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Round 13: Fight Moves from Ring to Ethnic Media

New America Media, News Roundup, Elena Shore and Odette Keeley Posted: Mar 22, 2008

Editor's Note: Manny Pacquiao's narrow victory over Juan Manuel Mrquez ended the battle in the ring. But on the pages of Spanish-language and Filipino newspapers, the war of words rages.

SAN FRANCISCO -- A week after the historic boxing match in Las Vegas, there may be some Filipinos who still want Manny Pacquiao to run for public office in the Philippines and Mexicans still say Juan Manuel Mrquez won.

Since Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao took the World Boxing Council Super Featherweight Title away from Mexican Juan Manuel Mrquez in a split decision Saturday, March 15, the fight has continued in the Hispanic media where the Mexican former world champion is telling all who will listen that he won the fight and wants a rematch. His fans say the boxers title was stolen from him.

But non-Mexicans were rooting for the Filipino, according to a report by La Opinin, so it was an everyone against Mexico feeling that swept across the coliseum when a mariachi sounded the battle cry for Mrquez as he walked into the ring. (Pacquiao, meanwhile, was greeted by hip-hop music.)

The judges split the decision: Tom Miller (115-112) for Mrquez, Duane Ford (115-112) for Pacquiao and Jerry Roth (114-113) for Pacquiao.

In an article entitled Juan Manuel Mrquez Was Robbed of the WBC Featherweight Title in Las Vegas, Mexico Citys La Jornada newspaper reports that Mrquez and his manager, Ignacio Beristin, believe the fighter was robbed of his crown when the judges split decision favored Filipino Pacquiao.

I know I won, Mrquez told La Jornada, because not only did don Nacho tell me that, but also the people in Las Vegas and in Mexico.

Readers of La Jornadas online forum agreed, calling the judges verdict a robbery, saying that Marquez was the better fighter and even Pacquiao was surprised by the judges decision.

When AOL Latino blogger Mariano Cauteriz called Mrquez a cry baby, his fans protested. Readers posted comments in defense of Mrquez, arguing that he was robbed of his title and is right to complain.

Even before the controversial boxing match last weekend in Las Vegas, the fight between the Mexican and Filipino boxers had taken on a life of its own in the Filipino and Hispanic media.

Filipinos say the Peoples Champ has managed to unify a politically fractured nation. With his triumph over Marquez in Saturdays rematch, Manny Pacquiao is the first Filipino and Asian to win three world titles in three different weight classes.

For the past five years, the entire Philippines stops during his fights - the usual bumper-to-bumper traffic in Manilas congested streets and highways is miraculously absent; even churches and worship places are said to be noticeably empty.

ABS-CBN reported a day before the fight that the Philippine Army declared a seven-hour truce with insurgents, allowing both sides to watch the broadcast of the match.

Pacquiao won carrying the Philippines on his shoulder, proclaimed an article by Pasckie Pascua in the Philippine News.

Dubbed The Pacman by his fans, Manny Pacquiao told Philippine TV sportscaster Chino Trinidad: The power and the heart made the difference. This fight was not only for my family but for the Filipino people as well. I said I was willing to risk my life for the sake of our country.

Some of Mannys fans still believe Pacquiao should run for public office in the Philippines. Pacquiao lost his bid for a seat in the Philippines Congress last May in his hometown in the Southern Philippines.

Pacquiao will return to a heros welcome in Manila soon, but many wonder if it will again be marred by politicking as officials attempt to bask in his limelight.

On Inquirer.net, Christine Avendano of the Philippine Daily Inquirer reports that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has once again called Pacquiao a hero who can unite us even in times of divisiveness and a national inspiration for winning the battles ahead. Arroyos critics, however, Inquirer.net reports, are admonishing her to learn from his (Pacquiaos) gutsy performance against Marquez and not use Pacquiaos latest victory to prop her record low popularity.

Meanwhile, in an interview with La Jornada, Mrquez attempted to bring his opponent down from the heroic stature he has taken on in the media. Mrquez told La Jornada: "Pacquiao is not the killer of Mexicans, because he wasnt able to do that with me, nor is he the superstar that some people with their pens try to make him out to be."

Pacquiao says he is open to a rematch fight with Marquez, but only in a higher weight division. Mrquez is calling for a rematch and says he will fight Pacquiao at any weight.



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