO CITY AND LAS VEGAS

March 18, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Boxing News 

Plus

ALVARADO vs. HERRERA

JUNIOR WELTERWEIGHT BATTLE

MERCITO GESTA RISKS

UNDEFEATED RECORD AND TOP-10 RATING

Saturday, April 14 at

Mandalay Bay and Arena México

Distributed Live By HBO Pay-Per-View®

LAS VEGAS, NEV. (March 17, 2012) – Méxican legend and three-division world champion JUAN MÁNUEL MÁRQUEZ and undefeated former World Lightweight Champion BRANDON “Bam Bam” RIOS will headline a world championship pay-per-view event that’s so big its main events are originating from two different countries!

Márquez will go for an historic fourth world title in as many different weight divisions when he takes on World Boxing Organization (WBO) European junior welterweight champion SERGEY FEDCHENKO for the vacant WBO interim 140-pound world title. Márquez-Fedchenko will take place in México City’s brand new Arena México. Rios will attempt to reclaim his old title when he rumbles with Cuban gladiator and World Boxing Association (WBA) interim lightweight champion RICHARD ABRIL in a battle for the vacant WBA lightweight title, Saturday, April 14, at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. The Márquez/Rios world championship event will be produced by Top Rank and distributed Live by HBO Pay-Per-View®, beginning at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT.

The live pay-per-view telecast (SRP $44.95) will also feature a 10-round junior welterweight collision of top-10 contenders — “Mile High” MIKE ALVARADO and MAURICIO HERRERA — and open with undefeated Top-10 contender MERCITO GESTA of the Philippines, in a 10-round lightweight fight. Boxing fans at Mandalay Bay will also see the Márquez-Fedchenko world title fight live, via closed-circuit, on a jumbo screen.

These warriors boast a combined record of 173-9-4 (110 KOs) – a winning percentage of 94%.

Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Zanfer Promotions, Tecate and AT&T, remaining tickets priced at $250, $150, $100, $50 and $25, not including applicable service charges, are available at all Ticketmaster locations (select Smith’s Food and Drug Centers and Ritmo Latino). To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Mandalay Bay at (877) 632-7400 or Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. Tickets are also available for purchase at www.mandalaybay.com or www.ticketmaster.com.

At a Miami, Fla. press conference earlier this month, the setting for this fight was set when Abril challenged Rios to fight him for the title. As the verbal exchange heated up, Abril slapped Rios across the face, screaming “You aren’t a real champion!”

“Rios won’t need a GPS to find me on April 14. All he’ll have do to is look up and see the referee holding my hand up in victory,” said Abril.

“He may not have thought I was a real champion when he slapped me but he’s going to know I’m a real champion on April 14 when I knock him on his South Beach,” said Rios. “I do give Abril credit for one thing. I know he’s going to show up for this fight. That will be his second mistake with me.”

“We have four great fights that will make for a very exciting event, including a legend from México in Juan Mánuel Márquez and undefeated knockout artist Brandon Rios who is trying to recapture his world title,” said Todd duBoef, president of Top Rank. “The dual-site pay-per-view event will open at Mandalay Bay with Gesta, followed by Alvarado vs. Herrera and the Rios-Abril world title fight. The grand finale will send boxing fans to México City where they will get their first look at the brand new Arena México, and a projected full house, on hand to witness Márquez’s attempt at history. Top Rank owes a great deal to its sponsors, Mandalay Bay and HBO for its continued support of our event.”

“With Juan Mánuel Márquez, Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado all on the same fight card, boxing fans can look forward to a night of non-stop action”, said Mark Taffet, senior vice president, HBO Pay-Per-View. ”We’re delighted to provide the pay-per-view distribution for this event.”

Rios (29-0-1, 22 KOs), the former WBA lightweight champion, from Oxnard, Calif., enters this fight having won 10 of his previous 11 fights by knockout. Highlight victories on his resume include Miguel Acosta, Anthony Peterson, Urbano Antillon and John Murray, none of whom went the distance. Abril (17-2-1, 8 KOs), a Cuban expatriate who now resides in Miami, Fla., returns to the ring having won seven of his previous eight fights. He captured the WBA interim lightweight title last October, knocking down former WBA lightweight champion Acosta three times en route to a unanimous decision victory.

Márquez (53-6-1, 39 KOs), of México City, is one of only a rare few from México to have won world titles in three different weight divisions. The only man to go the distance with pound for pound superstar Manny Pacquiao three times, Marquez boasts a Hall of Fame resume highlighted by victories over Marco Antonio Barrera, Manuel Medina, Joel Casamayor, Juan Diaz and Michael Katsidis. Fedchenko (30-1, 13 KOs), from Kharkov, Ukraine, enters this fight riding a 28-month winning streak, which has included WBO European title victories over Willy Blain and Demarcus Corley. He is world-rated No. 5 by the WBO.

Alvarado (32-0, 23 KOs) of Denver, has won 10 of his last 12 bouts by stoppage en route to a career-high No. 3 world rating, in the World Boxing Organization (WBO). Notable knockout victims include Breidis Prescott, Ray Narh, Emmanuel Clottey and Cesar Bazan. Herrera (18-1, 7 KOs), from Lake Elsinore, Calif., enters this fight riding a two-year, five-bout winning streak, highlighted by victories over Ruslan Provodnikov (17-0) and Mike Dallas, Jr. (17-1-1). Herrera is currently world-rated No. 7 by the International Boxing Federation (IBF).

Gesta (24-0-1, 12 KOs), a native of Cebu, Philippines, fights out of San Diego. He returns to the ring with seven of his last 10 victories coming inside the distance, earning career-high world ratings of No. 7 in the WBA and No. 8 in the WBO.

Marquez to vie for 140 lb crown against Cuenca

March 13, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Boxing News 

Juan Manuel Marquez will return to the ring and fight for a vacant 140 lb title when he takes on Cesar Rene Cuenca on April 14 in Mexico City according to Dan Rafael of espn.com

“The fight is official. We will do the press conference on March 22 in Mexico City,” Zanfer Promotions’ Fernando Beltran, Marquez’s promoter, told ESPN.com on Tuesday.

“It’s important to keep him active. Juan Manuel wants to stay active,” Beltran said. “And he wants to definitely come back to Mexico City.”

“It’s been 18 years since he fought in Mexico City. This is his hometown. And he is very excited about it,” Beltran said. “He is excited to make a fight and what’s better for him than to be fighting in his hometown after all these years?”

Beltran said Marquez-Cuenca will be the first sports event to be held at the new $300 million Mexico City Arena, which seats 22,300 and opened in February.

“It opened a few weeks ago, but this fight will be the first sporting event and that is very exciting for us,” Beltran said.

“We’re talking to some networks. We don’t want to keep him away from his fans,” Beltran said.

“If everything goes good with Cuenca, we plan to do the pay-per-view with him in July and then try to get that fourth fight with Manny in November,” Beltran said.

“We’re looking at Mercito Gesta at the moment, but we won’t scratch anyone off (the list),” Beltran said. “Marquez would like to fight the best, so if Rios is out there we’d like to fight Rios at 140. Rios would be a big fight.”

Portrait of a credential to 2011’s biggest fight, Part 2

January 2, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Boxing News 

By Bart Barry

Editor’s note: For Part 1, please click here.

***

The day Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez fought their rubber match in November 2011, Las Vegas gazed upon its empty MGM Grand Garden Arena for most of the undercard matches because that is what it does. Friday weigh-ins are for serious fans. Saturday nights sadly are not.

Pacquiao fought Marquez a third time for several reasons. Marquez had traversed the Philippines immediately after their second match, one whose official decision went to Pacquiao and unofficial decision went mostly to Marquez, chiding the Filipino hero, and Pacquiao wanted to end that for posterity’s sake. The other idea was that Marquez, an all-time great featherweight-cum-lightweight, would, at welterweight, make an excellent scalp to toss on the table when negotiations for Pacquiao-Mayweather returned: Not only is Manny a bigger pay-per-view draw, but he obliterated Marquez the way Mayweather could not.

Marquez’s class and pride were such that nobody would blow through him. Not at 126 pounds, not at 143. Pacquiao was a whirligig of oddly canted aggressiveness, one that loudly struck opponents from angles that surprised other prizefighters and made commentators ecstatic. Marquez had no such flair but greater audacity. Where Pacquiao threw jab, jab, leaping cross, Marquez threw uppercut leads, moving forward, in world championship prizefights – just about the ballsiest thing a man can do.

Marquez’s greatness as a counterpuncher, the quality that made his violent defeat essential to the Pacquiao résumé, was too large, finally, and cast shadows on the subject it was there to brighten.

*

The day Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez fought their rubber match in November 2011, Las Vegas shined and sparkled with its usual charm and timeless (clock-less) efficiency. Put everyone off schedule, the city plotted, then charge them to catch up.

Pacquiao had not improved a fraction so much as his publicists declared. A coming documentary about his trainer put a burden on Pacquiao’s technical improvement. If, after all, Pacquiao were but a hyperagressive southpaw who won with activity more than class, any monuments erected to his and his trainer’s greatness would come under scrutiny. Deeply interested parties, then, declared Pacquiao’s technical imperfections innovative, rather than call them what they were: a regression to form.

By the ninth round of his rubber match with Marquez, Pacquiao was aware of his technical inadequacy. He fooled Marquez less this time than the previous two because Marquez promised his trainer he would not look for a knockout and wander into what maniacal exchanges Pacquiao always won. If Pacquiao won his third fight with Marquez, he did it the brute’s way and was simply busier.

A compliant and unimaginative print media paused for a moment at what it saw in rounds 7-11, got the judges’ confirmation all was actually well, and went back to his its prefight narrative. Maybe Marquez did better than expected, perhaps the fight could be called a draw, but, ah, for not closing the show, Marquez did not deserve to win.

No one was fooled, but deadlines were not missed either.

*

The day Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez fought their rubber match in November 2011, Las Vegas assured the country it was not in hard a place as Detroit or New Orleans, the country’s other two depressed cities. Vegas was back, baby! Look at the room prices.

The American economy was rebounding, too. Perhaps growth was illusory, maybe underemployment was nearing record levels, but the job creators were getting some of their wealth back, and that would trickle down to the rest of America eventually. Yes, idiot, it would; didn’t you know anything about economics?

The media area at MGM Grand Garden Arena had the usual dynamic. The first five rows of tables were a cutthroat assembly of the names everyone knew, with most working on deadlines, their laptop monitors guarded closely as poker hands. Then came the girlfriends of Spanish- and Tagalog-language network executives. In the back were the online and magazine writers whose names you didn’t know. They were the most convivial bunch – happy to help one another with the result of the fourth undercard bout or a recollection of that time, somewhere in Mexico, the press had to stand and hold their seats overhead because cups of beer and urine rained on them.

Some of the guys in the back had scored the second half of the fight a whitewash for Marquez and were happy for the Mexican great, happy he might finally have his due, whatever the consequences. Those guys wore stunned, betrayed looks as they shuffled off to the postfight press conference where Pacquiao would have time for only two questions because it was getting late.

*

The day Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez fought their rubber match in November 2011, Las Vegas did the existential dance entrepreneurs often do, promising things were good as they’d ever been, might even be better, sales were up – while expecting others to cheer its fortune-seeking with the same enthusiasm it did.

Nacho Beristain told Marquez he had the fight won during the championship rounds for a couple reasons. As a sculptor of 16 world champions Beristain knew what his eyes told him and hadn’t a doubt his man was winning. And Beristain knew with mathematical certainty Marquez would have been 2-0 against Pacquiao were it not for those four knockdowns in their first two tilts, and then there would have been no reason for a rubber match, or the Pacquiao legend.

After the initial disgust of the 116-112 card wore off and we settled into writing our fight reports, the photocopied scorecard tallies got handed out. When it was revealed Judge Glenn Trowbridge saw Marquez win the 12th round but not the eighth, ninth, 10th or 11th, a secondary, harder-to-dismiss disgust set in.

*

The day Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez fought their rubber match in November 2011, Las Vegas marched on. “See you in May!” it said, with a big grin.

The umbrage passed. Pacquiao lost a few fans. His myth lost genuine and serious-minded advocates, the sort of men who write history. Marquez gained a few fans and returned to Mexico, assured in his greatness. The umbrage passed.

I was in Houston the following week to cover Julio Cesar Chavez’s son and had already forgotten a large part of what happened at 2011’s biggest fight.

Bart Barry can be reached at bart.barrys.email (at) gmail.com

Portrait of a credential to 2011’s biggest fight, Part 1

December 26, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Boxing News 

By Bart Barry


The day Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez fought their rubber match in November 2011, Las Vegas was in recovery. The city tried to pull itself from the depressed conditions every cabbie was willing to describe during trips to McCarran Airport, in 2009 and 2010. Vegas’ new line was taxi traffic; record-setting or record-tying or something.

Pacquiao-Marquez III was about money and “Money.” The first governs everything in prizefighting, as the second, Floyd “Money” Mayweather, once explained to Shane Mosley. Pacquiao, always quick with his fist when signing contracts as punching, was a market unto himself, hawking defunct tablet computers, imported veggies and iTunes singles. And Pacquiao-Mayweather (whose promotion Pacquiao-Marquez III would help) would be the most important fight in a century or two when it happened.

The media was in a frenzy of Pacquiao celebration, spurred and lashed by promoter Bob Arum, for whom Pacquiao was the final masterpiece of a historic sales career.

The masterpiece underwent a withering inspection, though, and came out lusterless and resented.

Or so I remember it.

*

The day Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez fought their rubber match in November 2011, Las Vegas readied to host an event with the reflexive trickery it has patented: Big events go to Las Vegas because Las Vegas hosts only big events.

With the world economy still receding, prizefighting watched its pay-per-view receipts plummet. There were two or three major events every year that yielded considerably less revenue than the 10 smaller events that happened five years before. It meant even the sport’s two biggest promotional outfits were now humbled in their wares if not their oratory.

Pacquiao would blow through Marquez, the older, smaller, slower opponent whom he’d already officially beaten and drawn with, and after stopping Marquez violently and abruptly – something Money May did not do while dominating Marquez in 2009 – Pacquiao would redeem the sport and his handlers’ coffers, with The Fight to Save Boxing, then approaching its third year of marination.

The print media picked Pacquiao overwhelmingly enough to wonder not if Marquez could win or even remain conscious but if Marquez could escape Pacquiao’s ferocity with any remnants of his health intact. And by night’s end, when the ring announcer read “and still champion!” and Pacquiao raised his hands, we all felt a little sheepish and disgusted.

*

The day Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez fought their rubber match in November 2011, Las Vegas said it was coming back, of course, but was it really? Strolls through the basement mall of MGM Grand substantiated none of the rosy reports one heard in the restaurants above.

There were dark tones beneath the rubber match, and they began to glow. Manny Pacquiao, accused of using performance-enhancing drugs, agreed unconditionally to prefight testing if Money May demanded it for their match, the one to come after Pacquiao blew through Marquez. Or Pacquiao didn’t agree. No one was clear about this. The facts changed hourly. Obfuscating insiders fed reports to websites that copied, pasted and published anything emailed their way. Then Juan Manuel Marquez revealed a theretofore-concealed sense of irony and hired a former PED distributor as his strength coach. And he sure wasn’t smaller when he hit the scale at the weigh-in, that tired prefight event used to promote the next day’s match to those unable to afford a pre-sold/post-scalped ticket for Saturday. There, the only memorable thing was a line from a fellow scribe who treated the week’s PED controversy and concluded: “Hell, they’re all probably on something, so I say, ‘Smoke’em if you got’em!’”

So many questions. How would Pacquiao fare against Mayweather when they fought after Pacquiao ruined Marquez? Would Mayweather, frightened by the way Pacquiao blitzed Marquez, find a new reason not to make the fight? Would Pacquiao retire from boxing before becoming president of the Philippines?

And then in the hour after the fight: Did any knowledgeable spectator still think Pacquiao could win more than a round against Money May, if The Fight that Might Have Saved Boxing ever did happen?

Thanks a bunch, Juan Manuel.

*

The day Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez fought their rubber match in November 2011, Las Vegas felt a little tired. Such straining had been done so hopelessly for so many months, a churning through so many new valets and carving-station chefs. Was it still any use?

Pacquiao approached his third fight with an unusual savageness. He wanted to stop Marquez and all the witless banter about Marquez winning one if not both of their previous matches. Pacquiao went to work on the handpads and heavybags at Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Club in a way that left Roach and others taken aback. This one was personal for Manny.

Many kilometers south, in Mexico City, Marquez mostly did what he always did. It was a system that worked fine. His trainer, Nacho Beristain, prophesied that this new, refined Pacquiao, this two-handed puncher with improved footwork and a right hook perilous as his left cross, was, if anything, an easier mark for Marquez – for being predictable. If Beristain was fearful, or even aware, of the ferociousness Pacquiao planned for his charge, Beristain did an excellent imitation of a trainer who was not.

In round 6 of their third match, Marquez began to undress Pacquiao before a full MGM Grand Garden Arena. He revealed the masterful job Pacquiao’s promoter had done of building the Pacquiao brand against increasingly bigger and more shop-worn opponents. Pacquiao had seen no one with Marquez’s understanding of another man in combat since the last time he fought Marquez. That was no accident. Making a third fight with Marquez sure as hell was.

We were assembled at our press tables to help lift Pacquiao-Mayweather from longshot to inevitability in the days after Pacquiao leveled Marquez. But after what Marquez did to Pacquiao, we quietly awaited justice, however unpalatable. When the 116-112 scorecard came in, we accepted Marquez’s victory and spent five or so seconds plotting our sport’s next step.

When “and still champion” followed the 116-112 scorecard, most of us shook our heads, and the rest muttered “bullshit.”

***

Editor’s note: Part 2 will be published on Jan. 2.

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